askST@NLB: Actively seeking information key to navigating digital economy

(From left) The Straits Times deputy business editor Poon Chian Hui, Mr Jason Ho, head of group human resources at OCBC Bank, and Mr Mayank Parekh, chief executive of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals at an askST@NLB talk on Dec 13, 2019
(From left) The Straits Times deputy business editor Poon Chian Hui, Mr Jason Ho, head of group human resources at OCBC Bank, and Mr Mayank Parekh, chief executive of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals at an askST@NLB talk on Dec 13, 2019.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - 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 on Friday (Dec 13).

"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.

Mr Parekh was responding to a question from The Straits Times deputy business editor Poon Chian Hui on surviving the digital economy at an askST @ NLB talk.

Around 180 people attended the 90-minute session at the Central Public Library on Friday.

"Machines can never replace humans in many other jobs out there," Mr Parekh said, pointing out 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 training resources that they can tap on, such as the availability of career counselling, when looking for opportunities in the digital economy.

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

Mr Ho noted that it is important to have a work culture which encourages learning. He said he has a younger colleague mentoring him at work, giving him "homework" such as articles to read, and how they engage in discussions about these articles.

"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 allow you to move toward new horizons."

One of the people at the talk was business development executive Brendan Wong, 25.

He 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 would 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," he added.

The askST @ NLB sessions are a collaboration between The Straits Times and the National Library Board.

Sessions are streamed live on The Straits Times' Facebook page, and the next askST @ NLB talk will be held on Jan 31 next year.