Necessity in sharpening skills

ADAPTING to the changes in a rapidly evolving world is crucial in staying relevant in the modern workplace. To maintain one's competitive edge, individuals need to acquire skill sets to cope with the evolving economy.

To provide students and graduates insights into the skills of the future, the Monash Malaysia Business Alumni Chapter kicked off the inaugural Alumni Speaker Series, with "Talent Needs of Tomorrow: Insights Into the Malaysian Market".

The discussion featured five panellists – Leonard Ariff, Tian-Pouw Pun, Devendran Sinnadurai, Cheryl Teh and Dr Jane Tong as they explored three themes: Career Switches; Economy Outlook and Skills in Demand (11th Malaysia Plan); and Key Skills Required in the Workplace by 2020.

While reasons such as dissatisfaction at work or a burnout may prompt an individual to consider a career change, Pun, who is a principal at Korn Ferry and has over a decade of experience in HR, explained that candidates should ask themselves five questions to help them decide if they are ready for a career switch.
"The first question you should yourself is why do you want a career switch in the first place? And don't lie to yourself," he said.

Other questions to mull over include identifying the sacrifices needed to do well in the new role, how much changes the individual can bring to the organisation and to the role, whether they can do a better job or perform as well as the current or last person who held the role and whether they have the ability or do the job.

Ariff, the Group Managing Director of Chemical Company of Malaysia Berhad, opined that networking is an important skill that he looks for when hiring C-level leaders in an organisation.

On communication, Teh, Vice President of Knowledge Management at Khazanah Nasional, highlighted her concern about the lack of interpersonal skills among youths, adding that many are becoming progressively isolated as most of their conversations are taking place through WhatsApp.

Deputy Head of the School of Business Prof Pervaiz Ahmed explained that it is important for graduates to adapt to the fast changing business environment of today, in order to become successful leaders in the future.

"It's important for us to look at the Malaysian economy and see how it is evolving, including technological changes and social changes. This is so that we can better understand, make those changes, and build the necessary skills and competencies."

For more information on Monash University's programmes at the School of Business, visit www.buseco.monash.edu.my