By Chook Yuh Yng, chief growth officer at SEEK Asia

In a world where rapid technological advances are often seen as the disruptors to jobs, it’s time to shift our perspective. Many people are finding themselves at a crossroads as the workforce evolves.

Instead of fearing obsolescence, people are embracing the new era of technology-enabled learning and reskilling. In Southeast Asia (SEA), 26% of employees are looking to try different careers by reskilling to new professions throughout their life.

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of online courses, AI-driven career guidance, and virtual reality simulations to help employees advance or pivot their career path.

Welcome to the era where technology is spearheading a reskilling and upskilling revolution that transforms careers. To access this, you don’t have to go to a university and attend classes in person – today, there are an array of options, from online courses to complimentary upskilling apps available to anyone seeking it.

The importance of upskilling and reskilling in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has enormous potential for skilled labour. It is one of fastest growing economies in the world and is home to the third-largest labour force that is predominantly young. Yet, job participation, skill development and productivity levels haven’t kept pace.

Over the past decade, labour force participation in some Southeast Asian countries has risen incrementally, while others have seen their rates fall significantly. What’s more, high rates of informal employment and a lack of support for older workers has slowed the region’s shift to a knowledge-based economy.

Research by PwC indicates that upskilling and reskilling, with a focus on digital-first capabilities, can potentially boost Southeast Asia’s GDP by 4% by 2030, creating nearly 680,000 new jobs. Importantly, it helps to create an agile and resilient workforce in the face of economic uncertainty and geopolitical strife.

Technology as a means of learning
In light of these circumstances, we urgently need to rethink our approach to upskilling. Lifelong learning programs, utilising technology to deliver online content, offer greater benefits to adults and older professionals seeking fresh challenges beyond the limited courses offered by traditional education institutions.

Technology empowers learners, giving them control and personalisation. Learners can set their own pace since lectures and materials are pre-recorded, or they can participate in virtual lessons via online platforms, eliminating the need for in-person attendance.

In contrast to full-time universities that emphasise rigorous academics, upskilling and lifelong learning institutions provide easily digestible, bite-sized content for rapid knowledge acquisition. Moreover, these modern educational models are designed to accommodate busy schedules and shorter attention spans, placing a strong emphasis on accessibility and convenience.

What’s particularly significant is that these accessible platforms empower learners to develop not only their hard skills but also their soft skills. For instance, individuals in today’s workforce can equip themselves with essential skills such as salary negotiation and leadership.

Elevating the upskilling experience

Once considered staid, lifelong learning platforms are increasingly innovating to improve the social aspects of their programs. To do this, many programs promote learning through collaboration and communication. Talent embarking on a lifelong learning journey can engage in group learning activities to interact with course material, forums, quizzes, masterclasses, or online discussions.

With the rise of online communities, it’s easier than ever for a working professional to gain relevant and practical insights from like-minded peers or industry experts who can help them navigate their careers by providing tailored-advice.

This is exactly the sort of positive learning environment we’re creating with seekMAX, SEEK’s free innovative in-app learning and community platform that’s designed for on-the-go learners – with access to a wealth of content as well as industry experts.

As the world’s workforce evolves further – lifelong learning platforms are key to personal growth and professional success. Lean into the opportunities they offer to stay relevant and competitive. Governments and the private sector must also encourage this mindset in order to build a resilient workforce.


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