, Singapore

HR Briefing: How shifting careers amidst the pandemic works

Transferring from the aviation to the logistics sector wasn’t as tough as expected.

As Singapore eases into the Phase 3 of its reopening, employees are starting to wonder how the foray into the period before a post-COVID-19 normal workplace will look like. As such, career shifts from one sector to another have taken place.

An example would be the transfer of some employees from Singapore Airlines to Pacific Logistics Group (PLG).

The employees’ exposure to a myriad of cultures, backed by their diverse backgrounds, would serve as advantages. Not only that, the logistics company’s management training programme would also aid in expanding their knowledge and skills.

“By leveraging our new employees’ experience in the aviation industry and their familiarity with freight terms, the training time is reduced and they are able to delve quickly into the job. Along with the excellent customer service and management skills amassed from their flying days, we hope to be able to set new logistics service standards, addressing current performance gaps in the industry,” PLG said in an email interview with Singapore Business Review.

From one sector to another

With a long-term plan to build a tight regional network that backs on China’s Belt and Road Initiative in sharpening Singapore’s edge as an international trade and transit hub, PLG is “always on the lookout for new local and regional business development opportunities, swiftly responding to the industry’s shifting trends.”

The transition from the aviation to the logistics industry was relatively seamless due to the training and professional support provided by PLG, according to Suzanne Chia, one of the employees who made the career jump.

Skills in problem-solving, communications, customer services, people management as well as technical and operational know-how reportedly had come handy in dealing with prospect engagements, added Kevin Chin.

“I was in the process of figuring out a suitable career path and decided to apply for logistics as it is a multi-dimensional industry with opportunities to explore and develop more in-depth as a professional,” said Alvin Aung.

Specific technical knowledge such as country and airport codes as well as air freight terms were applicable across many industries and in responding to customer queries. “The difference lies in work focus — previously, it was about passenger needs and safety; now, it is providing the right solutions for clients, with larger working groups and stakeholders, involving freight,” added Yenny Juwita.

“Customer service skills can be translated into key account management,” commented Aung. “The difference lies in the continuity of the professional relationship; in logistics, we have our key accounts that we build rapport and renew long-term relationships.”

Having no prior experience in the expansive and dynamic logistics industry is a challenge, but due to the many learning opportunities available as well as relevant concepts applicable to both aviation and air freight enquiries, it is easy to cope.

As for the aviation sector, Chin said that more regulations would be implemented in ensuring safety aboard aircrafts and in airports.

“The aviation industry will recover in time,” Juwita said. “Vaccinations, quarantines, and safe-travel measures have already been put in place — air-traffic should recover gradually as more cities and nations get COVID-19 under control.”

The woes of the airline industry vary from place to place, but it is notable that Singapore has intended to develop its economy for more future-oriented needs and relevance.

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