You just have to choose the right industry — one that’s growing and in need of workers, rather than a sunset industry that’s contracting.
Here are five sectors that we think have a promising future in Singapore and are excellent choices for a mid-career change.
Singapore’s population continues to grow and age, and the healthcare needs of the nation are going to rise sharply over the next few decades.
This means that demand for healthcare workers is going to be ever stronger. Over the next three years alone, an estimated 9,000 jobs in the healthcare sector will be created.
Working in healthcare doesn’t just mean becoming a doctor or a nurse. There are applied healthcare roles such as that of physiotherapist or diagnostic radiographer that enable you to have an impact on people’s lives without going through five years of medical school.
The main stumbling block for many people is that entering the medical field usually requires a fair bit of retraining.
The government’s Professional Conversion Programmes alleviate the cost of this retraining by sponsoring course fees for certain disciplines, such as the PCP for diagnostic radiographers or enrolled nurses, and paying training allowances over the duration of the course.
This means you could pursue a new career in healthcare with low opportunity cost. One great example is Ong Teng Teng, a former air stewardess who decided to pursue a career in nursing after being inspired by the nurses who had taken care of her son when he was only a few months old and needed surgery.
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Under the Professional Conversion Programme for Enrolled Nurses offered by the Ministry of Health and Workforce Singapore, she took up a nursing course in 2008 at the Institute of Technical Education and was subsequently attached to Ang Mo Kio Thye Hua Kwan Hospital. She then completed her Diploma of Nursing at Nanyang Polytechnic in 2013 under the sponsorship of the hospital.
In 2016, she decided to continue her learning journey and enrolled into the Bachelor of Science (Nursing) programme at NUS Nursing, with the aid of the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy, which offers Singaporeans aged 40 and above up to 90 per cent course fee subsidies for over 8,000 SSG-supported courses.
Ong is definitely a great example of how you can proactively pursue a new career direction, especially given the numerous government initiatives in place to assist you pursuit.
Infocomm and Media
There’s a reason university students are gravitating towards courses offered by the school of computing. The future is digital, and the infocomm and media industry is one of the fastest growing.
The best thing is that there are both technical and non-technical roles for people with all types of backgrounds.
Those who are interested in picking up deep technical skills can look into roles as software developers or systems administrators, while those who prefer the media/marketing side can work in digital marketing or infocomm sales and marketing.
There’s also a growing trend of Singaporeans taking time off work to learn coding or web development. Even parents are sending their kids for coding classes. If that’s not an indication of how promising this sector is, we don’t know what is.
Wholesale and trade
The Singapore economy has always relied heavily on international trade, and this is not something that is going to change anytime soon.
Wholesale trade, which deals with trading between businesses, is also a major contributor to Singapore’s economy, making up 12 per cent of our country’s economic output in 2016.
There’s a large number of roles geared towards facilitating trade, from market analysts to sales, finance, accounting, supply chain management and product/packaging specialists.
The Professional Conversion Programme enables you to pick up skills to work in wholesale and trade by providing your employer with funding support to send you on skills upgrading courses, as well as offering salary support.
The professional services sector encompasses seven sub-sectors, namely: accounting, consulting, advertising, design, legal, architecture, and engineering services.
Professional services providers serve firms rather than consumers, and work in areas such as HR, project management, legal, accounting, business development, operations and more.
Singapore’s professional services sector continues to grow, and the island is home to some huge consulting firms.
For instance, if you previously worked as an engineer, your technical skills will serve you well in a project management role. If you are concerned about how to actually find a job outside of your sector, which is a natural concern given that it is unfamiliar territory, you can check out the MyCareersFuture portal.
The portal allows you to search through a wide range of industries, suggest jobs that matches your skills, and also shows you which jobs are in high demand as well.
If you want to learn more about the sectors that we’ve highlighted here, there is a whole slew of career fairs where you can get more information and speak to relevant people. WSG’s Career Events listing page will give you a full rundown of these events and what to expect.
Singapore is already one of the world’s biggest financial hubs, and if the government gets its way, the financial sector is going to grow even more at a rate of over 4 per cent per annum, creating thousands of jobs.
That’s why a career in financial services seems to be consistently popular. While it might seem that technology is causing a huge disruption in the financial space, it is also enabling banks to create new jobs and empower their existing staff as well. One good example is how banks are able to use data and technology to allow their advisors to do more when it comes to advising customers on personal finance matters.
Certain jobs, such as those in compliance, do not require specialised degrees and offer lots of room for growth and the potential to eventually earn a very attractive salary.
Looking for more information on possible career paths? Why not make an appointment with a WSG Career Coach for a simple consultation. They will be able to better guide you on what steps to take and help you to understand better which directions you can explore.
3 Tips for a Successful Mid-Career Switch:
1. If you’re thinking of a changing your career, one of the things that you might need to adjust to is a smaller pay cheque. Before switching, it’s prudent to ensure that you have sufficient savings – preferably at least 6 months’ worth of your current income – before you make the switch.
2. Make time to learn about the industry and read widely about the new job, as the learning curve might be steep.
3. Most importantly, attitude surpasses aptitude. With a humble and willing-to-learn attitude, you can get up to speed on the technical knowledge required with some training. You will find that you can still apply important soft skills such as interpersonal and people management skills at your new role and succeed in your new arena.
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Text: Joanne Poh, Moneysmart