In any given workplace, even a 12-year-old can tell you that…

  1. Clocking in late
  2. Taking two-hour lunch breaks
  3. And then going for a one-hour coffee break
  4. Turning up in something that looks like you’re going for a staycation
  5. Counting hours at your cubicle
  6. Missing deadlines

…are ingredients for a career slow death. And assuming you are not guilty of any of those, you must deal with a sea of degree holders, stiff competition, budget cuts and office politics. It is getting harder to survive in the corporate world, let alone reach your end goal: pay raise and promotion. What is the move here, then? Dress for success and come to work in a Zegna suit? While we are sure the sudden peacocking will earn you some attention, what you really need is for upper management to recognise your potential greatness and the kind of value you can bring to the company.

To rise above the pecking order and get noticed the right way, you might want to invest in something the government has been advocating all along: upgrade and go pick up a new skill.

Take up a new professional course

Times are a-changin’. With industries going full swing into the age of automation, we can’t ignore the fact that our skill sets need to play catch up. Speaker of Parliament Madam Halimah Yacob made it very clear in her speech last month that if job seekers do not actively pick up new skills, they will be left behind in the fast-changing economy.

To galvanise initiative among the Singapore labour force, the government has notably introduced the SkillsFuture scheme in which we have $500 worth of credits to spend on eligible courses. Since it was introduced, the number of courses has almost doubled from 10,000 to 18,000 today. With 18,000 different ways to upgrade yourself, there is bound to be one that tickles your fancy.

If you are looking beyond SkillsFuture courses or have already expended all your credits to pick up a secondary skill, we highlight three top cost-saving means to finance your choice of.

   What’s so good about paying this way?  Annual interest payable  Max loan quantum  Promotions & offers
 Best education loan: OCBC FRANK Education Loan The education loan package is specially tailored towards further studies at a tertiary education either local or abroad.


There is no need to repay the loan for the duration of your studies. Following which, you have the flexibility of choosing three different repayment schemes.

4.5% Up to 10X your monthly income or ceiling of $150,000. Minimum loan amount of $1,000 applies. No ongoing promotions now. But you enjoy one of the lowest interest rates on the market.
 Best personal loan: HSBC Personal Loan You can get almost instant approval for courses that require heavier outlay. 4.5% for regular HSBC customers, preferential rate of 3.8% for HSBC premier customers. Up to 8X your monthly income or $200,000, whichever is lower. Apply online and receive S$50 cashback and processing fee waiver.
 Best credit card: American Express True Cashback Get money back after you charge your course fees to the credit card.

And when you finally complete your course, you can reward yourself with exclusive dining promotions through American Express Selects and Global Dining Program.

24.99% per annum. Up to 4X your monthly income.  For the first six months, enjoy 3% cash back on all purchases charged to the card for up to S$5,000.

Reportedly, the more popular ones are those of info comm technology, languages, baking and productivity and innovation.

Many of them cost below S$500. The way we see it, that is a free ticket to becoming that multi-talented MVP who has no problem demonstrating the versatility of skills. Moreover, in the name of productivity, it is not uncommon to expect one worker to take on the jobs often. It is about who can become the best Office Octopus now.

Know that self-improvement is not a race to a pay raise. Rather, it is a marathon of constant learning to secure many more pay raises. Along the way, when you can get to the position that the company can’t do without you, it would be hard for the boss man to pass you over for promotion at the next appraisal. You can finally get the recognition you deserve, while the ‘Employee of the Year’ award lurks on the horizon.

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