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Singaporeans have a wise Prime Minister and an articulate Deputy Prime Minister. What more can we ask for? :)

(Image credits: Lovely Singapore)

Wow, it really does seem that “The Future Economy” is a hot topic in Singapore these days. Fancy having our PM and DPM speaking about this topic this and last week.

In yesterday’s talk at a dialogue arranged by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), PM Lee Hsien Loong said this:

“Nevertheless, Singapore needs to drive its economic growth through improving productivity now, rather than increasing the labour force, he added, given that the local workforce is heading for negligible or even stagnant growth in the next decade.

And the broad strategy to restructure the economy and upgrade workers is already in place, said Mr Lee.”

Interestingly, in McKinsey Innovation Forum held in Singapore last week, DPM Tharman said this:

“Societies everywhere have been too content with educating people in the first 18 to 22 years of a person’s life. We now know, both from science and through observation of how the best companies do it, that there’s so much potential to develop people throughout their working lives, whichever their job or vocation.

It’s a different game. There’s increasing value in bite-sized learning, short-cycle learning, that responds to the market, as well as what you think you need at each stage of your working life. So it involves a lot more interaction between learning, work and personal experiences and development.”

Don’t you think this is interesting?

Basically PM and DPM are saying that a degree is less and less important in at least the Singaporean context– learning now needs to be lifelong, personal, APPLIED, and bite-sized.

There is no such thing as “Oh I’m just going to study until I’m 22 and have a safe and well-paid job for life after graduation” anymore.

And of course, PM Lee spoke about the “productivity” argument yet again. If you think about it, “productivity” can be taken to mean working less physically and thinking more strategically about how to get more done with minimal effort. In other words, working smart, doing things that actually make sense and not for show just to please your bosses.

Fascinating and humbling, no? I think it also makes a lot of sense that our old mindset is changing into a new one–from one which focuses solely on the paper chase to one that is more dynamic and fast-moving.

This also implies that personal branding in Singapore will be more and more important. Because apart from improving actual value-addedness, unique selling points and skill-sets, we have to think hard about how to communicate and improve our visibility in the ever competitive market.

I’m really grateful that we have such wise leaders as our PM Lee Hsien Loong and DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam!!~ They have foresight and Singaporeans are truly blessed. Let’s work on upgrading our skills as a lifestyle instead of a one-off thing, to be prepared for the future economy!~

Special thanks to the Lovely Singapore team in their contribution to this article too. =)

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