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The ticket to a job tomorrow

In a fast-changing working world, learning new skills is not an option

Consider it the new currency in managing your career - learnability.

If someone were to put a sensor in your brain to track your desire and ability to learn new skills in order to stay relevant professionally, they would be measuring your "learnability".

Most people tend to ignore further learning once they are past their 20s and 30s. By the time they have established themselves in their careers in their 40s - and likely with family commitments - they neglect continual learning altogether.

There is no shortage of calls by public-sector agencies to get Singaporeans to leave their curiosity switch turned on.

Indeed, learnability was one of the seven strategies set out by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) to future-proof Singapore's economy.

In the report released in February, the CFE sketched its vision of a future economy, where among other things, people are inspired to learn throughout their lives, businesses are innovative and nimble, and the city connected and vibrant.

Shorter skills life cycle

This is necessary because in a world where work is reinventing itself at a furious pace, driven by technological advances and globalisation, the life cycle of skills is shorter than ever.

Exercising your learnability is not an option: it's the lifeline to continuing employability.

The question is how to coax the learnability out of you.

Find out your learnability level

Use the free online assessment tool, Learning Quotient (LQ), to gauge your openness to self-development.

Developed by ManpowerGroup, the exercise at www.learnabilityquotient.com/apme gets you to answer questions from whether you like to make new friends to whether you upset apple carts.

For instance, if you are a thinker-traditionalist-planner, you prefer playing by the rules and like thinking ahead. Knowing your LQ lets you see how much more of the curiosity lights you need to turn on.

One size fits one

Know your learning style. Do you absorb material best through listening or reading? Do you like to understand from the ground up to arrive at a concept or start with the big picture and drill down? Understand your learning style and learn the way you are comfortable with.

Stretch yourself

But also push yourself. Think of new ways of learning new things. For example, if your job mostly entails your working behind the screen, use your SkillsFuture Credit to learn presentation skills.

Go for micro-byte learning

The learning that sticks is often a small lesson that happens in the moment. Note those moments. And binge-watch short videos by experts - on any number of subjects - on Ted Talks (www.ted.com/talks)

Nurture your own learnability

One of the best ways to learn is to have a coach.

Find someone who can stoke your fires of curiosity and encourage you to dance on the edges of learnability.

Sobering global picture

Without learnability, low-skilled, low learners and women are the most under threat from automation.

For instance, roles in sales, business and financial operations, and office and administration will be hit - and these tend to have higher proportions of women.

Conversely, areas of jobs growth, including architecture, engineering, and computing and mathematical roles, tend to have fewer women.

The findings emerged in The Skills Revolution survey from US-listed workforce expert, ManpowerGroup. The survey of 18,000 employers worldwide found that more than 90 per cent of them expected their organisations to be impacted by digitisation in the next two years.

Carried out in July last year, the global survey was presented at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, in January.

ManpowerGroup's chairman and CEO, Mr Jonas Prising, said: "Employers need to fast track the upskilling and reskilling of employees to ensure that they have a workforce with future-ready skills...

"Individuals need to nurture their learnability to stay relevant and remain employable in the skills revolution."

The bottom line: Learnability is the currency to hedge against the chances of your being the worker of tomorrow - or being replaced or displaced.

This article was contributed by Right Management, the global career experts within United States-listed HR consulting firm, ManpowerGroup.

CareerEmploymentSingapore