How Going Back to School Can Help You Stay Recession-Proof

In this article, we'll dive into the reasons why going back to school can give your career that uptick once the economic storm subsides.


24 Apr 2020


4 mins

Diversifying your skills and knowledge helps you remain employable even in uncertain times like a recession.
(Photo Credit: jcomp)

In a world where nearly every essential part of our lives revolves around some mobile app, website or technological platform, it's more important than ever to ensure that our knowledge keeps pace with the times. As artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics play increasingly prominent roles in a digital-first economy, our value as productive members of the workforce will come from a combination of digital skills, coupled with expertise that cannot be automated.

And when you think about how the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has already caused an unprecedented impact on employment, with more than 1 billion workers worldwide at a high risk of pay cut or losing their job1, protecting your rice bowl has to be a very real consideration. That being said, there's no better time than now to hit the books again and give your CV a boost. More specifically, we'll dive into the reasons why going back to school can give your career that uptick once the economic storm subsides.

Upskill to Rise Up

An IBM report highlighted that analytics skills, business acumen and software/application proficiency rank among the top 12 most important skills in the workforce today, while also pointing out how an estimated 120 million workers worldwide will need to be retrained as a result of AI and automation within the next three years.2

That alone should present us with the impetus we need to upskill - something that the Singaporean government has emphasised in light of the current economic climate. More companies are now turning towards potential employees, who can perform cross-functionally and take on added job responsibilities, in a bid to lower wage bills and streamline operations.

Statistics from PwC also show that 81% of Singapore-based employees are already learning new skills to better understand or use technology as part of personal upskilling.3 By equipping ourselves with new skills and certifications to expand our job scope, we're more likely to be viewed as valuable contributors to our current or prospective employers, instead of being left behind in the upskilling race.

Get Certified

Not all of us eventually make a career out of what we majored in. Have you ever found yourself performing tasks at work that you never received formal training in? Well, now's the time to ensure that such experience is rightly reflected in your CV as a truly accredited skill, because that can make the difference in your chances of landing that coveted next job or negotiating a pay increase.

Take the field of Project Management for instance, where Bryant Vargas, Director of Recruiting, Information Technology at Atlas Search notes how “Employers love to see this since employees with the PMP certification tend to have a more sophisticated approach to taking projects from inception through to completion across different methodologies”.4  In short, it's nearly always a better choice to make sure your career progress is aided by industry-recognised certification - ironclad proof that you've got the skills to ace your job.

Pursue Your Passion

Multi-billionaire and Virgin founder Richard Branson famously remarked: “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passion in a way that serves the world and you.” The truth is, sometimes we wind up in jobs that we are good at, but not necessarily the most passionate about.

Some of us may harbour hopes of starting our own online business or developing a gaming app. If that's the case, this global lull period provides the perfect opportunity to chase our dreams and, in doing so, broaden our skill set at the same time.

Before starting the next phase of your education journey, do remember to pick a trusted learning partner, whose curriculum includes extensive real-world learning. For starters, check out SIM GE's list of our part-time bachelor and postgraduate programmes as well as programmes offered by its professional arm, SIM Professional Development Enterprise Learning, to make your choice!

1 Bloomberg, 10 Apr 2019: These Charts Show Global Economy's Dive Into Deep Recession

2 CNBC, 10 Sep 2019: 120 million workers will need retraining due to AI-but they may already have the skills employers want most

3 PwC Singapore: Upskilling hopes and fears: Top 3 findings

4 Glassdoor, 13 Nov 2019: 8 Certifications That Actually Impress Recruiters

Posted online, 24 April 2020