Building a Workforce of the Future
February 12, 2018

APRU engages in conversations to “Building a Workforce of the Future” at the National Center for APEC Executive Roundtable


January 30, 2018, Singapore—Christina Schönleber, APRU Director of Policy & Programs, addressed workforce challenges in the Asia Pacific during NCAPEC’s (National Center for APEC) Executive Roundtable. This year’s theme was “APEC in a Changing World,” examining the effects of Asia Pacific’s shift towards a digital economy.

NCAPEC’s Executive Roundtable discussions highlighted the need to reduce trade and investment barriers and provided valuable channels for the business sector to feedback into the policy process, ultimately, to develop more favorable and competitive business environments.

Schönleber brought a higher education perspective to the panel discussion on future workforce development by outlining how the region’s leading scholars help guide labor market transition at the highest level.

“The way we support economies is by focusing on two key building blocks. Firstly, we build networks of scholars and experts across the Asia Pacific who research subjects and topics related to labor markets and workforce development. Secondly, we bring together policy makers and companies with our expert networks to facilitate a process of insight sharing and collaborative working.”

The discussion touched upon technological shifts, the disproportionate effects AI will have on the elderly and the young, and how policymakers will be able to address challenges and seek out opportunities AI will offer in the future.

“We know that automation will change existing jobs significantly, and workers will need to gain new skills. This will have a completely different impact on economies with a predominantly older workforce or young workforce. There is also a concern that automation and AI will increase inequality by widening the income gap between low and highly paid workers. We need a lot more research looking at these aspects to gain an understanding how to address challenges and harness opportunities.”

The roundtable concluded with a forward-looking final session, “APEC—Building a Forum for the Future,” and addressed APEC’s Bogor Goals for investment and trade development by 2020, as well as its vision for inclusive growth in the new, digital economy.

The panel, “Building a Workforce of the Future,” featured Shieumei Lin (Vice President of Public Affairs and Sustainability, UPS Asia Pacific), John McKendry (Vice President for Developed Asia, Pfizer Essential Health, Pfizer Inc.) and Christina Schönleber (Director Policy and Programs, APRU).

Panel Moderator was Steven Xavier Chan. Mr. Chan is Managing Director and Regional Head of Regulatory, Industry and Government Affairs (Asia Pacific) at State Street.

For event photos, please visit NCAPEC’s official Facebook page here.