Retraining Singaporean PMETs Aged 40-plus — Why and How?

In Singapore’s job market, it’s now more crucial than ever to stay relevant and competitive. Here’s what you gain by retraining in your 40s or 50s.

Imagine landing a new job only to discover that tasks that previously took you hours to complete can now be done in a matter of minutes by machines. This is already happening. In June 2017, finance giant JPMorgan began using software that interprets commercial-loan agreements so efficiently that it essentially does — in seconds — what lawyers took nearly 360,000 hours to do each year. Sounds great, right?

The question is, do you then get replaced by machines or do you upskill yourself to operate new technological tools that are making work processes more efficient?

Either way, it is important to retrain yourself and remain relevant in the job market — even when you are in your 40s and 50s. Here are two ways undergoing retraining gives you an edge over other jobseekers.

You Remain Relevant in Your Industry

Employers have higher expectations of employees today than they did in the past. For example, proficiency with Microsoft Excel is no longer a unique skill like it was once, but one that employers take for granted. In most offices, you will also probably be expected to operate the latest computing system or version of software relevant to your field, like Basecamp or SharePoint in project management or Adobe Creative Suite for digital marketers.

A 2016 report by the World Economic Forum estimates that more than 5.1 million jobs will be lost across the globe due to disruptions in the labour market between 2015 and 2020. Although this is not equally applicable to all industries and roles, it still means upskilling to meet the changing demands of a job has become more of a necessity and less of a value-add.

So if you are looking to rise to a more senior position in the financial services industry, maybe you need to be able to keep up with the industry’s growing adoption of digital technologies and big data analytics. That means attending programmes that help you brush up on your data analysis skills could set you apart from other candidates.

You See Doors Open to New Careers

With the global push to go digital, it is no secret that while there are dying industries, there are still many thriving ones. In July 2017, the Government announced coordinated efforts to help Singaporeans find jobs in the five key growth industries of healthcare, infocomm and media, wholesale trade, professional services and financial services. In fact, in 2016, almost 700 professionals made a mid-career move into Singapore’s growing healthcare sector, showing that such career changes are a very realistic and lucrative opportunity for PMETs over the age of 40.

Rather than risk being made redundant in a sunset industry, set your sights on a new career that holds better prospects.

Thankfully, there are programmes such as the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) offered by WSG that are aimed specifically at those over the age of 40, to help them move into these thriving industries. If you’re interested in taking on the role of an occupational therapist in the healthcare sector, or if you aspire to switch careers to become a digital marketing specialist in a creative agency, PCPs help you undergo the necessary training to be job-ready.

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