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For all who celebrate Chinese New Year

Does Singapore need 6.9 million people by 2030?

The Singapore Government releases a white paper last week proposing a population growth from the current 5 million to almost 7 million in year 2030. One of the given reasons for the proposal is the replacement of older workers who would retire by 2030. It is believed that for every 2 elderly workers retiring from the workforce, only one younger Singaporean will fill up one of the 2 vacancies. This seems to justify the need for bringing in foreign workers, if we assume both groups of workers (younger and older Singaporeans) are generating the same output. But I doubt that would be the case. 

The output from younger workers is likely to be higher than that of the elderly workers as they (younger workers) embrace new ways of doing things and new technologies, such the new digital media tools. This is evident by comparing the output produced by our generation with our parents' generation. Our output is much higher than our parents. As for the future generation, I believe that their output is also going to surpass us. This can be seen from the vast difference in the amount of knowledge our children are able to acquire at their age. What we learnt in schools in the past are now being taught at a much earlier age, probably about 2 to 3 years earlier. Therefore, I am confident that by 2030, our younger generation would be able to generate significantly more output than the older workers who will retire. I won't be surprised if they were to double the amount of output generated currently. Thus, is there really a need for such a huge population growth proposal? 

Another way to increase productivity is to send the workers for training as proposed by our Singapore government. Of course it is not just any course but courses that are effective in increasing the productivity of the workers. To demonstrate my point, please download and take the Excel test given below as a simple example: 

Question: Find all the 5 in this range and colour them (you can download a copy here). Time yourself with a stop watch. 


Did you manage to highlight all the 8 "5"s?
How long did you take?
I take only around 10 seconds to complete this task. 

What if you increase the range 10 times? Do you think you would take 10 times longer to find all the "5"? I still take only 10 seconds (Watch the video if you are not convinced that I take only 10 seconds.). This is just one example; there are so many other examples of how Excel can be used differently for breakthrough performance. Your workers' productivity would have increased multiple folds if they can learn how to work on Excel in the most optimal way that we would like to teach you. This applies to at least 50% of the workforce who are using Excel on a daily basis. And this basically translates to an increase in productivity without any increase in headcount. 

You may be wondering how this could happen when you have already sent your workers for training? Well, in most conventional Excel courses, your workers are only taught the functions that are available in Excel. So when they encounter a problem like this, they would have no idea what to do except eyeballing the numbers row by row and column by column, and manually highlighting the 5s one by one. As a result, much precious time is wasted and productivity compromised. 

I estimated that the time spent to complete the above job is about 10 minutes if one were to do it manually. But using the more efficient way of completing the task, your worker would be able to save 95% of the time spent on this task (calculated based 590 seconds of time saved = 590 seconds / 600 seconds x 100%). The extra time freed up could then be re-allocated, maybe to cover the duties meant for the extra headcount. This means that you won't need to employ one more worker to do the job. The savings in salary could be shared with the existing worker who is generating more output, a win-win situation for you and your worker. There will be lesser or no shortage of manpower, a perfect piece of news for any company. Similarly, for the country, the need to increase the population to 7 million to support "economic growth" could be addressed with the right training options. 

For more information about our training courses, please refer to our websites:
Face to face workshop - www.everydayexcel.com
eCourses - www.excel-course.com

Listing non-blank cells

Listing non-blank cells within a range can be easily achieved using the auto-filter. For that, you can google for "Excel Auto-filter" and learn more about it from the top 5 lisitng. In here, we are going to do a little more advanced stuff. We are going to show you how you could list down the non-blank cells in another location, either in a range within the worksheet or in another worksheet... continue reading

Ask us an Excel question and get your question answered by our team of Excel experts

Question on counting the no of records:

What formula to apply to count the no of records in a column eg No Dept1 Dept 2 Dept 3
1. AA
2. BB
3. CC
4. DD
Dept tot ## ## ## 

Click on this link for the answer.

Question on "Insert Tally Counts":

A client asked me how to Insert Tally Counts for her worksheets. She has tried googling but could not get an answer. That’s why she asked me. I paused for a moment because I have not encountered the term before. Then she showed me a screenshot and I realised... continue reading

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Yours Sincerely,

Jason Khoo
Chief Trainer
everydayExcel Business Lab Pte Ltd
Author of "Hidden Secrets of Data Analysis with Excel" and 
"Excel Secrets for Highly Effective Marketers"


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