Brunei’s youth may well be competing for more jobs regionally in the near future. Human resource practitioners and skill development institutions play a vital role in ensuring the local talent show adaptability and a strong readiness for this future, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah said.
“As apparent to everyone here, we are living in a time of change and with that comes many uncertainties. The global pandemic that has shocked the global system came at a time when we thought the most uncertainty would be from the integration of the 4th Industrial Revolution into our day-to-day lives,” he said in his capacity as Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) Chairman at the Initiate Human Capital Summit 2021 which he officiated yesterday.
The minister added, “This also happens against the backdrop of a decade-long growth trend for the global economy, one of the longest growth trends in history. It coincides with rising unemployment in many countries and increasing number of challenges in mental health management, especially among youth.
“These many trends have not and cannot go unnoticed by human resource practitioners. The 4th Industrial Revolution and the use of technology will only expand in its influence and we are witness to how it is reshaping the way we live and work,” .
He said the COVID-19 outbreak has been a catalyst for technological transformation, not least in relation to the trend of working remotely, where in some countries, there are reports of higher productivity and greater cost-savings.
“However, what it truly illuminates is the double-edged nature of technology, as stress levels rise due to the blurring line between work and home, and the encouragement of the ‘always on’ culture. This is a new way of working that human resource practitioners will continue to work to improve and put related policies in place in preparation for the future,” the minister said.
Technological advancement also has the potential to increase competitiveness in the job market, the minister added, as the acceptance of working remotely or virtually, essentially removes geographical barriers.
“The decade-long growth trend of the global economy,” he believed is due to “being in the uncharted territory of global economic expansion; the global economic trend comes with many uncertainties, where the risk of a global slowdown and its adverse impact on retirement accounts can be detrimental.”
“Hence, it is possible that many around the world will continue to work until much later in life while a growing number of youth enter the workforce. The management and coordination of the new generation and the previous generation in the workforce are essential to any economy’s sustainability.”
“As we enter this uncharted territory of global expansion, the pace of economic change and changes within industries can accelerate, leading to increased possibility of skills-mismatch when looking at demand and supply in the job-market.”
He highlighted the ability of human resource practitioners to assess candidates’ readiness for a job as being paramount, especially in objectively measuring criteria such as emotional intelligence, teamwork ability, time management skills and social skills.
The impact of COVID-19 is relatively well-managed in Brunei and the role of the 4th Industrial Revolution has yet to take full swing, so the effect on economic performance and changes to the way of working are still relatively subtle.
“This means that we have been given time and granted the chance to learn from the mistakes and successes of others around the world, to ensure we adopt and adapt only the best practices in managing human resources and other related matters,” he said.
“Going forward and in light of all the changes that will inevitably come, the role of human resource management cannot be considered as a support function in an organisation, but rather a strategic partner to help navigate the workforce to succeed in the uncertain future,” the minister said.