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Career Trends

The Economic Impact of the Coronavirus in Asia Pacific

By Han Kok Kwang
https://www.linkedin.com/in/hankokkwang/
Director, Personal Mastery Resources
1st Legacy Partner Lifetime Member, APCDA

From experience, Health Outbreaks like SARS (8,000 affected) and the coronavirus: COVID-19 (70,000+ affected to date) often trigger multilateral issues, involving economic, business, medical and personal concerns.

Governments in affected economies have been prompt in handling public information and announcements on what the public should (wash hands often, monitor health, wear a mask when unwell, etc.) and should not do (panic) amid a health scare. Though it is still evolving, economies are already hurting from this Outbreak.

Though the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s experience with SARS 18 years ago tells us that the Asia-Pacific has the wherewithal to cope with such events, it is a different ballgame today. China accounts for 21.4 percent of world GDP (in Purchasing Power Parity, as of end-2018) compared to around 4.5 percent during the SARS outbreak. What happens in China now has almost 5X the impact on the world, compared to the days of SARS.

Being the de facto Factory of the World, China is a key link for many international supply chains. With increased interconnectedness of the global economy, the impact is amplified many times. Prior to COVID-19, US’s trade war with China has already disrupted the region. Now it’s gotten worse. Lower Chinese import demand is a key reason for the slowing growth in virtually the whole region.

Asia-Pacific currencies also tumble under the weight of coronavirus, with Australia and Thailand the worst hit on concern over Chinese demand for minerals and tourism. Christy Tan, Asia head of markets strategy and research at Melbourne-based banking group NAB, said “From a trade war to a war against a virus. It’s a shock to financial markets, to the global growth situation.”

China’s 168 million citizen-tourists in 2019 was also a major revenue source for tourism sectors of many countries.  There is already an observed decline in travel and tourism, including the APCDA Conference 2020 in India. The collateral damage on retail, hospitality receipts and transport sales are expected to reverberate around the world.

In the words of the Prime Minster of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong: "The impact will be significant at least in the next couple of quarters. It is a very intense outbreak. I can't say whether we will have a recession or not. It's possible, but definitely our economy will take a hit. Business at the renowned Changi Airport had suffered with flights down by a third.”

In summary, it’s going to be a long night.

The good news? There’ll be a morning after.

Economies will bounce back, like they always do.

Key lesson learnt?

This Outbreak will not be the last.  Fear is a natural human emotion. But we cannot be paralyzed by fear, which is False Evidence Appearing Real. When in doubt, always look for objective evidence.

While COVID-19 has dominated the media, that vigilance should be balanced with the understanding that influenza is more prevalent and much more likely to impact Americans, says Libby Richards, an associate professor of nursing in Purdue University’s School of Nursing.

The surveillance report for the week ending February 1, 2020, shows flu activity increased in many reporting areas in the US. The report also shows 22 million Americans have suffered from the flu, and that 12,000 adults and 78 children have died during this flu season, which began in October 2019. This shows that economies also have local concerns, in addition to the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Life must go on. As progressive Career Practitioners, we must be ready when the Sun shines again. We are the talent scouts and keepers of the faith. Yes, take all the necessary precautions we need but downtime is the best time for us to dig in, do the work and get ready for the upturn.

Embrace digital wholeheartedly. Leverage Artificial Intelligence to enhance our offerings. Learn how to provide career services even when we cannot do it face to face. Doing so will stand us in good stead because contactless career guidance will figure prominently in the Future of Work, with or without an Outbreak.😊


Career Adaptability:

An Essential Construct for Career Development Practice

Catherine Hughes. PhD
Grow Careers,
Australia

It is generally accepted that individuals need to be adaptable to succeed in the contemporary world of work characterized by changing skills requirements, short-term contract work, less secure work arrangements, technological change and more. The concept of career adaptability has featured prominently in the career development literature in recent years. But where did this concept come from? What is career adaptability? How can career practitioners apply career adaptability to support their clients?

Origins of Career Adaptability

Career adaptability first appeared in the career development literature when the usefulness of career maturity for adult career development was questioned. Career maturity refers to career choice readiness and methods of coping with age-appropriate vocational development tasks (Super, 1990). Adaptation to vocational development tasks rather than maturation was considered to be the central process of adult career development (Super & Knasel, 1981). Adaptation accounts more adequately than maturation for the recycling through life stages and revisiting vocational development tasks that adults do when they are faced with expected or unexpected career transitions at varying times throughout their working life. This prompted Super (1983) to reserve career maturity for adolescent career development and recommend career adaptability as the corresponding term for adult career development. In more recent times questions were raised about the relevance of career maturity in diverse and multicultural contexts where contextual factors may influence the timing and nature of the vocational development tasks that adolescents face (Watson, 2008). Concerns such as this resulted in career adaptability being generalized across the life-span as the central career development process for children, adolescents and adults (Savickas, 1997).

Career Adaptability Now

Over the last decade career adaptability has been explained in career construction theory (Savickas, 2013) and has been widely researched (Johnston, 2018 ). Career construction theory proposes that the adaptation that is required to fit oneself to a new environment or changing context results from a sequence of:

  1. Adaptivity, or readiness to meet vocational development tasks, transitions and work traumas
  2. Adaptability, or internal resources to cope with vocational development tasks, transitions and traumas
  3. Adapting, or behavioral responses to vocational development tasks, transitions and traumas.
Savickas (2013, p. 157) noted that “People are more or less prepared to change, differ in their resources to manage change, demonstrate more or less change when change is needed, and as a result, become more or less integrated into life roles over time.”

In career construction theory, career adaptability is one element of adaptation. More specifically, Savickas and Porfeli (2012, p. 662) define career adaptability as “… a psychosocial construct that denotes an individual’s readiness and resources for coping with current and anticipated tasks, transitions, and traumas in their occupational roles …” Career adaptability is comprised of four dimensions, or career adapt-ability resources (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012):

  1. Concern about one’s vocational future and preparing for what lies ahead.
  2. Control by taking responsibility and a conscientious, deliberate and decisive approach to dealing with vocational development tasks, career transitions and work traumas.
  3. Curiosity by engaging in exploratory and information-seeking experiences to try out possible selves and future work scenarios.
  4. Confidence in one’s ability to prepare and execute action plans to implement one’s career aspirations.

In essence, people who show concern about their vocational future, who believe they have some control over it and are deliberate and decisive in dealing with vocational development tasks, transitions and work traumas, who are curious about possible future selves and work scenarios and who feel confident about their capacity to implement their goals possess the internal coping resources to respond with fitting behaviors to new or changed career circumstances.

“Increasing a person’s career adaptability resources, or career adapt-abilities is a central goal in career education and counseling” (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012, p. 663). Accordingly, career adaptability is a construct of great importance to the everyday work of career practitioners.

Applying Career Adaptability

The Career Adapt-Abilties Scale (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012) was developed in collaboration with researchers from 13 different countries. This instrument is freely available from www.vocopher.com. The Career Adapt-Abilties Scale is comprised of 24 items and yields a total career adapt-abilities score. The first six items relate to the Concern Dimension, the next six items relate to the Control Dimension, the next six relate to the Curiosity Dimension and the final six items relate to the Confidence Dimension. This means that scores for each career adaptability dimension can be calculated to more precisely identify student or client career adaptability strengths and career adaptability resources that need further development.

The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale can be used to support career interventions in one-to-one career counseling, group career counseling, career education workshops or career classes. For example:

  1. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale could be used to assess the effectiveness of one-to-one career counseling or group career interventions such as career classes, workshops or group career counseling. It could be administered as a pre-test instrument to assess student or client career adapt-ability resources, design relevant career interventions and administer as a post-test measure to assess the effectiveness of the career interventions in improving student or client career adapt-ability resources.
  2. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale could be used as a readiness screening instrument to assist in determining a suitable level of career service delivery for students or clients (Hughes, 2017; Sampson, Reardon, Peterson, & Lenz, 2004).
  3. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale could be administered prior to a one-to-one career counselling program in a school context. Student responses to the Career Adapt-Abilties scale could be a discussion starter in a career interview.
  4. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale could be used as stimulus for career education lessons. Students could identify their own career adapt-ability resource strengths and those needing further development and design their own career learning contract. Alternatively, career adaptability profile case studies could be developed for small group discussion in a classroom setting.

In summary, career adaptability is a career development construct that is associated with career construction theory. It is highly relevant to the day-to-day work of career practitioners. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale is freely available and can be used in a variety of ways to assess and enhance student or client career adaptability and their capacity to respond appropriately to vocational development tasks, career transitions and work traumas throughout life.

References

Hughes, C. (2017). Careers work in schools: cost-effective career services. Samford Valley, Queensland, Australia: Australian Academic Press Group.

Johnston, C. S. (2018). A systematic review of the career adaptability literature and future outlook. Journal of Career Assessment, 26, 3-30. DOI; 10.1177/1069072716679921.

Sampson, J. P., Reardon, R. C., Peterson, G. W. & Lenz, J. G. (2004). Career counseling & services: A cognitive information processing approach. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole – Thompson Learning.

Savickas, M. L. (1997). Career adaptability: An integrative construct for life-span, life-space theory. The Career Development Quarterly, 45, 247-259.

Savickas, M. L. (2013). Career construction theory and practice. In S. B. Brown & R.W. Lent (2013). Career development and counseling: Putting theory and research to work (2nd ed., pp. 147-183). Hoboken: NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Savickas & Porfeli (2012). Career Adapt-Abilities Inventory: Construction, reliability, and measurement equivalence across 13 countries. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80, 661-673. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2012.01.011

Super, D. E. (1983). Assessment in career guidance: Toward truly developmental counseling. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 61, 555-562.

Super, D. E. (1990). A life-span, life-space approach to career development. In D. Brown and L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development: Applying contemporary theories to practice (2nd ed., pp. 197-261).  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Super, D. E. & Knasel, E. G. (1981). Career development in adulthood: Some theoretical problems. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 9, 194-201.

Watson, M. B., (2008). Career maturity assessment in an international context. In J. Athanasou & R. van Estbroeck. International handbook of career guidance (pp. 511-523). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer-Science.

Career Adapt-Abilities Scale

By Shelley Tien

According to Mark Savickas and Erik Porfeli (Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80-3, 2012), “Researchers from 13 countries collaborated in constructing a psychometric scale to measure career adaptability. Based on four pilot tests, a research version of the proposed scale consisting of 55 items was field tested in 13 countries. The resulting Career Adapt-Abilities Scale (CAAS) consists of four scales, each with six items. The four scales measure concern, control, curiosity, and confidence as psychosocial resources for managing occupational transitions, developmental tasks, and work traumas.”  The CAAS is available free in English on Vocpher.com (http://vocopher.com/CareerTests.cfm).

I participated in this study, conducting my research in Taiwan and Macau.  There are now versions translated in many different languages in different countries. For Chinese, there are three versions:  China (Ho), Taiwan (Tien, available at http://web.ntnu.edu.tw/~lantien/journals/The_Career_Adapt-Abilities_Scale-_The_Psychometric_Characteristics_and_Construct_Validity_of_the_Taiwan_Form.pdf), and in Macao (Tien, et.al available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260044423_The_Career_Adapt-Abilities_Scale_in_Macau_Psychometric_Characteristics_and_Construct_Validity).

The Career Adapt-Ability Scale has 24 items which assess four subscales: Concern, Control, Confidence, and Curiosity. Another subscale, Cooperation, also with 6 items developed by Savickas, was deleted in the world-wide version because the results for this scale were not distinct from the other four subscales. I think the idea of Cooperation is important in Chinese collective culture. One day in Shanghai Normal University, I met Dr. Fred Leong and shared this idea. He totally agreed and we then did a cross country analysis based in the five scales, cooperation included. The results indicated that the five-scale version was also supported. The paper was published in the Journal of Career Assessment.

Many master’s level research theses were conducted in Taiwan based on the CAAS. Most of them describe factors related to using the CAAS. For example, one studied the relationship among career self-efficacy, career adaptability, and work adjustment for adult workers in Taiwan (Chinese version with English abstract is available at http://agc.ncue.edu.tw/text37.1-2).  Another study proposed to explore the relationship among career calling, career adaptability, and career satisfaction of teachers with different demographic backgrounds. This study used a set of inventories which measure each of these factors separately. The model proposed that there is a causal relationship among career calling, career adaptability, and career satisfaction.  A causal relationship was confirmed by the data, among other interesting findings.  These results were published in the newsletter of the Taiwan Career Development and Consultation Association, in Chinese (http://www.tcdca.org/?p=3027).  Contact me at Research@AsiaPacificCDA.org if want to know more about these or other findings.


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