Leading upskilling from the top

Photo by Nick Morrison

Out of a majority of Singaporeans who learn online, it has been uncovered that those who are senior leaders of their organisations are the least likely to upskill or reskill virtually, compared to individuals in different career stages. This was one of the key findings in NTUC LearningHub‘s recent How Singaporeans Learn report.

The survey, which was conducted online in September 2020 with 450 Singaporean Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents who were users of the LHUB GO online learning platform, aimed to uncover insights into how Singaporeans learn in the COVID-19 era.

Overall, 84% of respondents say they learn online. Out of this population, ‘entry-level executives’ (37%) made up the largest segment, followed by ‘business owners/ self-employed’ (26%), ‘managers’ (15%) and ‘the unemployed’ (10%). Respondents who identified themselves as ‘assistant director and above’ made up the smallest segment of those who say they learn online (4%).

The report also reveals that ‘assistant directors and above’ prefer a blended learning approach to learning (54%) over in-person (38%) and online (8%) modes of learning. In addition, two in three (62%) of them had never signed up for an online learning platform before the ‘circuit breaker’ in April 2020.

By contrast, of the ‘assistant directors and above’ who do upskill, most are likely to upskill once every three months. The top reason for learning online is to ‘gain a basic understanding on topics they are curious about’ (70%) as opposed to other reasons such as to ‘upskill’ or ‘reskill’. Moreover, the top three topics they learn include ‘leadership’ (54%), ‘project management’ (54%) and ‘design thinking’ (46%).

Commenting on the findings, NTUC LearningHub CEO Kwek Kok Kwong says, “In this new world order where new information and technologies are being fielded at an exponential rate, leaders must continue to learn to keep abreast with times. Upskilling should be led from the top; only then would they have the necessary skillsets and knowledge to lead their teams in innovation and transformation in a rapidly changing climate.

“While in-person learning will always offer greater engagement effectiveness and networking opportunities, online learning is a great complementary option for busy executives who are trying to juggle work and life, while learning just in time, just enough, for the immediate future.”