On Monday 26 May 2014, The Straits Times reported that university graduates are most vulnerable to redundancy. The report further stated that only 62% of those who were made redundant found jobs within the first year.
I laid these facts out to my group of first and second year undergraduate students and the looks on their faces was priceless. Almost in unison they started questioning if it was worth carrying on, with some even joking that they will pull out of the course.
So I asked them – What is a desirable future for graduates five years from now? These were some responses:
Be in high demand for their specialized skills
Overseas work opportunities
Education be tweaked to be more skilled-based and more flexible to changing market conditions
To the question – “What are some actions graduates can take to make themselves more marketable?”
Learn more skills – learning should be an ongoing process; attend new courses or certification programmes
Learn more languages so that it is easier to work overseas
Volunteer to take on tasks outside the immediate job scope
The last point sparked a huge debate as students argued that employees are already taking on multiple tasks and volunteering for extra tasks will only reduce their personal time; others argued that by doing several tasks, the quality of the work and productivity will diminish and majority felt that multi-tasking will result in the “Jack of all trades and master of none” syndrome.
So what’s MY take?
Be current and be flexible. Keep you eyes and ears on the ground. Some questions that you can ask yourself are:
What are the new trends in my industry?
What new knowledge or data have emerged since I attended University?
What is an extra task that I could include in my routine that will increase my market value?
I might not be able to juggle multiple roles at the same time. Can I ask for job rotation for six months so that I can try out something new?
What are your thoughts? Share your comments in the comments box below.