As Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lawrence Wong said: these days, most workers will now have multiple careers in their lifetimes.
Even in the rare case of someone working at the same company throughout their lives, the work they do will likely evolve over time, he added.
But of course, there’ll be many different motivations to make the leap. According to a survey by talent management firm Foundit (previously known as Monster.com), 79% of Singaporean workers would consider a career outside their field of study for higher salaries, and because they “want the best job.”
“The stigma of job hopping or making a complete career switch is slowly waning,” added Abhijeet Mukherjee, chief executive officer for Foundit in APAC and the Gulf markets. “It’s no longer an expectation that someone remains in the field they chose to study for 10 or even five years.
Their survey also showed that Singaporean workers believe that the act of switching careers is “brave” (43%), “commendable” (28%) and “impressive” (16%). Only 13% said it sounded “risky” and just 1% consider it “irresponsible” to switch paths.
Interestingly enough, while changing industries is acceptable for most, changing roles triggers different feelings.
Edward Foong, a career consultant at Maximus Singapore, a career matching provider for Workforce Singapore, shared with Workipedia by MyCareersFuture: “When I suggest a mid-career switch to a different industry, most are usually open to make the switch and tend to see the industry switch as a learning opportunity.
“However, when I suggest a mid-career switch to a different type of role, they are usually more resistant!
“For example, I tried suggesting to one job seeker to switch to nursing or a healthcare role, but the response was about being afraid of blood and being unable to surmount that even for roles that weren’t patient-facing.”
So how do you get started on your switch?
Serene Wong, a Coaching and Development Specialist at Ingeus, a career matching provider for Workforce Singapore shared with Workipedia by MyCareersFuture: “Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs) are a great way for those interested in making a mid-career switch to make a start.
“These opportunities require the applicant to have the right transferable skills; their last-held job cannot be too similar to the job advertised; and neither can their last-held role be too far afield from it.
In case you didn’t know, Workforce Singapore (WSG)’s Career Conversion Programmes (CCP) are targeted at Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs), including mid-career switchers, to undergo skills conversion and move into new occupations or sectors that have good prospects and opportunities for progression!
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Serene added: “In my opinion, some education service providers and frontline service industries (like maid agencies) tend to hire career switchers. The company set-ups tend to be start-ups, less established companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”
For those currently working in sunset industries, which face an economic decline in the years to come, moving to roles in growth sectors to build career resilience might not be a bad decision.
During Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally Speech in 2022, he outlined six key sectors that will be important for Singapore in the next 30 years:
- Port and Transshipment
- Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology
Edward added: “These days, I do find employers from various industries open to hiring our mid-career switchers who are prepared and ready.
“Prospects for these industries and roles are usually good, employers are willing to develop them to be successful.
“This also improves the resume for the jobseeker as well, given they have now successfully made a career switch, making them more attractive to future employers.”
Skills matter for a career switch
Once you have figured out where you are planning to move, research as much as possible on what it takes to secure that career switch. Your next move may require you to acquire some new skills.
Upgrading your skills, taking up internships, volunteering or picking up freelance work in that sphere are effective methods of bridging your resume into a new industry.
In addition, Serene advised: “Soft skills that expand from existing soft skills that a client might have, for example, negotiation and influencing skills that build on existing communications and interpersonal skills, would be valuable to either maintain or grow from one industry to another.
“The same applies to some hard skills. For example, data science, which some engineering trained jobseekers can easily pick up from one industry to another because they are all in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries) mould.”
Pooja Chhabria, LinkedIn’s Career Expert also shared findings from their Future Of Skills report, saying: “Despite tough economic conditions, the Singapore workforce is relying on their own abilities to grow their skills and push forward in their careers.
“Since the pandemic, it’s clear that professionals have built up a bank of resilience and we’re seeing this in their confidence to tackle the year ahead.
“Job seekers are also being more intentional in their search, whereas others are taking steps to recession-proof their current roles by learning new skills or brushing up on existing ones.
“In fact, there has been a 43% year-on-year increase in members worldwide adding skills to their LinkedIn profile – 35 million have been added in the last 12 months.
“Building transferable skills will help professionals be more versatile and adaptable to different roles and industries, which is valuable in an uncertain economic climate.”