Govt can help workers cope with 'disruptive technology'

This article is more than 12 months old

For professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who make up the majority of residents who lose their jobs, redundancy is a worry as disruptive technology grows.

One anxiety is a lack of skills in using the new technology that is changing the nature of jobs. Another is that entire job functions may be replaced by automation.

In banking and finance, for example, algorithms can automate trading.

In the face of these changes, the Government's move to appoint five political office holders to oversee efforts to shepherd workers into growth industries may allay some fears.

The Government has pinpointed five industries - healthcare, wholesale trade, infocomm and media, financial services and professional services - that are most at risk of technological disruption but also hold "tremendous potential" in producing new jobs.

Together, they employ almost one million people - more than a quarter of Singapore's working population.

Government agencies, employers and unions can provide clearer direction on the training resources and courses that are needed to arm workers with the relevant skills.

These efforts can also persuade employers to hire less experienced workers from other sectors who are keen to break into these industries.

Questions remain: Will there be enough new jobs to replace the jobs that will vanish?Will PMETs have the grit to learn new skills to stay ahead?