Singapore’s Economy is Changing Gears Towards Digitalisation — It’s Time You Do Too!

In Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent National Day Rally speech, he talked about how Singaporean companies need to make their mark in the new digital economy. Here’s why, and how you can in your own career now.

E-commerce sales in Singapore are expected to grow to US$10 billion (S$13.4 billion) by the end of 2026, according to a report cited by the Straits Times in late August 2021.

Beyond Singapore’s shores, the rest of Southeast Asia’s e-commerce gross merchandise value is expected to nearly double to US$254 billion in five years, up from the US$132 billion forecast in 2021, according to the same report.

Benjamin Joe, vice-president of Southeast Asia and emerging markets at Facebook, said staying at home has changed consumer behaviour online.

“E-commerce now outranks gaming as one of the top activities consumers do online, possibly because it is evolving to blend entertainment with shopping. Online channels have become more prevalent, from discovery to purchase.”

At the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) Economic Dialogue 2021, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong added that in the aftermath of Covid-19, the global economic landscape is becoming more challenging amid increasing fragmentation on multiple fronts.

These include technology and trade, accelerating industry consolidation and churn, and increasing consumer preference for e-commerce and virtual experiences.

But he added on a positive note: “These shifts will cause a great impact on the trajectory of the global economy. Singapore can leverage opportunities that come our way, and emerge stronger from the pandemic.”

Singaporean companies going global… and digital

In PM Lee’s recent National Day Rally speech, he referenced Singaporean companies that have made their mark in the new economy and gone global, such as Carro, SecretLab and Carousell, as well as Hegen, a local company that specialises in baby-feeding products.

Referencing Hegen, PM Lee quipped: “It’s a tough business to be in because Singaporeans are making too few babies! So from the start, Yvon Bock (the brand founder) expanded into other markets, with their products popular in China, Korea and even Israel.

“When Covid-19 hit, many of Hegen’s physical retail channels shut down, so the company shifted to marketing online. They improved their website, conducted live streams in multiple languages, and hired more staff to fulfil orders.

“Now, Hegen’s main engine of growth is online sales”, he lauded.

Read More: Here Are the Top Tech Skills You Need for Your Resume

Time to train and upskill for the digital economy

The benefit of companies pivoting towards e-commerce and digitalisation is that this also encourages and supports more virtual training, career development, and collaboration tools for our local workforce, and employers and jobseekers such as yourself.

Beyond e-commerce, WSG has increased its programmes for workers in the tourism, aviation, retail and food service sectors, and focused on the reskilling and redeployment of workers.

WSG’s Place-and-Train programmes were enhanced, which encourages employers to reskill their workers to take on new job roles. Other programmes are also designed to help mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians take up digital roles, and equip participants with skills such as e-commerce campaign management, social media marketing, and data analytics!

Stay flexible for digital opportunities

Mr Glenford Koh, WSG’s principal career coach, shared that it’s important for both employees and jobseekers to keep an open mind and stay flexible in their careers.

He said to the Straits Times: “For example, if your company requires extra hands in another department, volunteer yourself. Besides acquiring new skills relevant to your industry, you would also gain valuable experience that burnishes your resume.

“Say, you’re in food and beverage operations — a stint in business development could enable you to upskill in digital technology such as social media marketing or delivery platform systems.”

If you’re working in the tourism industry, there are also programmes for you.

WSG is launching an enhanced career conversion for digital marketing tourism professionals in September 2021, enhanced with digital sales modules, such as optimising sales conversation techniques, and maintaining after-sale customer relationships through digital channels, much like what Hegen is doing.

Want to learn more and keep up with career trends? Sign up for WSG’s lineup of seminars and workshops and upskill today!

Digital (workers) not enough

These skills will come in handy across all industries, given there’s a demand for workers with the right digital sales and marketing skills. According to a demand sensing survey conducted by WSG recently with 60 participating companies, 23% of the companies were doing their sales and marketing efforts by traditional channels such as television commercials and print advertisements, with 75% saying they wanted to improve their digital sales and marketing outreach, but 23% lacking the right staff to do so.

That’s why there are still close to 100 vacancies for in-demand roles such as digital marketing executives and digital sales/e-commerce executives on MyCareersFuture — so go upskill and snap up those jobs now.

And if you do have digital skills…

Don’t hide your talents from employers! Some jobseekers tend to only upload their resumes on job portals, and don’t fill up their work history and relevant digital work experiences.

Don’t forget, some employers may not download your resume, but simply look at the digital dashboard of your details, to speed up their filtering process of suitable candidates.

Fun fact: Profiles with a complete work history have a 75% chance to be noticed! So make sure you head to MyCareersFuture and do that right now!

(Main image credit: Ministry of Communications and Information)

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