Active seeking of knowledge key to navigating digital economy: Experts

(From far left) ST deputy business editor Poon Chian Hui, OCBC Bank's Mr Jason Ho and IHRP chief executive Mayank Parekh at last Friday's askST@NLB talk.
(From far left) ST deputy business editor Poon Chian Hui, OCBC Bank's Mr Jason Ho and IHRP chief executive Mayank Parekh at last Friday's askST@NLB talk.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

People should look to keep their networks active and be active in seeking information to best navigate the digital economy, said Mr Mayank Parekh, chief executive of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP).

"Never be afraid to ask if you don't know enough, never be afraid to reach out to someone who you have some respect for... on your own it is sometimes quite difficult, quite daunting, so do reach out," he said.

He was responding to a question on surviving the digital economy by The Straits Times deputy business editor Poon Chian Hui at an askST@ NLB talk last Friday. Around 180 people attended the 90-minute session at the Central Public Library.

"Machines can never replace humans in many other jobs out there," Mr Parekh said, noting that there are jobs in growth sectors such as social services and healthcare where there are good opportunities, aside from the digital economy.

Mr Jason Ho, head of group human resources at OCBC Bank, said the public can also look at resources they can tap, such as career counselling, when looking for opportunities in the digital economy.

During the talk, Ms Poon spoke on how the US-China trade war has impacted the global economy and Singapore, disrupting supply chains and dampening business sentiment, as well as the effects of a changing society on the labour market.

Mr Ho noted that it is important to have a work culture that encourages learning. He said he has a younger colleague mentoring him at work, giving him "homework" such as articles to read, after which they discuss them.

"In any reskilling or upskilling, we must have an open mind to accept things that are different," he said. "Every small step you take will let you move towards new horizons."

Business development executive Brendan Wong, 25, who was among those at the talk, said: "One of the main things I learnt from the talk today was that we really don't have all the answers, and it's important to just keep upgrading yourself."

 
 
 

The session also shed light on how vulnerable older workers are and how they require more help in finding employment, he noted.

Accountant Dayanand Menon, 57, said it is important to assure people that they will remain relevant and employable in society. "What needs to happen is a change in our hiring policies, and to move beyond (the stigma) of age and gender."

The askST @ NLB talks are a collaboration between The Straits Times and the National Library Board. The sessions are streamed live on the ST Facebook page. The next talk will be held on Jan 31 next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2019, with the headline 'Active seeking of knowledge key to navigating digital economy: Experts'. Print Edition | Subscribe