9 November 2018, 2:40pm
Four Seasons Ballroom, Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


1. Good afternoon, and thank you all for joining us at the MSC Connexions Forum. I’m delighted to see such a warm reception to the forum, with HR representatives, career counsellors, educators and colleagues from partnering agencies here with us. Thank you for your continuous support.

2. Each year, the Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Office under the Singapore Maritime Foundation organises the MSC Connexions Forum to strengthen relationships between partners, and to provide a platform for the discussion of maritime manpower initiatives. These discussions enable us to develop a shared understanding of the opportunities in the maritime industry, and for the industry to understand the profiles of our future employees. These conversations are vital if the maritime industry wants to attract the best and the brightest.

The Need for Collaboration

3. Conversations can develop into partnerships, and partnerships can contribute to collective success. This year, SMF embarked on several initiatives with our partners to raise the profile of the maritime sector. At the recent MaritimeONE Scholarship Awards Ceremony, we awarded our very first Business Analytics undergraduate supported by Jurong Port, as a reflection of the shift towards incorporating technology in maritime operations. In September, the MSC Office collaborated with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Singapore Maritime Academy, Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union and Wavelink Maritime Institute for the Careers at Sea & Beyond Forum and Exhibition. This was a public outreach event to highlight seafaring careers and shorebased opportunities. Likewise, through platforms such as today’s forum, we hope to encourage meaningful conversations and inspire ideas which can help shape the future of jobs in our industry.

Rethinking the HR Process

4. The business needs of companies are constantly changing. The Future of Jobs Report 2018 published by the World Economic Forum, identified an increase in demand for roles that are augmented by and dependent on technology, such as analysts, software developers, e-commerce, and social media specialists. Interestingly, the report also recognised a growing demand in the period leading up to 2022 for roles which leverage distinctively ‘human’ skills such as customer service officers, sales and marketing professionals, training and development personnel, as well as innovation managers. Now, these two realities may seem in competition with each other but they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive.

5. I would like to ask you all a question. Which of these two narratives do you believe in? The first narrative: with technology developing fast, this will have a massive impact on the number of jobs in society. The second narrative: humans have dealt with technology before in the past, and with employment getting better, we will be able to reinvent ourselves and figure this out. So, this question is a starting point, where it shapes what we think about technology and its impact on jobs.

6. Another related question is, how much does our company, or our industry want to participate in this change? And the third question is, what kind of world do we envisage for the maritime industry? Perhaps in this new world, the chief engineer no longer sits onboard, but sits at a desk, managing five ships, instead of one. If this is within your scope of vision, then as HR practitioners and business leaders, what do we need to do to move in that direction?

7. So today, the topic is ‘Rethinking Employer Branding and the Employee Experience’, and it’s a chance to consider how we position ourselves for the new skills that we need, and how we can attract into the industry, those who have these specific skills.

8. SMF and the industry have placed emphasis on developing a diverse and multi-talented maritime workforce with a global mindset where we encourage the industry to increase professionalism through certification and accreditation. However, today we wish to explore the other ways we could attract and develop new talents.

9. It’s appropriate that rather than trying to invent things by ourselves, we look and listen to what others are doing in other industries, and we are very fortunate today to have a guest from the banking sector, Mr. Jason Ho, Head of Group Human Resources at the OCBC Bank, to present a different perspective on the role of HR. During the discussion later, our distinguished panelists, senior professionals from the HR sectors of the maritime industry, will also delve into insights and trends that will encourage us to reexamine the makings of an attractive work environment. Should HR compete for talent, the same way companies compete for customers? They’re also going to be sharing HR related challenges, and what they are doing to tackle these problems. I encourage you to ask the panel as many questions as you can.


10. Without further ado, I wish you all a fruitful afternoon of learning and a rewarding discussion ahead. Thank you.