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Review of the Post-Pandemic Labor Market Panel Webinar

The first panelist was Mr. Rahul Nair, Co-Founder and Chief Lifologist, who is responsible for the Lifology software and assessments, as well as training Lifologists (career coaches). He pointed out how much has changed in India during the pandemic: 

Before COVID

Current Labor Market


6.1% growth (2018), 4.2% (2019)

0.2 – 0.8 (estimate)

Exports & International Trade


Closed, Essentials only

Growing Industries

Sports. Entertainment, eCommerce, and Manufacturing

eCommerce, Agriculture

Emerging Technologies

Education, Banking, eCommerce

Medical/Heath Care, Education, Communications Technologies, and eCommerce

Our regional meetings predict an increase in the number of people who work from home in the future.  Mr. Nair noted that, in India, working from home has led to a productivity decrease due to multigenerational homes with traditional family roles.  Indian companies are now looking for “Work near home” arrangements.  Employers are seeking low-cost office space for clusters of employees who live near each other so employees can separate home and work and have a good Internet connection.

Mr. Nair also shared a tantalizing list of Emerging Careers which you can see by watching the recorded webinar.

Dr. Hao Zhang, a Professor of Labor Relations at Renmin University in Beijing, described two relevant structures in the Informal Sector in China.  The Informal Sector is helping to provide stability in the labor market in China because the large employers in the Formal Sector have been deeply hurt by the pandemic.  As in most countries, companies such as Uber and Air B&B have connected informal, temporary workers to customers, create the “Gig Economy.” 78 Million Chinese workers are now believed to be informal, temporary workers.

A new, different kind of temporary worker has emerged in China during the pandemic.  Like most countries, parts of the economy that are heavily impacted by the pandemic can no longer pay their employees.  Yet other parts of the economy need workers.  If the employer can find temporary work for its own employees, then the closed business and the laid-off workers are both happy.  For example, many restaurants are closed, but grocery stores need extra stock clerks to keep the shelves filled.  If the restaurant can “share” its workers with a local grocery, the employees earn a living, but still expect to return to their former jobs post-pandemic. 

Dr. Fei Yu, Deputy Representative in the North American Office of the Asian Development Bank, offered many important insights into the nature of the labor market in Asia.  One of several important concepts that she mentioned is the concept of Global Blockchain.  The global blockchain technology industry is currently valued at 3 million USD but growing rapidly.  This technology allows information about products (source, purity, harvest conditions, etc.) to be related to the product no matter where it ends up and which currencies were used to price it.  Global suppliers and shippers need this technology to trace transactions to avoid the confusion related to currency conversion, government regulations, agreements between parties, etc.  For example, assume you are purchasing thousands of facemasks and comparing prices, quality, size, on-time reputation of manufacturer, etc. in India, China, Malaysia, etc. The number of variables could be overwhelming.  It would be convenient to see all of the specifications for each facemask in your own local currency, local system of measurement, etc. on a single list on a computer screen.  Of course, Blockchain is much more, but that is part of what it can do.  It also makes it possible to compare productivity, labor costs, etc. in the many countries in our region.

This is only a tiny glimpse of the topics covered in this fast-moving webinar.  The webinar was recorded and is free to members.  Non-members pay a small fee to watch it.  Click here to view the recorded webinar.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19
Global Employment Effects, Part 13

By Yoshinobu Ooi

The following article, written by our APCDA Country/Area Council representative for Japan, Yoshinobu Ooi, represents the thirteenth instalment (and Mr. Ooi’s second submission—see Part 6) for an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Mr. Ooi lives in Tokyo.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to change how we go about our daily lives. However, I am reminded of Martin Luther's following words . . .

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,
I would still plant my apple tree.”

And even while COVID-19 has impacted job search activities, it has not eliminated them here in Japan (or elsewhere around the globe from what I read in our APCDA weekly NEWS and other publications). Continuing to keep in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair), this article submission focuses on job hunting and reports on the NEW normal for corporate hiring in Japan without indicating organization or individual names.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Employment in Japan

In Japan, employment usually refers to an implicit employment contract in which a company hires in April after a student graduates from school in March. The contract or employment continues without interruption until retirement age. Some terms and phrases that have shaped employment in Japan follow. They are meant to ensure safety, teamwork, alignment, improvement and medium- to long-term organizational success. Before a student graduates and is hired by a company, a student typically conducted job hunting while attending school and selected a company offer from receiving several.

A Japanese company imposes some steps for student applicants to help with narrowing down those students are recruited and receive an offer. These steps or activities for students to find employment in a company are defined as SYU-KATSU (SYUsyoku-KATSUdou). The abbreviated form of the term is very familiar to young people.

Focusing on job hunting activities within universities and professional schools, school supporters, who supported job hunting activities, and recruiting staff from corporations, were interviewed and the changes to this process that have taken place as a result of COVID-19 are shared following the typical hiring process.

Major patterns of recruitment in Japan

Pre-COVID, SYU-KATSU typically began with the submission of an applicant entry sheet, continued with several interviews and included one written test. Throughout the several interviews, there are a number of steps. What the steps include as well as the exact number is dependent upon the hiring company. Some companies decide twice. Others decide more. However, all company interviews end with an officer interview.

COVID-19’s impact

As shared in previous installments for this series from Japan, the COVID-19 state of emergency was officially announced in early April, but it was after mid-March that the governors of major cities in Japan, such as Tokyo and Osaka, requested citizens refrain from going out. This request affected our country’s 2020 employees who were beginning their implicit April employment contracts. Most affected were new employees and naturally, the corporate recruiters and trainers. Next affected were the students engaged in job hunting for 2021 and the school job hunting supporters.

Japan’s 2020 employees, beginning their April contracts, were unable to meet in person with their fellow new hires for their new company’s Entrance Ceremony event and for the beginning face-to-face team building exercises and activities. Their trainers had to quickly devise online experiences that tried to mimic their usually provided experiential training sessions but turned out to be poor substitutes. Virtual training without hands-on practice left new hires feeling less connected to their teammates as well as less connected to their new company.

Surprisingly and thankfully, though, few new 2020 hires experienced canceled hiring contracts. If a company’s business performance deteriorates in the near future, this may change for the next fiscal year. SYU-Katsu for joining a company in April 2021 already has been delayed.

Students seeking, now delayed, April 2021 hiring offers do have some time and money advantages compared to their pre-COVID predecessors. In the past, students have had wait until after their daytime classes to take evening transportation to company interview sites. Upon arrival, they would spend the night, take a few hours for next day, job search activities and return using evening transportation to report back to school the following day. COVID-19 caused job search interviews to become virtual, online ones. Currently, three days and tens of thousands of Japanese Yen is being eliminated. April 2021 job seeking students are now interviewing with more than one company in a single day from the comfort of their homes.

Recruiters for April 2021 are somewhat floundering. As previously stated in this article, the type and number of future employment opportunities is based upon business performance. In the wake of COVID-19, the impact on business performance, let alone business strategy, is unclear. In fact, many companies have not gotten around to SYU-Katsu. Those that began the hiring process, though, have experienced an increase in the number of applicant entry sheets and beginning interviews. Additionally, they have saved money by not being able to visit schools in person to talk with student for briefing sessions. Online discussions with students have cut company costs.

School job search supporters join students and recruiters seeking April 2021 employment opportunities in the following statement summarizing these unprecedented times. “Due to the influence of COVID-19, the advantages and disadvantages of time and place for job hunting became smaller. In addition, there is more opportunity to think deeply about self in relation to selecting the ‘best for self’ company offer and to think strategically about company needs in submitting offers to candidates who are the best fit for the company.”

Personally, I predict that SYU-KATSU will continue online for the most part and also will include some face to face experiences so students can get a feel for the atmosphere of the company and its corporate culture.

Yoshinobu Ooi is a Freelance Career Counselor and Management Consultant. After obtaining a master's degree in electronic information engineering, he worked for more than 20 years at a Global telecommunications & Cloud service company in Japan. In time, he was assigned to the Human Resources Department and became responsible for new employee training. Mr. Ooi has since obtained his CDA qualification and completed the MBA course at Globis University. He now supports a wide range of career development for university students and corporate employees. He is also a JCDA member.

APCDA Regional Meeting Summary

May – June 2020

by Dr. Marilyn Maze

Changes in our Lives

The Regional Meetings began mid-May and ended mid-June of 2020.  During that period there were noticeable changes in pandemic coping skills.  At the beginning, the changes caused by the pandemic caused anxiety and discomfort for many of the participants, while by the end of this time many people had settled into the new routines and were much calmer, especially in countries such as Taiwan and Japan which responded quickly and are now feeling that the pandemic is under control. 

Many participants talked about the choices of their own government and our powerlessness in the face of these choices.  Career practitioners are often encouraged to use Systems Thinking to help clients face their problems.  Given this training, we can easily see that some governments have been better at systems thinking than others.  The pandemic has provided a simple score card (number of COVID-19 cases and number of deaths caused by COVID-19) which shows the world how well each national government has implemented this important skill.

Many countries throughout the region experienced “lockdown” – government controls that forcefully restricted movement.  Others experienced “stay-at-home orders” – a less authoritarian approach that intends to achieve the same goal.  All experienced a loss of movement, isolation from family and friends, and a sense that everything has changed.  However, each area or city has its own rules, so a significant amount of time is spent figuring out which rules apply, and the rules are constantly changing.  Due to the severity and suffering COVID causes and the numbers of deaths, fear was a natural part of the emotions mentioned.  Especially in India, people mentioned fear that a cure would not be found, and these changes will be permanent.  There was also fear that certain segments of the population would ignore precautions and spread the disease.

Primarily in the US, a few of our members expressed grief at loss for loved ones to COVID. It is possible that people dealing with the loss of a loved one to COVID chose not to attend the regional meetings, but very few of us reported being personally touched by COVID during the time these meetings were held.

Changes in Society

There has been an increased focus on wellbeing and staying connected to one another. Some communities responded by helping each other.  In China, large numbers of volunteers mobilized to help those trapped by the lockdown who were without food, medicine, or other things they needed. The focus in Scotland was on providing support for those most at risk, such as young people in the social care system and the elderly.

People focused on what really matters. Examples included taking more time to spend with family and growing their own food. Values are important to make hard decisions at times such as these.  The pandemic increased the quest for personal wealth, not just material wealth. Mr. Allan Gatenby in Australia recommended that career practitioners respond to this change by focusing on Life Design, not just jobs.

The Internet has become an essential service because it is necessary to keep us connected to the world and to each other.  India, the Middle East, and North America discussed the increasing visibility of the wealth gap between rich and poor.  These regions and others discussed the Urban/Rural divide. In Sri Lanka, rural communities are left out – they do not have internet. In India, many people in remote areas do not have Internet service.  In Canada and Australia the vast distances between people make Internet service very costly, and the government has been asked to take on the responsibility of providing Internet service to all.

India reported the rise in problems faced when we are on the Internet.  It is difficult to find accurate information online, with fake news becoming increasingly common. We allow our data to be shared every time we download an App.  Most people are not conscious of how much they allow to be shared. Security/privacy is a huge problem and is growing. Having older children at home highlights Internet use tensions.  China reported that young adults want technology, adventure, and modernization, highlighting the generational divide.  North America reported that older people are being forced to learn computer skills and agism is increasing because COVID is so much more deadly for older people, forcing them to self-isolate.

Changes in our Work

Working from home is the new normal among our members.  If home is small and shared with several others, boundary issues occur.  Online meetings often violate rules about work time and family time.  In additional to the lack of down time for the individual, the family can be disrupted as we attempt to plan meals around the many online meetings.  Setting limits in this new normal is very difficult.

Some of us have spent less time “working” recently and eagerly used this free time to learn new skills, reinvigorate and reimagine the future.  Singapore invented a new term for this: “Time banking” – putting time into learning new skills to improve earning opportunities later. Others of us suffered from the stress cause by fear and disruption, and spent the extra time trying to cope.  And yet others found their lives much busier, especially mothers of young children when schools closed.  Many of us have worked harder during the pandemic, trying to learn new technologies so we can deliver the services our clients need.  Now that the familiar methods of providing professional services to others, such as classes and face-to-face meetings, have been disrupted, we need to deliver these services online and we struggle with the technology, or struggle to get access to the Internet and the technology, so we can deliver our usual services.  Of course, our clients are also stressed by the pandemic, so they now have additional mental health needs, and we needed to learn new skills to meet their needs online instead of face-to-face.

These issues were echoed in almost every regional meeting.  For example, how does one build rapport on Zoom? When clients only have phones to communicate, can we meet their emotional needs as well?  Which online platform is best for courses? For client meetings? For privacy? If we are feeling isolated, are our clients/students feeling even more isolated?  How can we set up opportunities that help them feel less isolated? If we want to see a client while interacting online and the client is not dressed, will we scare the client away? The number of available webinars has increased dramatically – how do we choose the ones worth our time?

Given the stresses caused by the pandemic, clients need help with mental health issues.  Common concerns include isolation, hopelessness, fear, disrupted future plans, feeling trapped, and many other issues.  It is very important to validate their feelings and normalize their situation.  Counselors have an important role in helping to improve mental health and a sense of well-being.

One subtle tip was offered by Dr. Brian Hutchison. Instead of asking “How are you?” he asks, “How are you today?”  This tiny change causes the question to be less routine, making it seem more sincere to the client.  It also helps the client focus on the present.  Keeping clients in the present and planning only what can be accomplished that day can help them feel better and more “in control” of their lives.

Most of us enjoyed connecting online during this period of social distancing. We valued the contact with professionals in this broad region and hope to continue the contact.

Increased Need for Career Assistance

Career practitioners are front-line workers. Most of our regions report that our skills are in high demand at this time.  CDAA (Career Development Association of Australia) has just released a policy document called COVID-19: Reshaping Working Australia.  The issues created by the pandemic make career services more visible and increase the importance of career development.  In countries that have begun to open up, more people are seeking career services.  We must develop specific strategies for dealing with four kinds of workers which all regions have right now:

  1. Workers who must be in the workplace
  2. Those who can work remotely
  3. Those who will be laid off soon
  4. Displaced workers

Clearly, each of these types of workers face different stresses, and all need help dealing with those stresses.

Elisabeth Montgomery, who advises the Nanshan School District in southern China, points out that, while children are at home, career counselors can help parents close the generation gap.  Career practitioners can help youth choose an occupation, then help parents understand how that occupation can lead to income to support the lifestyle of their child.

Changes in the Labor Market

Most regions have divided jobs into Essential Workers and others.  Essential workers include medical care staff, grocery store staff, public services (such as garbage collectors), bank staff, etc.  New jobs are being created in this category, such as Contact Tracers.  There are occupations with job openings now, included road paving workers and data catalogers.  Canada has noticed a problem with people who are unwilling to go back to work, claiming stress related to the risk of becoming ill.  US Vocational Psychologist Dr. David Blustein points out that many Essential Workers have “precarious jobs” (temporary positions that provide no benefits such as health care and unemployment insurance, also called marginalized workers).  They are essential to our wellbeing, but we do not take care of them when they are laid off or cannot work because they are sick.  These people are forced to work to survive, in spite of the risk of infection. 

On the other hand, those who are non-essential may still be working, but they are not receiving salary increases and may have seen their income decrease.  Non-essential offices are being dissolved, according to many of our regions.  Unemployment anxiety is increasing.

Working from home is generally available to those educated people who are not required to actually meet the public (who can meet business contacts online instead of face-to-face), and many of these workers already had the technology needed to work at home.  India reports that managers in organizations are missing the face-to-face contact with employees.  They believe a lot has been lost when working remotely. It is hard to assess skills and identify those who are ready for promotion.  Of course, this presents a new opportunity for start-ups, who are eagerly selling tools for assessing remote employee productivity.  Japan reported issues related to home/work boundaries.  When at home, we expect to dress more casually and not wear makeup – but some jobs require a formal appearance while working online, even when the worker is at home.  These boundary issues arise when home and work are in the same location.

While working at home during the pandemic, many regions commented on the impact on women of having young children at home.  Often, women are taking on extra childcare duties, leading women to question their ability to spend sufficient time working. Women most often accept the responsibility for the children during working hours.  In some regions, the woman’s responsibility for the children is unquestioned.  In other regions, couples compare their earning potential and ask the lower-paid spouse to take on this responsibility.  Yet other regions report that spouses negotiate various times of day when each will take their turn responding to the children.

Global Recession

The global recession caused by the pandemic has hit many families as income reduction, decreasing stability and increasing anxiety about the future. Unemployment is widespread.  According to Dr. Brian Schwartz in China, 150 million small business owners employ 70% of the workers in China, and they are having trouble surviving right now.  175 Million migrant workers have been laid off.  They do not want to return home because there are no jobs back home.  8.7 Million college students graduated in May, plus many millions more students graduated high school or vocational school.  The government has created temporary jobs for youth up to 30.  Many are returning to school to get access to better jobs when the recession ends.

The situation in Canada seems similar.  According to Mr. Scott Fisher in Canada, at-risk populations have a basic income guaranteed.  Canada has a blend of state and federal powers which attempt to solve the unemployment problems.  Canada provides stipends for people who just graduated, so they can perform community service work in their field of study and the federal government pays their salary. However, the petroleum economy is very important in large parts of Canada and the low prices for oil are affecting the ability of the Canadian government to help unemployed workers.

In Switzerland, the scramble to adapt to the new employment reality is forcing many to make quick decisions about how to find employment, decisions that might not appear to be good decisions later. Employers, on the other hand, are frozen by the need to take all stakeholders into account when the situation is so fluid and uncertain.

Most regions echo these concerns.  The economy is down, unemployment is rising, and companies are not hiring.  Many small businesses are closing permanently.

Improvements Resulting from the Pandemic

Some positive changes were reported.  Many people in India, the Philippines, and North America are happy about reclaiming the time they formerly spent commuting.  They love the flexibility to work for companies located anywhere.  Workers who formerly had grueling commutes may be willing to put in more hours while working at home. Now that employers have, by necessity, learned how to supervise employees at a distance, businesses are eager to take advantage of the cost savings and make permanent the practice of working from home for those who are performing well in this mode.  Businesses in Japan, which is beginning to open up, are looking for smaller office spaces because they expect more of the workforce to work from home.  Many participants pointed out that this change is better for introverts than extroverts.

Online meetings have currently replaced face-to-face meetings. While the number of face-to-face meetings will certainly increase when it is again safe to be face-to-face, it is likely online meetings will continue.  Previously, in Japan most business meetings were conducted in person to show respect.  Now, online meetings are accepted as just as good.  Businesses have now set up the technology to hold hybrid meetings (groups of people face-to-face in multiple locations, meeting together). The savings to businesses in time and expense formerly spent traveling to meetings is obvious, and it is unlikely businesses will give up these savings.  The travel industry has good reason to fear these changes.

Currently, our services must be delivered either online or by phone. Australia reports that, with obvious advantages for both client and practitioner, online is now becoming the preferred delivery mode. Online delivery of career services allows a career practitioner to serve the whole country. Online skills are subtly different.  For example, Ms Poh Li Lau in Malaysia pointed out that better eye contact is achieved when you look at the camera instead of looking at the person in video. Mr. Han Kok Kwang in Singapore recommended that we develop the ability to exude warmth and enthusiasm through video.  Career practitioners are finding that they can detect emotions, even when using a phone, but certainly online.

In Japan, people are going back to work, but continuing to avoid the 3C’s: closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact.  Companies are struggling to adjust to the 3C’s, so it is too soon to know what they will decide after they have successfully adapted.  India reports that 85% of businesses now accept a phone interview.  Companies in Singapore are considering offering outplacement packages to displaced workers.

Many regions hope their government will help the industries that have been hurt the most.  This could include vocational training, especially for low-skilled service workers.  In Pakistan, leading International development organizations are conducting capacity building webinars via online platforms to encourage their business partners to support business continuity. In Australia, CDAA is pressing the government for funding to increase access to career services, increase digital inclusion, improve career information, reduce insecure work, support unemployed workers, support services for mental health, and reshape working Australia through upskilling and reskilling. In Singapore, the government has committed to creating 100,000 opportunities which are short-term in nature and the government and unions are working together to save jobs.

Impact on the Education Industry

The education industry was suddenly required to fully shift to online education and was not prepared.  Many of our members work in this industry, so have a close-up understanding of the issues. 

Elementary and middle school students are finding online learning very difficult.  Sitting for so much time in front of screens is hard for young children and all students must proceed at the same pace. For school staff, pace of work has been intense. Teachers are forced to learn new skills as they develop lesson plans for online learning, which must be limited to 20 or 30 minutes.  Teachers are struggling to find techniques to make better use of the online technology. Children are seeking activities that are more fun and engaging. Guam reports that regulations about types of computer activities have been relaxed to allow more gaming and variety in online programming.  Parents are learning to appreciate teachers more.

Members in many regions expressed concern that online learning is stunting emotional development. Children cannot make friends outside of their family.  They need to interact socially with other children and to experience competition. But students with disabilities may be feeling better about online learning.  They can now get individual attention and there are no other students to make them feel embarrassed.  Hybrid learning (a mix of online and face-to-face) could be used to add social aspects back to the experience. 

Some parents in the Middle East and the US have decided to home-school their children to gain control over this situation.  Parents who make this choice need help understanding career terminology and career development concepts.

Those children without internet access are missing out and most regions are struggling with this social divide.  New Zealand has been providing support to get children online and is committed not to leave any child behind.  In all regions, children of low-income workers are least likely to have access to technology for online classes and parents are struggling to find childcare while they are at work.

Universities are changing rapidly.  Throughout all regions, courses have moved online.  Many regions report that students do not like the all-online mode and are eager to return to face-to-face courses as soon as possible.  They feel that teaching is now primarily one-way learning, from the teacher to the student.  Instructional media has developed techniques for remote teaching, but few professors know these techniques.  Those universities which have been online for many years have found ways to make the experience more interactive.  Professors need training to help them improve their online teaching skills and personalize the experience for different learning styles.  Some aspects of higher education are having difficulty transitioning to being all online, such as assessments, and test preparation services.  

However, there are some advantages to online instruction.  Software such as Google Classroom makes documenting and tracking student progress much easier.  In Europe, universities are reporting surges in people taking online courses in order to make the most of this difficult time and come out of the other side with new skills, knowledge and experience. Many specialty webinars, even webinars in career services, report high enrollment in India.  Turkey reports that online engagement has provided a chance to increase attendance for students and alumni participating in seminars/webinars and there are plans to continue online sessions even once back to campus studies. Manav Rachna IIRS, our intended host for the 2020 APCDA Conference, has been conducting all classes online, with a 24/7 helpline.  They are planning in the future to switch to hybrid mode and offer 60% face-to-face courses, with webinars and panel discussions online for the rest. Although students miss the human touch, they are seeing positives in online learning because online learning decreases commute time.

Universities which are fully online make it possible to learn from a distance.  Some smaller schools are concerned that students will choose larger, better known schools, now that distance is no longer an issue.  Students who prefer face-to-face learning may decide to skip a year.  Many universities right now are facing huge declines in registration and anticipating layoffs.  For many years, the US has seen numbers of smaller colleges closing their doors, but this process could accelerate now.  In the past, the value of an online degree was considered less than a face-to-face degree.  Now that so many students will receive online degrees, it appears these degrees are gaining respect.

Student engagement has moved online also, including counseling sessions, industry learning experiences, and meetings.  Generation Z students demand both high tech and high touch - they expect personal assistance in adapting to the all-online situation.  They need help with the fear and anxiety, as well as help building online support communities for themselves.  Students also need more training on soft skills and coping strategies to address the consequences of COVID-19.

In Europe, students are encouraged to refrain from physically entering companies where they have internships if they are concerned about their health and safety.  Most internships in the US are now unpaid.  The US has laws against asking students to work without pay, but right now, those laws are being ignored.  Increasingly, all regions are reporting “work from home” internship arrangements. 

Dr Raysen Cheung from Hong Kong likened the current recession to the one in 2008. Students who graduated at that time found that entry into career jobs was delayed. In China, youth are being offered government sponsored one-year jobs.  When the economy returns, they will move forward in their careers.  Europe reported that recruitment is almost frozen, with the exception of healthcare, pharmacy , grocery markets, and driving, especially temporary/part time drivers. In the Middle East, graduates are also having a hard time finding jobs.  Universities have organized virtual job fairs to address these issues.  Kazakh Academy of Labor and Social Relations (Kazakhstan) held a virtual Career Week with 15 companies via online sessions to help students to find career opportunities. Turkey also reported using local and international virtual career fairs.

Graduation ceremonies are also a source of anxiety for universities.  Most will be held online, but some universities have promised to hold a face-to-face ceremony when that is possible.

International Students have experienced special stress.  Isolated from families and far from home, they have needed extra help in building local support systems.  Many parts of our region report that families are rethinking international education for their children in the future.  Children may choose online learning abroad if there is a specialty not available locally, but why send their children away for years? A large survey in India reported that 44% said they would continue to seek an overseas education, in spite of the obstacles. India reports that many students planning to study abroad are now planning a gap year. Canada reported concern about the expected loss of wealth from international students and immigrants, which Canada views as a source of building national wealth.

Impact on other Industries

Certainly, technology was been the big winner during this pandemic.  Many technology and communications companies have reported record profits.  The Internet has become an essential service.  There will be increased demand for people specializing in operations and IT in Europe.  Within our field, consultants and private practitioners have invested in their own digital marketing presence and are using Social Media to place ads.  However, jobs in mechanical and civil engineering are not doing well during the pandemic.

Much medicine has transitioned to telemedicine.  India reports that consumers are now choosing doctors by reputation without regard to distance.  Medical data has moved online and is now more easily available for research but keeping it private is more difficult.  The public health sector is booming in most countries.  Many people formerly working in other industries, such as hospitality, have switched to medicine because of the increased demand. 

Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality have been severely depressed by the pandemic in all regions.  Borders remain closed in many countries and many businesses in this industry are going bankrupt. Some famous museums and sights have produced online tours. Airlines are flying, but with many fewer passengers and fewer flights.  Many related businesses, such as retail stores that catered to tourists are also facing financial difficulties.  Restaurants are in deep trouble, but Home Chef is a hot new occupation in India and the Middle East.

Entertainment and Sports industries have shifted to what can be done online. Online entertainment is booming with music, videos, and blogs showing amazing creativity.  Many people are turning a side-hustle into new careers and the arts are exploding. India reports that journalism is also at risk during the pandemic and people have stopped newspapers because they are accessing news online. Advertisement columns have decreased.

Fashion/textile/beauty Industries have been badly affected.  People are purchasing much less makeup and fewer fashionable clothes, with a new emphasis on comfort.  Making of masks (especially fashionable ones) has become a cottage industry in many places. 

Retail has plummeted, except those stores selling essential goods, but e-commence is booming and much of the shopping has switched to online.  In fact, a hot new occupation recommended by Mr. Dai Zhi Cheng in China is the Pitch to Market Host for online shoppers.  Several people in China are earning high incomes working for TV channels devoted to online shopping where they pitch products that they believe everyone needs and convince listeners to buy these products.  Delivery driver is reported to be a growing field in most regions.

In the broad Business area, there are several winners.  Banks are essential services.  In Japan, moving companies and relators are currently very busy moving people who can no longer afford large apartments or homes. In the Middle East, financial advising for businesses is hot because businesses need to cut costs and downsize.  Change Managers are needed to help businesses restructure and increase efficiency.  Australia reports a lot of start-ups, finding new niches and offering new services and recommends Small Business Advisor as a field that is in demand.  Financial Services are increasingly important and Asset Managers for businesses and wealthy individuals are in demand.  Data Protection services are in high demand.  Growing occupations in China include Venture Capitalist and Data Analyst.

Transportation has gone through incredible difficulty.  While essential goods need to be transported to markets, borders are closed and business rules are constantly changing.  The breakdown of the distribution system has forced rapid adaptation.  Logistics has been a hot field, as workers struggle to keep up with the changes and find new sources – often local sources because distant sources cannot be reached.  Western Australia reported one community that had enough fuel and water for only 30 days.  As sources become more local, renewable energy sources are now preferred over oil. 

Manufacturing has been hit hard by the changes in market demands and transportation issues.  Food is essential, but in the US, the huge agro-business industry was thrown into disarray.  Enormous amounts of food went to waste as their normal markets (restaurants) were closed and new ones (grocery stores) could not package the food for consumers rapidly enough.  Meat Processors became sick with COVID, and hogs were destroyed because the meat could not be processed.  Other parts of the world have experienced dramatic suffering as borders closed and demand shifted.  India reports great suffering for villagers who need to find new products to produce.  Supplies now need to be found locally, moving the world backwards in time to an earlier era.  Globalization has been reduced.  Manufacturers in Cambodia report that the prices they can charge for goods has declined, bringing hardship to countries with few resources.  Small factories are struggling to survive amid all of these changes. 

The Art of Forecasting

Some compared the pandemic to Uber or high-speed transportation in China, which both caused unexpected consequences in the labor market.  Dr. Brian Hutchison compared the pandemic to a Phase Shift in Chaos Theory.  It rolls through in waves and we lose many people and jobs that will never come back. Chaos Theory tells us that changes caused by a Phase Shift are not predictable. According to Philip Tetlock, author of Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, good forecasting involves gathering evidence from a variety of sources, thinking probabilistically, working in teams, keeping score, and being willing to admit error and change course.  Recognizing that this is a rapidly changing situation and there is a lot about COVID-19 that we still do not know, please consume the following predictions with caution. 

We have defined the future as a time when there is a vaccine for COVID-19 and we can again be together with others safely, without concern about contracting a lethal disease.  This time could arrive as early as January 2022 but could take much longer to arrive.  Some of our participants were uncertain that this outcome is realistic and there certainly could be many unforeseen twists and turns along the way.

It is difficult to give career advice when the future is so unclear. Career Practitioners need to know which jobs are emerging in the Asia Pacific region. We need to help workers stay resilient and be flexible in face of difficult times. Many displaced workers believe their jobs are never coming back, and they need help in understanding where to look for work that will sustain them into the future.

Social Change Forecasts

Several regions focused on social disparities which have been highlighted by the pandemic.  Yet other regions described ways governments have moved to take care of the neediest in society and made sure that everyone has a chance to survive and prosper.  The actions of governments will make enormous differences in outcomes within our regions. 

Many regions reported that the pandemic has forced people to think more deeply about the value of life and which characteristics they hope to have in their lives.  We forecast that more people will seek assistance from career professionals to help them think about these issues and choose lifestyles that are more satisfying, whether that means spending more time with family, growing their own food, learning new skills to qualify for more interesting work, retiring to a tropical island and living off of savings, or achieving other kinds of life goals. Learning to live with less income may be a related trend.

The positives and negatives of working remotely have been discussed above.  However, employers appear to be moving toward encouraging remote work where possible because their costs decrease when they no longer provide office space for workers. We forecast that adjusting to working remotely will continue to be an essential skill in the future and that many entrepreneurs will find ways to profit by facilitating working remotely.  Countries that make the infrastructure changes needed to encourage working remotely will prosper. Some of the new services may facilitate networking among remote workers, including career practitioners, and networking sites such as TikTok and Douyin are sure to continue growing.

As the Internet becomes widely available everywhere, we forecast a reverse migration away from big cities. India looks forward to more focus on making small villages and towns self-reliant. Careers have become more mobile and cross-border employment will increase. 

Several regions discussed the dangers of fake news, phishing and other scams, and loss of control over personal records.  As the Internet becomes an ever more essential aspect of life, we forecast that keeping ourselves safe in a digital environment will become ever more difficult.  We forecast that trust will become scarcer and more highly valued. Dr. Rich Feller mentioned the concept of Trust Communities, developing spaces where individuals feel safe and are able to try new things and grow. Participants predict that this trend will lead to more boutique businesses: small farms, small businesses, unique solutions on a small scale where establishing a reputation for being trustworthy adds value to the product. Large employers are hiring consultants to help them find ways to maintain/build trust, such as offering personal time off instead of vacation time.

Workplace/Labor Market Forecasts

One prediction seems certain.  Change will continue to accelerate.  The rapid adaptation required during the pandemic is a valuable skill that will serve us well.  Flexibility is also in high demand, including the ability to unlearn, upskilling, and be open to learning new things. Transitions and changes occur with increasing frequency and institutions of higher education will be enlisted to teach students more flexibility and skills for coping with transitions.

The structure of organizations is changing as people work virtually. Human resource professionals need to develop a model for assisting remote workers.  Working on remote teams requires new skills and HR will be looking for help in teaching these skills.  Transitions usually require HR assistance.  Workers and managers need assistance in being flexible. Talent development within a company is more challenging when workers are remote. HR is about to experience rapid changes, and career practitioners and psychologists may find our skills can be useful to this large market.  It is now recommended that managers need to act as coaches to the people they supervise.  Career practitioners have great coaching skills that we can share.

People have been forced to learn skills that we formerly described as “future skills.”  We now work and learn online.  This opens up the world to us.  There are no borders that can prevent learning or working remotely.  Of course, there will be losers in this new online world.  Out-sourcing from high-income countries to lower income countries is likely to increase.  Education and credentials can now be gained from anywhere without the expense of travel, so institutions for higher education are fearful of their future. But for those who enjoy expanding their horizons, the world is the limit and there is no need to leave home.

Australia believes that one skill, the ability to adapt, is the most important in this time.  According to CDAA’s COVID-19: Reshaping Working Australia, (May 2020), the work of career development professionals is, in part, directed to building people’s adaptability. Helping people to get their careers back on track will act like an insurance policy, giving people the ongoing career management skills to continue to make informed choices and decisions throughout their lives.

From other regions, we hear calls for additional skills:

  • Flexibility and agility
  • Self-marketing skills
  • Interviewing in front of a camera
  • Ability to state personal goals clearly
  • Appearing confident and resourceful
  • A positive attitude and hopefulness
  • Curiosity and exploring life bravely
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Mindfulness
  • Problem solving
  • Autonomous learner

In addition, building a strong support system, focusing on using available jobs to build skills rather than insisting on an ideal job, and building a reputation as a good worker are recommended to enhance career mobility.

The value of entrepreneurial skills is increasing.  During times of change such as this, opportunities for startups are prevalent, and people with entrepreneurial skills are in the position to take hold of a good idea and develop it.  Europe reports a growing desire in universities to teach these skills.  China continues to encourage entrepreneurs to solve the problems emerging during the pandemic.  Many regions are establishing “Small Business Incubators” – office space plus professionals with business expertise and essential business services to help small businesses get started.

We forecast that continuing education will continue to expand online for all professions. APCDA has long offered webinars, but now everyone is doing it. For the Sri Lanka Career Development Association, online sessions are expected to continue post-pandemic because it takes so much less time.  Further, micro-credentialing is growing in popularity.  These short-term training programs that lead to credentials are common in our field and, of course, increasingly available online.  Learning in a variety of fields in now more accessible.  We can choose webinars on Performing Arts or Kayaking as easily as in our own field.

Career practitioners have long believed that the ‘Gig Economy’ was expanding, but it seems to be accelerating during the pandemic due to the rapid increases in the technology sector and decreases in jobs in government and large corporations during the global recession.  Mr. Tu An Lim from Singapore expects recruitment to be increasingly skills-based, with evidence required for the skills the candidate claims to have.  Participants agree that job seekers need to focus on the value they can add to the company they hope to work for, rather than seeking an ideal job in these troubled times.

Some regions argued for focusing more on youth and others for increasing focus on adults of all ages, but we all agreed that the skills embraced by career practitioners are extremely valuable in this time of rapid change and can be used to provide services to individuals, organizations across all sectors, and nations.  As individuals face their mortality in this dangerous time, our work becomes more relevant and more urgent.

While we cannot claim to have followed all of Philip Tetlock’s prescription for good forecasting, we did use a team approach and we can return to this article in January 2022 to review these predictions and decide which ones were correct.  During our 13 Regional Discussions, we gathered a lot of information and the discussions were wide-ranging.  In fact, many of the conclusions were similar between regions, with a few unique ideas advanced in each region.  We are grateful to those who shared their wisdom with us, and hope that this shared wisdom will be helpful to all career practitioners in the Asia Pacific region.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19
Global Employment Effects, Part 12

By Catherine Hughes, PhD

The following article, written by our 2020 APCDA Outstanding Newsletter Contributor Award winner, Dr. Catherine Hughes, is part twelve of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current Global COVID-19 Pandemic. Dr. Hughes lives in West Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair), I wrote this article to support the work of our APCDA Career Practitioners who are supporting clients as they move through and beyond COVID-19.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Chaos Theory in Action

Among the propositions of Chaos Theory of Careers are that an individual’s career trajectory is complex, unpredictable, frequently influenced by chance and subject to non-linear change, such that small changes can have profound outcomes. COVID-19 is Chaos Theory of Careers (Pryor and Bright, 2011) in action. As is the case across all affected countries, COVID-19 has been devastating for millions of Australians who have lost their job or are seeking to enter the workforce. These are our clients.

Vision for employment beyond COVID-19

As Career Practitioners, our mission to support clients to negotiate their career in a changing and unpredictable world of work has been brought into sharp focus. Many Career Practitioners have adapted to new ways of working to deliver career services to support clients as they adapt to sudden job loss, reduced work hours, high levels of unemployment, severe economic downturn and uncertainty about where the jobs will be in the future. However, the non-linear change, chance and unpredictability referred to in Chaos Theory of Careers will remain beyond COVID-19. As Career Practitioners our vision is to support clients to prepare for and adapt to employment in a world of work yet to be imagined (Department of Education & Training, 2019).

This means that as we move through and beyond COVID-19, Career Practitioners must support clients to develop their career adaptability resources of concern, control, curiosity and confidence (Savickas, 2002) to prepare them to negotiate an unpredictable and changing employment environment. Further, Savickas (2012, p.14) recommends that Career Practitioners need to support their clients to “… let go of what they did, yet not who they are ...” as they move from one work assignment to the next, prompted by occupational transitions and work traumas (e.g., COVID-19). Savickas explained that holding onto self in the form of a life story provides coherence and continuity and highlights themes that clients can draw on to envision and act upon the next chapter in their career story. Facilitating story telling is our work.

What changes do you anticipate?

While holding onto our vision, Career Practitioners must support clients and deal with practical issues in the ‘here and now’, such as finding sustainable employment as they move through and beyond COVID-19. Speculation about possible changes to employment is difficult in a chaotic environment. Nevertheless, as the economy slowly opens up, many of the jobs lost to business downturn may be restored, although there is uncertainty as to how many will be restored. It is possible that some of the changes adopted by businesses as a result of COVID-19 may become a more permanent feature of Australian working life, e.g., more opportunities to work remotely, a greater number of online collaborations. Similarly, changes observed during COVID-19, such as an increase in online retail and stronger interest in locally produced goods may continue. Labor market statistics may reveal changes in employment by industry and employment by occupation profiles in Australia, including employment projections. One change that a number of commentators are predicting here is a further increase in unemployment as the Australian Government reduces the financial support it has provided to enable employers to retain staff during business downturn over the last few months. Skills and knowledge in locating labor market information such as this is one of the core competencies required by all Australian professional Career Practitioners.

What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?

Currently, the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment is providing a range of services on its websites to support workers who have been stood down or who have lost their jobs. It is vital that Career Practitioners keep up-to-date with these sources of labor market information and labor market preparation. For example, The Government’s Jobs Hub (, Labour Market Information Portal (, Job Jumpstart ( and Job Outlook ( websites are examples of resources that inform Career Practitioners and their clients of who is currently hiring in Australia, jobs advertised in all towns and cities throughout Australia over the last week, the skills needed for these jobs, tips on how to be flexible when looking for work, how skills gained in one role are transferable to other roles, and so on. In addition, there are daily news reports and economic analyses that Career Practitioners need to keep abreast of to support their clients. Career Practitioners also need to become aware of free online courses introduced as a result of COVID-19 that may enhance their client’s employment prospects.

Career Practitioners may need to build their clients’ capacity to apply the principles of Happenstance Learning Theory (Krumboltz, 2009). Supporting clients to plan exploratory actions they can take that may be beneficial to their career outcomes, such as networking with people (face-to-face or online), volunteering, making direct approaches to employers, enrolling in a free course, attending events and webinars, informational interviews, etc. Applying planned happenstance is a way that our clients may be able to gain employment via informal methods such as ‘word of mouth’, by letting people know they are looking for work or by upskilling.

What opportunities do you see?

The success of remote work, online team meetings, online classes and online career counseling in response to COVID-19 offers Career Practitioners the opportunity to extend the range of services they offer and the opportunity to reach clients from further afield; provided ethical standards of careers practice are maintained. Similarly, online and remote work may also be beneficial for some of our clients, such as clients who are balancing work and family commitments or clients who live in rural or regional areas.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

We are indeed living in chaotic times. Career Practitioners are tasked with helping clients prepare for a world of work yet to be imagined. We need to support clients to develop their adaptability resources, and revise their career story as they respond to changes in employment. At the same time, we need to keep up-to-date with evolving labor market information and support our clients through the practicalities of adapting quickly to a rapidly changing and difficult to predict employment environment. Although a challenging time for Career Practitioners, COVID-19 is also presenting us with new opportunities for how we deliver our career services.


Department of Employment & Training (2010). National Career Education Strategy. .

Krumboltz, J. D. (2009). The planned happenstance learning theory. Journal of Career Assessment, 17(2), 135-154. DOI: 1177/1069072708328861.

Pryor, R. & Bright, J. (2011). The chaos theory of careers: A new perspective on working in the twenty-first century. NY: Routledge.

Savickas, M. L. (2002). Career construction theory. In D. Brown (Ed.). Career choice and development (4th ed., pp. 149-205). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Savickas, M. L. (2012). Life Design: A paradigm for career intervention in the 21st century. Journal of Counseling and Development, 90, 13-19.

Savickas, M. L. (2012). Life Design: A paradigm for career intervention in the 21st century. Journal of Counseling and Development, 90, 13-19.

Dr Catherine Hughes has worked in the field of career education and career counseling for more than 30 years across a variety of settings including education, outplacement, vocational rehabilitation and private practice. She is the founder of the Grow Careers website for Australian school communities and author of books on careers work in schools and career development resources to support the work of school-based career practitioners. Catherine writes career development content to support the career development of high school students and teachers delivering career education content in her home state of Tasmania.

Currently, Catherine is a Sessional course Leader for the Graduate Certificate in Career Education and Development at RMIT University. She is the recent recipient of APCDA’s Outstanding Newsletter Contributor Award. Her educational background includes a doctorate in vocational psychology. Her careers work in schools and her research have been published in academic journals and career practitioner publications. She has been selected to present at national and international conferences. Catherine has mentored career practitioners and students completing post-graduate study in career development.

Moving through and beyond
COVID-19 Global Employment Effects, Part 11

By Kazuyo Ikeda

The following article, written by one of our NEW APCDA members, Kazuyo Ikeda, is part eleven of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current Global COVID-19 Pandemic. Ms. Ikeda lives in Shinjuku-ku, Japan.

Let me begin by adding my thanks to those recently expressed by the World Health Organization’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during his June 17th media briefing for the welcome news of positive initial results from the RECOVERY trial in the United Kingdom. During these unprecedented times, it is inspiring to experience global governments, hospitals, researchers, patients, families and communities continuing to work collaboratively and cooperatively. I very much believe, we here, through our APCDA membership, are part of the overall, global solidarity effort that will help overcome this COVID-19 pandemic. I also want to thank you, my fellow APCDA members, for the opportunity to share the unique way I have been coping with the current COVID-19 pandemic in my home country of Japan. Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair) my NEW Normal follows and includes intentionality.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Similar country, regional and global aftermath

In the aftermath of the Japanese government’s early April emergency declaration due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and early May lifting of the declaration, I, like so many of my fellow Japanese citizens, continue to deal with the pandemic’s many challenges. However, my active participation in APCDA and Japan Career Development Association (JCDA) activities as well as paying close and careful attention to local, regional and global print and digital media sources helped me realize that at this mid-June period of time, like other countries throughout the Asia Pacific region and around the globe, our country’s overall focus on restarting economic activities while maintaining community safety is not unique. It is being shared at the regional and global level, too. We truly are all in this together!

Even at the local level

I would like to share with you a recent local experience to demonstrate how individuals can participate in fostering economic support. Visiting my local salon to FINALLY cut my hair served to change my attitude from feeling powerless to feeling empowered. During my salon visit, I come face-to-face with how the pandemic adversely affected not only a business, but also many worker’s careers within the business.

In chatting with owner of the salon, I asked about one of his assistants who had worked with him for several years. I found that she not only left the salon, but also relocated back to her hometown. I heard how the salon was limping along with less clients due to a number of reasons: fear, distance, risk of train travel and some having compromised immune systems. The ongoing need for social distancing also was wreaking havoc with salon finances. The owner had to decrease the number of chairs in the salon and the number of client reservations at any one time. He also mentioned the time-consuming process that needed to take place after every hair cut which included wiping up the chair and other items a client typically touches with alcohol infused tissue. For these many revenue decreasing reasons, the salon assistants were paid less and the owner, himself, earned much less.

Practicing intentionality

After I hearing the salon owner’s story, I asked him how I can be more helpful and support the salon. We talked for a while and we agreed that I could make reservations at least one week prior to needing service. This would allow the owner time to better plan work schedules and salon/chair occupancy.

Since this salon experience, I continue to use intention. I ask questions and listen. Intention can make the  difference!

Kazuyo Ikeda is a certified career consultant and peer facilitator of Japan Career Development Association (JCDA). Joining JCDA in 2018, she currently is engaged in planning and managing training programs for career consultants. Most of her prior work experience was in the institutional business field at financial institutions including Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Kazuyo earned MSc in Industrial Relations from London School of Economics and Political Science. Her BA is in French Literature from Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan).

Moving through and beyond
COVID-19 Global Employment Effects, Part 10

By Vijay Keshaorao Paralkar

The following article, written by one of our U.S. APCDA members who has been “stuck” in his home country of India since early March, is part ten of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current Global CO-VID 19 Pandemic.

Let me begin by echoing my previous series writers’ heartfelt wishes for ongoing health and safety to each and every one of you within our APCDA family as we all continue to cope during this unprecedented time. I also want to extend a BIG thanks to my professors and supervisor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University. All were very kind and generous in extending my graduate assistantship support for one more semester (which is very unusual) and allowing me to defend my dissertation in October 2020. Lastly, I want to send love and thanks to my wife, who, like me, has been coping individually with this COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike me, she also has been managing new modes of teaching and learning in her recent faculty posting.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share the unique way I have been coping with the current COVID-19 pandemic in my home country of India. It takes a community to fight a pandemic. While we may be at arm's length and behind a mask, we are all answering the call, coming together to care for one another. Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair) my NEW Normal follows; beginning with the challenges that have affected both my work and my life.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

A Home Visit Becomes So Much More

I am writing this article from Nashik city located near Mumbai in Maharashtra state, India. Initially, I had made plans to visit India to attend our 2020 APCDA annual conference in Faridabad, New Delhi. Since India is my home country, I wanted to spend some additional time visiting and arrived from the U.S. in early March before our conference transitioned to a virtual one. Ever since the Coronavirus hit India, I have been stuck in its national lockdown.

In mid-June, I was supposed to defend my doctoral dissertation and graduate in August. Talk about stress. Thankfully with the support of my graduate school faculty, I was able to postpone my program for one more semester.

Since early March, my wife and I have been forced to stay apart. Since she was unable to join me on my trip to India, she has been living and working from home on her own in the U.S. This has been a testing time for our patience. However, we are trying to cope with the new reality and survive (not naturally flourish) through this time with the help of our mindfulness and meditative practice. We know that this is a temporary phase and that a better tomorrow is definitely waiting for us. We both believe in the learning lessons of Victor E. Frankle from Man’s Search for Meaning that life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even those, which are most miserable. This gives us a new hope and purpose for living our life together.

What career counselors and career aspirants can learn from the Covid-19 pandemic

Post COVID-19 pandemic, changes will continue to occur and the shift from a mostly, in-person work culture will continue to become some type of a virtual/in-person mix. These changes will bring new challenges and opportunities for career counselors and their clients. The one most prominent being availability and affordability of technologies and associated expertise at local level, which is currently lacking, within most Asian countries. A second being the rethinking of career needs and choices shifting from highly paid jobs at any place to time with families and meeting basic needs. This raises the question, “are we prepared for the changes?” or “how can we get ready to face these challenges?”

Accepting and adapting to these changes in work culture as a whole will not be easy nor comfortable for the following three reasons:

  1. Availability and affordability of technology and related expertise
    When it comes to use technology, both hardware and software, in most Asian countries, people experience limited data, lack of compatible systems, timely availability of maintenance resources and even, frequent power cuts that affects continuous and smooth working. Also, many organizations and individuals are not able to afford accessing and using the required technologies due to lack of financial resources. Lack of required expertise in order to create and ensure smooth working of the online systems is another challenge. For instance, if I want to get my website designed and operated, very limited expertise is locally available. The little that there is may not be affordable.
  2. Trust in the online systems in the situation of remotely working and fishing scams
    People, particularly those who are new to the use of technologies, often experience fraudulent activities and virus attacks which makes it difficult to develop trust in digital systems over the more conventional in-person model.
  3. Changing career needs in the post COVID-19 world of work
    Although, it’s not new for financial, social, emotional and cultural factors to influence many students to choose local schools instead of high ranked, but geographically distant, schools. Nor is it uncommon to change jobs or reject promotions based on the priorities of family and basic needs. I believe these types of career trends will increase in the post COVID-19 world of work. Therefore, career counselors and practitioners will need to learn new assessment and counseling skills and explore new approaches to meet the challenges these changes present.

Strategies to keep up with the changes

Coping with and adapting to change by learning new things and acquiring new skills requires training and practice. Simultaneously, time is also needed to self-reflect and rethink in terms of our career choices. Migration in search of work was a common phenomenon as people were not able to find (satisfactory) work at the local level. Now, Coronavirus has flipped it. At least in India, many migrants have already returned to their native places without having any possibilities for their jobs.

I talked to many of the migrants while they were, literally, walking hundreds and thousands of miles with their families and basic belongings to reach home. This was one of the most painful experiences in my life to listen to their worries and emotions. They were feeling completely helpless and unsupported at the places of their work. Their uncertainty was real. The treatment that they received from their own employers and the places where they were working could only be described as inhuman.

One migrant woman, holding her child near her chest with tears in her eyes, shared, “It was my mistake to leave our village to search for better paid jobs and better education for my children. But now I realized that people living in my local community are happy. Although they do not earn much, they have strong support for each other.” She further added, “I will never return again and would prefer to live in my village, no matter what job I have.” Her sentiments were eye opening for me. As a career practitioner, I know that work has more than one dimension. I also know that it does not only revolve around money. However, it took the current pandemic to for this migrant woman, and others like her, to learn this reality.

My research on wellness factors affecting international college students in the U.S. has resulted into the similar findings. Immigrant students were more anxious, depressed, academically-impaired and less flourishing compared to domestic students. These findings support the application of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) in career planning and an integrative model on the motivational determinants of health and wellness consequences proposed by Miquelon & Vallerand (2008). This model posits that pursuing autonomous goals enhances wellness, whereas pursuing controlled goals thwarts wellness. This model also posits that self-realization leads to reduced stress. Therefore, application of SDT and an integrative model on the motivational determinants of health and wellness consequences is important in career planning not only for immigrant students but also for other immigrant workers to fulfill their intrinsic aspirations and achieve larger career goals of health and wellness along with occupational needs.

In summary, I would not be surprised to see such career shifts from global to local in near future in search of sustainable and flourishing careers instead of just highly paid jobs at any place in the world. Considering anticipated unique needs of immigrants as well as the changing economic, social and cultural situations around the globe are forcing many of us to reflect on what really matters and what really is required in our careers and lives. career counseling and development centers and organizations will have to appropriately prepare and serve career aspirants for sustainable and satisfactory career planning by understanding and addressing how they will perceive and behave in terms of their careers. In order to respect a new paradigm for career shaping, I believe, an innovative methods of career counseling such as, ‘life space mapping’ proposed by Słowik, A. (2014), which respects life experiences and cultural values of the counselee along with their biographical and professional experience (formal, non-formal and informal) maybe helpful in meeting the challenges of post COVID-19 clients.


Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Self-determination theory.

Miquelon, P., & Vallerand, R. J. (2008). Goal motives, well-being, and physical health: An integrative model. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(3), 241.

Słowik, A. (2014). “Life space mapping” as an innovative method in career counselling for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 114, 80-85.

(Please look for next week’s eleventh installment of our COVID-19 Global Employment Effects series from one of our new members from Japan, Kazuyo Ikeda.)

Vijay Keshaorao Paralkar is a Ph.D. candidate at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Earlier, he graduated from University of Nebraska Omaha with a MS Counseling degree in student affairs practice in higher education concentration. He is also a career practitioner experienced providing career planning, assessments, exploration and international development to college students, graduates and mid-career professionals. Vijay’s interest in career counseling, teaching, research, and practice focuses on the holistic wellness for shaping sustainable careers and satisfactory lives of international students and the global community.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19
Global Employment Effects, Part 9

By Raza Abbas

The following article, written by Raza Abbas, our APCDA Country/Area Council representative for Pakistan, is part nine of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current Global COVID 19 Pandemic.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my insights with you, my APCDA family and distinguished global colleagues. I also want to thank you all for the opportunity to share the unique way I have been coping with the current COVID-19 pandemic in my home country of Pakistan. As you all know, COVID-19 has disrupted the world economy in unprecedented ways and has caused immense human tragedy. Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair) my thoughts as a Global Career Practitioner follow; beginning with some predictions for our global workplace.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Future Employment Beyond COVID-19

I believe employment beyond COVID-19 will include a multitude of opportunities in digitalization, ongoing and new ones in health care and a continuing growth in entrepreneurship - emergence of start-ups. Remote counseling & advising, distance speaking, webinars, virtual conferences & summits, digital marketing and online learning are just some of the many digital employment arenas that will continue to expand. Being digitally qualified will be a necessity to remain competitive and viable in the current and post-COVID job market.

Anticipated Changes Will and Still Include

Securing traditional jobs may continue to become more challenging to acquire and more gig/free-lance career opportunities will continue to emerge resulting in an increase in demand for consultants across diverse industries. To best develop the multi-skills needed for future employment, students currently pursing higher education degrees may want to consider delaying their graduation so they could pursue more coursework, perhaps even a double major, and more hands-on learning opportunities like internships, to demonstrate to future employers that they can apply their classroom knowledge in workplace settings.

HR Vision,, lists the following 10 skills needed in 2020 and beyond to be successful in the World Economic Forum (’s predicted Fourth Industrial Revolution: Cognitive Flexibility, Negotiation, Service Orientation, Judgement and Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Coordinating with Others, People Management, Creativity, Critical Thinking and Complex Problem-Solving.

Change Management Strategy

Like me, I hope you all have been using your virus quarantine time to develop and learn new skills. Enhancing your Search Engine Optimization Skills (SEO), your facility with You-Tube Channel use, your ability to run Facebook ads, your skill with developing websites that create sales funnels and your editing skills are time, effort and energy-worthy activities for entre- as well as intra-preneurial growth. Strategic re-branding is necessary to remain competitive in our ongoing digital era.

Remain Visible, Connected, Engaged and Hopeful

Future employment opportunities will be available for those that are visible, connected, engaged and hopeful. To successfully accomplish all of these things, it is most important to take care of self: your physical and emotional health and your mental as well as spiritual well-being.

Raza Abbas, is a Lifetime as well as a very active member in APCDA. In addition to his Country/Area Council work on behalf of Pakistan, he has teamed with our members to select APCDA international conference proposals, written and submitted previous news articles and supported our standards task force which compared standards and competencies in our field adopted by other associations like ours, so we could develop our own standards. Mr. Abbas is also an APCDA Outstanding Career Practitioner Award recipient. His additional honors include being a selected participant in two different United Nations efforts:  the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)’s flagship Annual Entrepreneurship Education Meeting.

Mr. Abbas’ committed servant leadership additionally extends to three more global career development organizations. He is an active member of the National Career Development Association (NCDA), where he serves on three committees: Global Connections, Government Relations and Technology. His ongoing dedication to inspire and empower individuals around the world to achieve their career and life goals, as well as his significant contributions to NCDA, resulted in his being selected as their International Career Practitioner of the Year Award for 2019. He also serves on the Board of the Asian Regional Association for Career Development as the Director for Pakistan. Finally, Mr. Abbas actively participates as an Editorial Board member of the International Association for Educational & Vocational Guidance.

Supporting College Students for Post-Graduation Time-Off in the Age of COVID-19

by Satomi Chudasama

COVID-19 came upon us very quickly, and we were caught off guard. It turned our world upside down, and some of our “normal” became a thing of the past. With a rapidly changing economic and employment landscape, many of the Class of 2020 college graduates are faced with uncertainty about their post-graduation plans. Some are now considering an alternative plan instead of seeking full-time employment. Call it a “gap-year,” “a time-off”, or “taking a break” - whatever it is, this is potentially an option for some graduates until they identify their next move.

As a career development professional supporting those new college graduates, you might ask what they can do during this time before pursuing full-time employment. To put it simply, the answer is “many options.” Of course, each graduate has a unique situation. Their situations may be impacted by multiple factors, including their family circumstances, country’s economic and political situations, cultural norms, self and family expectations, and so on. What seems like a good option for someone may not be an option for someone else. There is nothing like “one size fits all.” As career development professionals, we need to think creatively and flexibly and work together with your students to develop an individualized, viable plan. Help your students reframe the way they look at “post-graduation” plans. Here are some ideas:

  • Skill and Knowledge Development through a Series of Internships, Volunteers, or Short-Term Gigs
    • Some employers are open to hiring interns who are recent graduates. Not many employers publicize “post-graduation internships”, however; sometimes you just have to proactively inquire. Some of these opportunities may include structured community service programs.
    • If your students are able, another option is to volunteer for an organization dealing with issues they care about. Spending the time to develop transferable skills and insights into social issues can be empowering and fulfilling for some of your students. Websites such as Idealist offer nonprofit opportunities by issue areas around the world. 
    • Short-term projects for someone or self-initiated projects are one of the ways to develop relevant and transferable skills and knowledge. For example, your students can reach out to a small business impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, conduct an informational interview to identify what your students can help with, and propose a project they can work on; such as launching a marketing campaign targeting the young generation or developing a model that offers unparalleled service to customers and increases revenues. Even if they are not paid, these types of experiences enable your students to learn skills and on-the-ground of the work world that will help them later on. Moreover, other short-term positions that your students might have considered a “side job” while in college may still offer some valuable skills and good work ethic after graduation. It may be just a matter of how they present to future employers.
  • Skill and Knowledge Development through Courses
    Thanks to technology, there is a vast range of classes your students can take online. Some of those courses are available at free of charge. What have they always wanted to learn or just try for fun? This might be a perfect time to do something for themselves. In those activities, your students may have a new, exciting discovery.
  • Relax and Reflect
    If your students prefer to relax for some time, let them know that it is okay. They are still likely to do something each day. What do they feel like doing? What are they reading? Where are they going and why? In a time when they have no agenda, your students are likely to focus on something that is interesting and exciting; those activities may hold some key for their future directions and serve as a great opportunity for self-reflection. Encourage them to keep a journal of whatever comes to their mind and what they observe.

No matter what your students decide to do, two things remain important: self-reflection and networking. As many of us are aware, career paths are rarely linear. Why does this happen? As we manage our own career development and growth in the 21st century, we are more inclined to consciously change our workplaces and careers based on constant self-reflection and evaluation. This process does not have to wait until your students have first full-time employment. In fact, this flexible time is a great opportunity for self-exploration and reflection. What is important for them, what motivates and inspires them, what they enjoy, what they are good at, who they really are, what they want to be, etc. are all great realizations worthy of journaling and being considered for their next stage of career journeys. They are likely to have more time to internally stay close to themselves and might find some eye-opening aspects of themselves. These findings will fuel their aspirations for the future. While journaling, it is also helpful to make notes of learning and negative findings, e.g., what they didn’t like, what disappoints and discourages them, what environment hinders their strengths and enthusiasm. Journaling does not have to involve a notebook. They can also use a worksheet created by you or your students, a whiteboard or Trello board with categories of interests, skills, values, accomplishments, etc. and organize their thoughts, learning, and realizations.

Networking is a great way to explore themselves while gathering information, knowledge, and advice and getting to know others. My definition of networking is not limited to professional contacts. Rather, it includes anyone and everyone your students encounter. Encourage your students to be curious and ask about other people’s life stories. They will learn a tremendous amount of insights into different perspectives, career and life options, career trajectories, and life experiences in general. And motivate your students to stay in touch with all of them - literally all of them - to a point that they feel comfortable with contacting each other any time. That is the genuine power of networking - not superficial contacts you may awkwardly reach out to only when you are in a job market. The relationship I am referring to here is powerful and lasts long.

Finally, I urge you, as a career development professional, to stay in touch with your students as much as possible. Let them know that you are available to support them through their journeys, be their sounding board and adviser, and provide helpful resources. You do not know when and how they need you in the coming months. As career development professionals, we are in this together with your students and can help them emerge from this uncertain time with new strengths.

Satomi Chudasama, NCC, CCC, GCDF, is a founding member of APCDA and the current chair of the Public Relations Committee. Originally from Japan, she has been working in the career development field in higher education institutions in the United States for almost 20 years. Satomi is passionate about helping people identify and pursue their career aspirations as well as global career development and cultural transitions. She is currently working in the Office of Career Services at Princeton University where she has spent 13 years in career counseling and employer engagement.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19
Global Employment Effects, Part 8

By Kunimitsu Kuki

The following article, written by one of our NEW APCDA members, Kunimitsu Kuki, is part eight of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current Global CO-VID 19 Pandemic. Mr. Kuki lives in Osaka City, Japan.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the way we all live and work, I wanted to begin my article sharing how I have been coping with my current NORMAL by extending heartfelt appreciation to you, my fellow APCDA members, for allowing me the kind and generous opportunity to begin to realize one of my goals as a developing career consultant. I had hoped to expand my career consulting beyond Japan. Recently joining APCDA, receiving a new membership orientation, reading Allan Gatenby’s May 3rd APCDA News article requesting we consider becoming actively involved in our association and being asked to write and submit this article is providing me with the “gift” to do just that. Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair), my front-line report of my current NORMAL follows.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?
  • Pandemic Beginnings

    On April 7th, 2020, the Japanese government declared a State of Emergency. All stores were requested to close except daily use products stores like supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores. Except for their food sections, department stores and General Merchandise Stores (GMS) also closed. Due to the many closures, some companies, like the cosmetic and toiletry company where I work, stopped dispatching sales staff to various stores across the country. These staff were told they needed to stay at and work from home. How do they work at home?

    Pandemic Prologue

    Before the COVID-19 Pandemic hit Japan, I had been working with my cosmetic and toiletry company for more than 30 years in a variety of positions. For the past several years, I had been teaming with our company’s work group of 38 counselors, stationed all over Japan, to provide individual, once a year services to all company staff. With our sales division and our office workers, each of us counselors typically set up 50-minute sessions during the work day and met with four staff per day. With our Beauty Advisors, we either provided counseling during the time they visited the office for training OR asked them to stop in the area office closest to the store where they regularly reported. I, myself, am stationed in Osaka with 5 other counselors: 4 women and 1 other man. Like our counseling counterparts throughout the country, our Osaka counseling team covers 6 areas. Our team provided services in Osaka, Kobe(Hyogo), Kyoto, Shiga, Nara and Wakayama. There are company branch offices in these areas.

    Moving Through and Maintaining Service During the Pandemic

    Immediately after our country’s State of Emergency was declared and before any of our other cosmetic house competitors, my cosmetic and toiletry company stopped dispatching our Beauty Advisors. Our counseling team was concerned that the advisors were worrying about their situation. Although we no longer could provide face to face support, a recent, pre-pandemic foray by our company into digital devices like smart tablets or smart phones for all staff, allowed our counseling team to consider providing REMOTE counseling services. Initially though, we worried that this method of counseling would not allow us to notice important non-verbal cues and reactions. We were also concerned about maintaining confidentiality.

    Our company’s Information Systems division helped build our comfort with providing REMOTE counseling by helping with our confidentiality issue. They recommended the use of Microsoft Teams which offered secure connections. Much discussion among our counseling team further enhanced our confidence with REMOTE counseling. We all realized that REMOTE counseling would require us to deeply focus and concentrate and become even more careful listeners. Even though our smart devices’ video functions would allow seeing our Beauty Advisors, staying at home meant they, themselves, did not use make-up, so many only wanted to connect through the voice component.

    I, myself, quickly found that careful, concentrated, focused listening allowed me to hear words, hear breathing and yes, hear feelings. Feedback our counseling teams heard from our Beauty Advisors included appreciation of our company’s decision to stay at and work from home. Although their company-assigned work at home was minimal, taking just a few hours and only involving only a few tasks such as studying new products specifically and beauty in general, many advisors were also taking care of small children or old parents at home. These advisors were having a difficult time concentrating on their tasks. Other advisors did not have WIFI access. Still others shared how they enjoyed having the time to review their knowledge about beauty and study the proposed launching of new products in the privacy of their own homes.

    Initial Advisor Feedback ALSO Included . . .

    “At the beginning, I felt uncomfortable because I had a hard time getting use to studying at a desk at home. But, overall, it has been a good time for me to review. We use Microsoft Teams to do role playing and practice how to explain new products to customers.”

    “I have a 7 years-old son. He was supposed to start attending a primary school in April. But with the pandemic, he needed to stay at home. Because he always was beside me during the day, I found I could not concentrate on my ‘home’ work. This caused me to become irritated and scold my son him repeatedly. I knew that I was wrong. But I couldn’t help myself.”

    “My husband also stayed at and worked from home. Our small children played around him while he met remotely with others. Because the children popped up on the screen, he became embarrassed. So I started to take care of them. Later, our family would spend time together and enjoy lunch and dinner together, too. In a sense, it was a good time for our family.”

    Continuing Service and Ongoing Feedback

    After a few weeks passed, some Beauty Advisors began to share their worry about their customers. Others’ feelings changed day by day. Since our company was the first one to stop dispatching them to the stores, some advisors felt their customers might feel inconvenienced. The advisors felt sorry for their customers. They always cared for their customers as if they were family members or very close friends. Using their stay at home time to to think about their customers caused some realize that it is not necessary for customers to visit a the stores to buy beauty products. Many Beauty Advisors are now thinking that when they return to their stores to see their customers, they really would like to show their appreciation much more than before.

    State of Emergency Lifted and a New World Order Resulted

    On May 23rd, the State of Emergency was lifted.

    A couple of days later, I visited some department stores. Not many customers were around buying cosmetics. All the testers of the products were covered with plastic and customers could no longer sample them. Beauty Advisors wore masks and some of them wore eyeglasses for hay fever protection. The advisors could no longer touch a customer’s face to provide a make-over.

    Some of the Beauty Advisors I met with during my store visits shared the following . . .

    “When a customer asked for assistance with UV products, I stepped forward as usual to explain product information. But the customer quickly and purposely stepped back a few steps as if I was infected. I didn’t feel anything at that moment. After I thought about it, I realized I would probably do the same action. Later though, as I washed my hands, I felt as if I had been socked. Then I felt sad. I hope the normal returns soon.”

    “After not being at the counter for about a month, one of my regular customer came by and talked with me for more than an hour; sharing more about her life staying at home than I really needed to hear. With my working hours now being limited, I was unable to finish my paperwork and other jobs that needed to be done. But I could not deny my customer. Although I was happy to see my customer, I felt a bit irritated because I could not finish my jobs before I left for home.”

    The world changed. Not only our company, but the entire beauty industry needs to now seek new way to advise customers. And our counseling staff is going to be kept busy as staff feelings continue to be unstable as all of us continue to cope with the new world order. Our counseling staff is looking forward to integrating our newly developed style of focused listening into our face to face work. And we are even considering continuing to use REMOTE counseling when appropriate.

    (Please look for next week’s ninth installment of our COVID-19 Global Employment Effects series from our Pakistan Country/Area Council representative, Raza Abbas.)

    Kunimitsu Kuki, as a teenage exchange student, lived in Napoleon, Ohio, U.S. After graduating from Napoleon High School, he returned to Japan to complete a Psychology major from a private university in Kyoto, Doshisha University. Securing a sales and marketing position with Kanebo Cosmetics, Co., Ltd, he initially was stationed in Hong Kong for 8 years and covered the following ASEAN countries: Cambodia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. During the course of his employment, his company sent him to Oxford to learn British English. He was promoted to President of Kanebo Cosmetics (Thailand), Co., Ltd. and stationed in Bangkok, Thailand for 2 years.

    After the posting, Mr. Kuki continued with Kanebo Cosmetics in Kao Group Customer Marketing Co and became a company counselor in 2016. He also became licensed as a certified psychologist that year. In 2018, Mr. Kuki additionally became licensed as an industrial counselor. Through Japan Career Development Association training, he also became a career consultant that same year. Two years later, in April 2020, he joined APCDA. Currently, Mr. Kuki would like to support people who work overseas, foreigners who work in Japan and university students who are looking for employment. In the future, he hopes to expand his career consulting to all over the world.

    Across his 38 years with Kanebo Cosmetics, Mr Kuki married his Japanese wife and raised three children, 2 sons (31 yrs and 30 yrs) and 1 daughter (24 yrs). His eldest son has 2 boys and his second son has a boy and a girl. He asks his four grandchildren to call him “Gran-Pa” in English. Mr. Kuki enjoys taking photos and sharing them on Facebook so he could introduce others to Japan.

Regional Report

from Southeast Australia, New Zealand, and Samoa

May 2020

by Allan Gatenby


This week children in NSW returned to school. At one of my granddaughter’s school, the staff rolled out the red carpet, welcoming students back. Yesterday, the SE Australia/NZ & Samoa members group meet amid renewed optimism. The pandemic, amid the roughness of a storm, the coldness of a winter, the confusion of enforced change, signs of new life and hope for a better ‘new normal’ emerge.

Spring always follows winter; sunshine always comes after rain. There is a season for all things. Winter is a time of rest, reflection, renewal, and preparation for the seasons ahead. What have we learnt this winter and how will these insights shape the future of a better life, for more people?

Several themes emerged from the discussion. The feeling in the room is perhaps best described as renewed optimist and refreshed insight. For many, although challenging in so many ways, personally and professionally, there is gratitude and acceptance for the discoveries of this enforced winter and the habits they now want to carry forward to the ‘new normal’.

In this region COVID 19 infection rates are declining. Winter is not over but there are the signs of spring emerging. We are also several months now into social distancing, isolation and changed lifestyles. Fears are subsiding as we better understand what has been happening and seeing more clearly the opportunities and possibilities provided by the pandemic. Thinking is now directed towards shaping the ‘new normal’.

COVID 19 has crystallized trends that have been happening for some time, but we have failed to fully understand. Technology, globalization, rapidly changing workplaces, work practices, gender, generational and cultural diversity are all shaping lifestyles and communities. There is a widening gap between producers and consumers. The numbers of marginalised are increasing and the new wave of entrepreneurs increasing at the same time. How worth is determined individually and collectively is being redefined.  COVID 19 has brought some increasing clarity to the impact of changing traditional employment and work practices, changing career and occupational education, changing requirements for preparation for a future yet to be imagined, increasing need for agility, mobility and flexibility of individuals and organizations and the increasing quest for personal wealth, not just material wealth are the context for renewed insight. This must shape our profession, service delivery, training, and leadership.


  • Increasing recognition of the contribution and impact of career and talent development for individuals of all ages/stages, organizations, and Gross National Product. So much of our practice has been focussed youth and employability. The Australian government response to the pandemic has been Job Keeper, Job Seeker and now, Job Maker. A clear statement that employment and entrepreneurship are critical at each stage or transition in life. Our profession is stepping out. It is no longer youth centric but providing services to individuals, organizations, and nations, across all sectors and increasingly, embracing technology, which now can take us further, faster and from this experience as effectively as face to face modes.
  • The richness of diversity: United by passion, differentiated by focus. Clear was the different ways that individual practitioners are conceptualising, developing, and delivering services across communities, across borders. Hope sits in the richness of the soil and it is the diversity of nutrients that create a rich and fertile paddock. Not surprisingly there is renewed thirst for networking personally and professionally, utilising the reach and efficiency of technology to continue the journey of refining and changing practice.
  • Connecting, Collegiality & Collaboration: having now experienced social isolation the value of networking, of collaborating and increasingly collegial, of being there for each other. Quantum thinking reminds us that we are all connected and have a responsibility for not only self but also for relationships. Not surprisingly the group expressed the desire to continue these informal gatherings, to explore ways of bringing others to the chat and to explore ways that we can better support each other in their respective quests. The tyranny of competition has shifted as a connected, collaborative college of professionals emerges.
  • Sitting on each other’s shoulders: Through collaborative effort we are better able to see to and over the horizon. The dwarf sitting on the shoulders of the giant will always see further than the giant. From isolation, connecting and reconnecting has been redefined with refined purpose and intent. Without exception practitioners are seeking a more personal/professional interaction and shared vision. Truth is not absolute but closer we come to truth is by embracing as many viewing points as possible.
  • Testing of assumptions prior beliefs and experience particularly around technology and online delivery.  Generally, as a profession we have been cautious in embracing technology as a service delivery mode. This experience has sharpened our view that:
    1. It is not a uniform playing field. Different regions and different people are using a variety of technology and platforms. We still have many regions where devices are not freely available and the service and internet service provisions of varying quality. However, there are ways the adaptive practitioners circumvents these challenges.
    2. Experience now shows that many clients appreciate the online delivery. Practitioners are finding thar service quality has not diminished with obvious advantages for both client and practitioner. It is now becoming the preferred delivery mode.
    3. Technology is enabling greater efficiency and flexibility in practitioner time remembering that in private practice time is money.

The red carpet is not just a symbol of hope it also guides us towards the glimmering and strengthening lights in the new normal. It is not yet spring but with each step, each marker insight is becoming clearer and power increased. It is certain that the old normal is past. There is gratitude, hope and confidence of a better future and that career development practitioners have a pivotal part to play in this new order. Our quest is now to ensure that successive generations of practitioners, globally, are supported with learning and coaching to enable them to seize the opportunity offered by this pandemic. Different times requires different thinking, different valuing so that we can respond with better services to our clients and to our colleagues.

Allan Gatenby, FRIEdr FRIM CMF JP, is a private practitioner with a long and extraordinarily successful career in educational leadership, career development and life-design coaching. His postgraduate work is in leadership and change. He was a facilitator in both the Franklin Covey Institute and the Glasser Institute. He is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Career Certification International, Member of the Leadership Team APCDA, chairing the Committee Council and By-Laws Committee. He is Director of OneGroup Leadership and Associated Career Professionals International.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19

Global Employment Effects, Part 7

By Lena V. Catalan

The following article, written by Lena Catalan, one of our APCDA members from the Philippines, represents the seventh installment of an ongoing series of articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online weekly NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Ms. Catalan lives in Manila.

Globally, we have observed how the leaders of countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have responded and tried to mitigate the spread of the virus and its impact. Across the Asia Pacific Region, most of us are affected by this disease or coping with the indirect effects of it. The pandemic has claimed the lives of people in more than 227 countries (and still counting). Initially a simple health crisis, COVID-19 has grown to become a world-wide economic, political and pressing social concern. It has shaken the basic core of our society and caused us to reflect on the following questions posed at the beginning of this ongoing article series by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, first President and current Membership Chair).

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Beginning with the Economic Experts

Economic experts in the Philippines are currently categorizing the COVID-19 pandemic effects in terms of recession and massive unemployment. Industries affected include the airlines, consumer and retail, financial institutions, service, tourism and transportation. In Asia, the export and agricultural sectors are not exempted. Since February 2020, the drop in production and manufacturing has affected the supply chain. As the huge demand for goods has blown out of proportion, the replenishing of products and inventories has come to a halt. Most factories have been depleted and forced to shut down in the process.

GOOD NEWS in the Philippines

There is good news. The “enhanced community quarantine” implemented by the Philippine government in March 2020 resulted in a 2% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) (according to the Asian Development Outlook 2020’s economic publication). If everything goes smoothly until June, Asian Development Bank predicts a projected recovery and an additional increase in the country’s GDP by 6.5 percent in 2021.

Cooperation, Commitment and Community Needed

I, personally, hope and pray that the Philippine government’s effort and strategies to flatten the curve, with the combined support of the local government units, NGOs, foreign aid and even private and public organizations will be successful. However, I believe that the cooperation, commitment and strict discipline of our entire community as a whole also is needed to make this happen.

Professional Background Helps to Predict

As a Career Development professional and psychologist, I can see that there will be ongoing opportunities to work from home. We will need continue to learn how to navigate online platforms for work output, communication, video conferences, meetings, and the like We also will need to continue to grapple with the seismic changes technology has brought and continues to bring to the banking and finance industry. Financial technology, or Fintech, jobs such as Applications Developer, Compliance Expert, Financial Analyst and Cybersecurity Expert will continue to emerge as part of the lasting effects of social distancing and community quarantine. These jobs can be done virtually, in the comfort of one’s home. Freelance, creative and project-based jobs might continue to be preferred by companies or businesses as they recover from their pandemic-caused loss of revenue.

We, in the helping professions, are at the forefront of societal pandemic effects due to the ongoing roller coaster of emotions that people are currently experiencing. Current feelings of anxiety, depression, panic and/or confusion coupled with the phases of trauma recovery, undoubtably will cause the demand for mental health professionals and psychological as well as counseling services to increase and continue to grow as society keeps up with ongoing pandemic recovery changes.

Time to Appreciate Community, Family and Focus on Priorities

My heart goes out to the daily wage earners or workers since they are the ones who will need help the most. As such, even if our local government units are doing their best to provide relief goods to the different barangays*, I sincerely hope that there will be ongoing concrete steps and sustainable efforts to respond appropriately to continuing community suffering.

In closing, I need to take a moment to commend and salute the efforts of all the Philippine frontliners - whether situated in our hospitals, pharmacies, groceries, public markets, food establishments, clinics, barangays, police departments, army barracks or garbage depots. I also wanted to share that I make an effort to personally offer my thanks to these most vulnerable among us; having the higher risk of getting infected due to their call of duty.

In experiencing my “new normal”, I partially see moving through and beyond COVID as gift to spend more time with my family, to enjoy doing things together and to build a stronger bond. I also view it as an opportune time to connect with my immediate community—our neighbors and the barangay. We are constantly keeping in touch with one another for updates and checking on the welfare of everyone, while still observing community quarantine and social distancing protocols.

I see the critical role of career development and placement practice as a call to be more resilient, to volunteer in initiatives, to help the community heal from the pandemic and to conduct capacity-building and learning sessions focusing on mental health using online platforms. Ultimately, we share in the advocacy for wellness, whether individually or collectively as we trust even more in the Higher Powers—our Almighty God to pull us through these challenging times!


* A barangay, sometimes referred to as barrio, is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward. In metropolitan areas, the term often refers to an inner-city neighborhood, a suburb or a suburban neighborhood (Wikipedia).

Lena V. Catalan, RPsy, is a career development and mental health professional, registered psychologist and the President of the Association of Placement Practitioners of Colleges and Universities, Inc. (APPCU). Concurrently, she is also a Student Organization Adviser of Adlaw, a socio-political party which aims to uphold, advance and protect the rights and welfare of the Benildean Community through proactive citizenry and servant leadership. Administratively, Ms. Catalan works as a full-time, Career & Placement Office Head under the Department of Student Life at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. Her Master of Arts degree in Psychology is from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. She has extensive work experience in the education and industry sectors which included a variety of roles: Formator, Human Resource & Career Development Practitioner, Facilitator, Educator, Administrator, and Psychologist. Ms. Catalan’s significant contributions are in the areas of recruitment, psychological assessment, training and development, career assessment, interviewing and coaching, program/workshop facilitation, implementation and evaluation. She considers herself a lifelong learner with advocacies that include children’s rights, women empowerment, care of the youth, family welfare and wellness.

Post-Pandemic World of Work

Virtual Regional Member Discussions

by Marilyn Maze, PhD

The Virtual Regional Member Discussions began with the Western North America Region on May 11. Europe and West Asia Region met on May 13, Middle East Region met on May 16, and South India Region met on May 17.  Click here for a schedule of up-coming meetings.  So far, many valuable insights have been shared and attendees enjoyed the experience.

Many of the insights shared relate to the current situation.  Rapidly changing painful situations make it difficult to focus on the future.  In the Western North America region, we noted the breakdown of the global distribution system has forced rapid adaptation, such as new mask making companies, local farms or fishers selling direct to homes, and adoption of new management techniques to supervise people working from home. Counselors and career practitioners are essential workers right now, and busier than ever trying to help students and clients virtually.  With children attending school from home, parents are involved in helping their children in new ways.  Parents now need help learning about career planning and understanding career terminology. One of the skills highly valued in our field is Systems Thinking.  We can now see that some governments are using Systems Thinking successfully and others are failing to use it. 

COVID attacks older people more severely, forcing older people to self-isolate.  Ageism is increasing as older people either adapt to online communication or become increasingly isolated.  The Urban/Rural Divide has become more obvious.  Many people in cities have Internet, but many rural areas do not.  In cities, social distancing means staying inside.  In rural areas, much of life is lived outside and people travel long distances for groceries and other necessities.  At the same time, poverty is highlighted.  Unemployment in the US is now 15% – the highest unemployment since the Great Depression.  Hiring at this time is mostly for delivery drivers, grocery workers, and contact tracers.  Children with computers have been learning online, but children without computers or Internet access are not learning.  People who can work from home are much more likely to be educated.  In the US, over 60% of people with a college degree can work from home, while people with less education are often “frontline workers” – exposed daily to COVID as they work in essential businesses, deliver food and purchases to homes, work in hospitals, and provide other essential services.  Minorities and low-paid workers are getting sick and dying at much higher rates than non-minorities.

How many of these changes will continue post-COVID?

Once the world has become increasingly virtual, it is likely that it will not go back.  The Twitter company has announced that its employees are welcome to continue working from home permanently. It is likely many other tech companies will follow.  Of course, this is bad news for Commercial Real Estate rental, sales, and construction.  It may also be bad news for extroverts, while introverts may have an advantage in the new virtual world.  When will we again hold large gatherings such as live performances, sports events, and conferences?  When will we again travel internationally for pleasure, or even for business?  Certainly, the entertainment and hospitality industries will be slow to recover, and it may be a long time before they reach pre-pandemic levels.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues forward.  People working in this field easily adapted to working from home and we can expect new uses of AI to change our lives at a rapid rate.  In fact, COVID may have boosted the rate of change by forcing us to adapt rapidly, thus accelerating our ability to adapt to and adopt new technologies.  Good communication skills will also be in demand, whether to help others understand the information produced by AI or to teach others to use new technology.  Luckily, career practitioners have good communication skills.

Change will be a constant.  People who adapt well to change will increasingly be rewarded financially.  Those who do not adapt to change will be financially disadvantaged.  We often talk about the Gig Economy and train clients to decide who they are so they can select meaningful “gigs” or projects which help them learn new skills while earning a decent income.  We say that these people have Self-Sustaining Careers.  We increasingly encourage clients to start boutique businesses that serve specific needs on a small scale, such as small farms producing high quality food, small hotels serving specific populations, or small services meeting specific needs.  Some of these boutique businesses meet needs that are surprisingly common and grow into large companies.  An essential skill for entrepreneurship is Self-Efficacy.

In the US, corporations currently employ large numbers of temporary workers.  This name is misleading because the work is not temporary.  The work done by temporary workers constantly increases, but workers hired on a temporary basis do not have benefits (such as health insurance), do not have a regular schedule, are paid as little as possible, and are only paid when they work.  Some estimate that temporary workers make up as much as 40% of the US labor market, although no data is collected. Because their schedule changes constantly, they cannot train for a better job.  When these workers get sick, they have no income and no way to pay for health care.  Many frontline workers are temporary workers, so a high proportion of COVID cases are in this group. Through a temporary workforce, risk is transferred from the employer to the employee.  Temporary workers have the least resources to cope with risk, but they bear the highest risk.  As COVID-related corporate bankruptcies increase, many more workers are likely to join the temporary workforce.  Many career practitioners are deeply concerned about this population as the situation worsens.

As the world changes rapidly, Trust Communities gain in value.  Many people choose to work with companies (banks, grocery stores, etc.) who they trust to treat them well, to live in communities of like-minded people who they trust to have similar values, and to help others in their community who need their help.  Schools and Colleges often strive to develop trust communities, so their students feel comfortable and safe developing skills in these institutions. 

Hope is extremely helpful during stressful times. If we can help clients to engage with a hopeful attitude, this attitude will open opportunities for them.

What changes are you seeing now and in the future?  Join the discussion in your region and share your insights.

Moving Through and Beyond COVID-19

Global Employment Effects, Part 6

By Yoshinobu Ooi

The following article, written by our APCDA Japan Representative, Yoshinobu Ooi, represents the fifth installment of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Mr. Ooi lives in Tokyo.

The coronavirus pandemic has touched every part of our nation and most parts of the world. It has rapidly changed how we go about our daily lives. And while it has been devastating, it has also put on full display the greatness of the human spirit. Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair), it is my humble privilege to share predictions for a hopeful future.

What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?

  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Inevitability to Adapt to Environmental Changes

In Japan, like with many other countries around the globe, moving through the COVID-19 crisis, meant accelerating environmental changes; especially with regard to remote work and remote meetings. Today, even individuals and companies without any prior remote work experience are now using it. Self-restraint restrictions are gradually being lifted. When it becomes possible, should we return to our past work processes and regularly conduct business in person once again?

Using Reality & Lessons Learned to Shape the Future

Although Japan is a small country, domestic transportation is expensive. Tokyo is recognized by most as the center of Japan. In the pre-pandemic past, it was where many workers gathered to conduct business. Regretfully though, it also took time as well as money for citizens from all over the country to travel to this busy capital city.

As many of you know, due to the pandemic, APCDA decided to hold its Annual Conference and Annual Membership Meeting virtually. With the expense and time of foreign travel eliminated, more APCDA members from Japan participated in these two separately held and virtually delivered endeavors than ever before.

In the face of this reality, it makes sense to continue to hone our remote work and remote meeting experiences to craft a new work environment for Japan. On the other hand, teleconferencing with regard to meetings and group gatherings almost eliminates participant chatter, information exchanges and happenstance opportunities that normally take place among participants before, during and after an in-person event. In December of last year, the first APCDA Information Sharing Meeting was held in Japan. It combined both face-to-face and Zoom components, thus allowing for information exchanges and it received positive participant feedback.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
Charles Darwin

Earlier this month, on May 4th, our second APCDA Information Sharing Meeting was held in Japan. While it could only be virtual, we intentionally divided it into three parts in order to better integrate leaning exchanges. During the first part of the meeting, we provided a unilateral introduction to APCDA’s member benefits, conferences and webinars. In other words, we used lecture format. However, in the second part of our virtual Sharing Meeting, we took the time to actually share experiences of APCDA’s recent virtual conference. We used an interview process to guide the sharing experience. During the final part of the meeting, we introduced the APCDA conference theme "Embracing Lifelong Career Development" for the next fiscal year. Although it was difficult to interpret the theme in Japanese, dividing the participants into smaller discussion groups helped foster understanding. Smaller group discussions additionally allowed each individual the time to share their unique thoughts and feelings about the theme as well as their thoughts and feelings about visiting Singapore. Throughout the three parts of our Sharing Meeting, we proceeded slowly and also took a lot of breaks. In the end, we received participant feedback that we successfully delivered a well-balanced lecture and discussion format. In other words, taking the time to sprinkle some time for happenstance spiced the learning and led to the satisfaction of increased understanding.

The success of this second Sharing Meeting was supported by the efforts and participation of APCDA Secretary, Momoko Asaka, and APCDA members Michihiro Tanaka, Kunimitsu Kuki and Yoshichika Iida. Japan Career Development Association (JCDA) Ja staff Wadayo Ikeda was additionally instrumental to the meeting’s positive outcome. Much thanks and appreciation go out to Kimiko Kato and Yukie Sato for sharing their experience of APCDA’s virtual conference.

Yoshinobu Ooi, APCDA’s Japan Representative, is a Freelance Career Counselor and Management Consultant. After obtaining a master's degree in electronic information engineering, he worked for more than 20 years at a Global telecommunications & Cloud service company in Japan. In time, he was assigned to the Human Resources Department and became responsible for new employee training. Mr. Ooi has since obtained his CDA qualification and completed the MBA course at Globis University. He now supports a wide range of career development for university students and corporate employees. He is also a JCDA member.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19
Global Employment Effects, Part 5

By Li Fern Tong

The following article, written by one of our newer APCDA News Committee members, Li Fern Tong, represents the fifth installment of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Ms. Tong resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

My heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones, friends, students and clients to the coronavirus. My thoughts and prayers are with those still battling the virus and with family members, health care workers and all the essential workers valiantly striving to meet the many challenges of this unprecedented global, public health emergency and economic crisis. Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair) my NEW Normal and predictions for a hopeful future follows; beginning with growing gloom, taking time to share Malaysian silver linings and helping to get comfortable with and begin to enjoy my NEW Normal.

What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?

  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Growing Economic Gloom

I grew up in a small Malaysian city. Since the COVID-19 global pandemic hit, some of the iconic establishments I used to pass by after school have closed their doors. A magazine I regularly read, published its final issue on the last day of April. An international fashion label, manufactured here in Malaysia, closed most of its Asian business. A number of my close friends have been let go by their companies. Daily news articles and social media posts bombard the public with the many struggles and challenges currently being faced by Small and Medium business Enterprises (SMEs) throughout my country. Apart from the daily dose of ever-increasing numbers of COVID-19 confirmed cases (up, close to a thousand since the number reported in our April 26th issue) and deaths (thankfully only up by 10—same issue), the news of growing economic gloom pains my heart because it translates to the very real decimation of the livelihood of my fellow Malaysians.

Silver Lining

However, even and especially in harsh times, it is heart-warming to hear and read stories sharing ongoing good deeds being delivered by those who walk with us. Due to social media, not only did these stories go viral, they also resulted in enlisting ongoing community support. Within the past weeks, I’ve been invited to participate in a few social media groups focusing on Helping to Save SMEs in Malaysia. It’s amazing and soulfully replenishing to me how the efforts of these quiet heroes have translated to loud and proud ongoing help to our local hawkers. The very idea that those who are not sellers are recommending their trusted sellers to those requesting certain products is servant leadership at its best. It’s truly inspiring to hear, read about and be invited to participate in the resiliency of community spirit and the over-arching concept of applied humanity.

The NEW Normal

No longer an unfamiliar phrase, the NEW Normal is a strategy that I, along with most of us, are struggling to adopt. Yet, recently, I have personally discovered that this strategy may actually be a way to not only survive, but actually thrive in chaos and crises. Perhaps being forced to quickly move from resisting change to embracing it, might prove to actually impact survival rate beneficially? The university, where I work in Kuala Lumpur, had to transition all of its in-person classes to virtual, online ones within a week. The change was chaotic and overwhelmingly stressful. I desperately wanted to visit, experience and linger within each and every one of Kubler Ross’s grief stages, but the luxury of time was regretfully unavailable. Surprisingly though, the REALITY of only one week being available produced enough adrenaline to not only endure, but to also explore, and yes, even thrive. Don’t get me wrong, it was tough, but I enjoyed most of the process and even the outcome. Reflecting on the week, helped me realize that hearing and reading about ‘real life’ stories that demonstrated the application of the following transferable skills not only got and kept me going, but also helped keep the adrenaline flowing.

    Being able to think outside the box and do things differently.
    A small bakery that had run its operations out of a food truck had not able to keep up with the big boys before the pandemic hit. During the quarantine, the bakery took time to experiment. Using their home kitchen for R&D and social media for marketing to consumers restricted to home, the bakery successfully launched a new side business; selling pre-mixed, baking ingredients to a COVID-19-produced niche market -- “amateur home bakers”.
    It’s okay if it is tough. It’s okay that there is no end in sight. It’s DO-able!
    Our health care and essential workers are the best example of demonstrating this transferable skill. “I go to work for you, you stay at home for us,” is sprawled all over social media. These heroic members of our community are steadily and reliably labouring on, to keep us SAFE and keep/make us well. At the same time our fathers and mothers are working from home, they additionally are striving relentlessly to keep their children, the future of our community, engaged and learning. UNBELIEVABLE and AMAZING demonstration of this skill.
    Doing something that may produce failure.
    What would you do, if a man in ragged clothes walked up to you during this pandemic? Though feeling alarmed and anxious on the inside and quickly concluding the man was another beggar asking for money, one lady gave the man some money, initially walked away a few steps, but then turned around when she heard the man sob, “I am not a beggar, but am very hungry.” After turning around, she walked back to the man and took the time to ask for and hear his story. He was a migrant worker, who recently had been retrenched. Without income, he could not pay for his rent and was recently evicted. Feeling deep empathy for the man, she, and those she cared about could easily be in his shoes, she gave him even more money so he could continue to survive. She took a risk, but so did he. He opened himself up to being ridiculed and possibly hated.
    Bending easily without breaking.
    Like her sister countries, the global pandemic caused Malaysia to enact a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO). And like bigger corporations in other countries, those in Malaysia required workers to work virtually and/or decreased their on-site operations to a skeleton crew. Here in Malaysia, some of these bigger companies FLEXED a bit further and allowed their interns to keep working and complete their internship hours.
    Connect and collaborate to maximize contributions.
    Though is took some practice, I eventually realized that ‘social distancing’ actually means ‘physical distancing’. During CMCO, I have been blessed having my family staying with me. However, I quickly found that the lack of being able to meet with my colleagues and friends face-to-face was soul-sucking and initially made transitioning to online work feel even more overwhelming. With time, effort, energy and a lot of help from my support group, I learned that social media platforms could become a place to display supportive thoughts and share challenges as well as solutions. With new ways of learning, it is possible to enjoying the journey as you work towards reaching the destination.
    Our NEW Normal calls for learning and re-learning.
    A traditional jam seller first post on social media follows. “I’ve always made my sales offline, selling to my usual customers. However, during times of change, I’ve decided to learn this new thing called social media.”
“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves ill-equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer

There will be a time to grieve over all that we have lost during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. But now is also a time to accept and practice our NEW Normal. When we decide to fully receive the NEW Normal, opportunities will begin to crop up. While the NEW Normal that I’ve been experiencing was not necessarily a comfortable or easy journey, the process of putting it into practice with its ups and downs, helped me FLEX and continue to LEARN new skills for work. The consistent changes forced me to learn what I had been delaying, to thinking of and integrating CREATIVE solutions. I humbly hope that what I’ve shared in this article helps to encourage your NEW Normal to become more comfortable and possibly more FUN!

Thriving through Change: In Giving We Receive

by Allan Gatenby, FRIEdr FRIM CMF JP

Globally member-based organizations are struggling to keep the members engaged. It seems that globally people have developed a mindset that you pay a membership fee to receive a service. Yet we also know from Linda Hill’s research the organizations which thrive in times of rapid change are those in which leaders are architects of a culture of collaboration. If we know this why is it that so many organizations are struggling to survive rather than thrive?

This year I was award the President’s Award for services to APCDA. This is a great honour and I humbly making the comment that I never set out with the intent of being recognized. Rather I was raised in the belief that if something is worth doing then do it well, the first time. Also, I watched my parents live their life very much in the spirit of St Francis of Assisi; “it is in giving that we receive.” Each, in their own way dedicated themselves to serving the community. This was to be their legacy and my guide.

I have had a remarkably fortunate life, full of opportunity and countless challenges. The one thing that has kept me young is to contribute to a greater good. I was never comfortable with the idea that the centre of my universe is me. The me view and teaching tended to overlook the importance of we. In fact, collegiality and comradeship were the only things that enabled me to be resilient and thrive, personally and professionally.

Try this simple experiment; get a bag of sand, rice, soil, flour (whatever is convenient) and with 1 hand scoop up as much from that bag as you can. Place that on some measuring scales. You now know the mass of material gathered by 1 hand. Repeat this using the other hand and place that on the same scales. You now know the mass of material of 2 hands working independently. Now using both hands, working together as they are designed to do, scoop up as much of that material and measure the mass of the 2 hands working together. No surprises here. 2 hands working together achieves much more. So, it is with people. Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM).

In our world motivation and education has been built around competition. Collaboration is poorly understood and difficult to embed. The donkey cartoon helps us to unpack the essentials of collaboration. Humans, like the donkeys, are typically competitive. They strive to satisfy their own needs before and often, at the expense of others. However, in high performing teams’ competitive tendencies are focussed upon the task and the solution focusses upon collaboration. As in the cartoon competitiveness continues until the team members stop, sit, talk, plan, and presumably decide how to work together so that they both achieve their goal (agreement). What is often overlooked is the significance of risk taking and trust in the relationship. At least one of the parties takes the risk that the other will honour their agreement. Collaboration requires analytical skills, communication, acceptance, decision making, risk taking and ultimately trust. This is quite a different mindset to that of the competitor mindset.

In order to collaborate, partners need what Covey referred to as abundance mentality. Ben Zander talks about the art of possibility. Both are referring to the process of creative new thoughts whilst retaining the original idea. If I were to ask you, “is 1+1=3 true or false?” most would answer false. We have been taught well by our teachers and life that 1+1=2. Yet if I were to ask you “could 1+1=3 then the answer can be yes. We can think of lots of examples which all demonstrate creativity, abundance mentality and the art of possibility. Synergistic thinking, new creation, innovation are elements of entrepreneurship, that which we are increasingly called upon to help develop.

APCDA is an amazing professional community. Founded on passion, collegiality, goodwill and outreach it has quickly grown to a significant body with Asia Pacific. Leadership has and remains focussed upon building community and collegiality. The key challenge remains, how best to engage members. Triggered by receiving the President’s Award and reflecting upon my experience I share these key ideas:

Consider the possible outcomes of contributing to the Association. Write an article, phone a friend, create a discussion group, post a blog, reach out for ideas thoughts, partnership. Give something. The act of giving will be returned many-fold.

Look for a team, a partner. Adopt, embrace and advocate collaboration. Yes, we are competitors in a sense (especially private practitioners) but like the left and the right hand when we work together, each from our own orientation perspective, the outcome is always greater than if working alone. Working together lightens the load, creates abundance and enables us to think and live beyond our individual experience.

Create moments and opportunities to sit, discuss, plan, take a risk and hand I hand help each other. Collaboration is not difficult, and the rewards are exponentially abundant.

Set yourself a goal that you will make at least 1 contribution, share 1 professional insight to the Association each year. You will be amazed at what happens.

Allan Gatenby is a private practitioner with a long and extraordinarily successful career in educational leadership, career development and life-design coaching. His postgraduate work is in leadership and change. He was a facilitator in both the Franklin Covey Institute and the Glasser Institute. He is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Career Certification International, Member of the Leadership Team APCDA, chairing the Committee Council and By-Laws Committee. He is Director of OneGroup Leadership and Associated Career Professionals International.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19 Global Employment Effects, Part 4

By Allan Gatenby FRIEdr FRIM CMF JP

The following article, written by our APCDA Committee Council Chair and 2020 President’s Award recipient, Allan Gatenby, is part four of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current Global CO-VID 19 Pandemic. Mr. Gatenby resides in New South Wales, Australia.

I hope this finds you all safe and well at home, and like me and those I serve in the career development and educational leadership fields, counting the days until I can get back to my routines and once again gather together, face-to-face with friends, family and the community at large. Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair) my NEW Normal and predictions for a hopeful future follows; beginning with my current reality, adding some reflections of my success with meeting past challenges and additionally factoring in recent, pre-pandemic, employment trends.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Managing Crisis

COVID19 has created chaos. Totally unexpected, reported throughout the media in the language of catastrophe, coupled with virtual decision making that is being unilaterally applied has created doomsday mindsets around the globe. Understandably, I have been finding graduates from Australian high schools through professional schools are anxious. When you are in the midst of a storm, it is difficult to see what is beyond the storm. Moving through COVID-19, I have discovered that not only does my own experience and mindset, but also the experiences and mindsets of the graduates I work with, comes to aid in both reducing anxiety and fostering hope for the future.

Crisis is a common experience for all of us. Shock, powerlessness, dismay, but also, and most importantly, success are all feelings most of us have experienced. Moving through COVID-19, I was reminded that reflection upon what enabled me to survive past critical transitions and challenges was a critical key to understanding how I, and those I serve, can thrive in the current pandemic. Challenge is not new. Only the context of the current challenge is different. COVID 19 has crystallized trends in employment that have been evident for some time but to which we have been slow to respond.

Reflections of Past Challenges & Pre-Pandemic Employment Trends

Graduates from high schools through professional schools, unless through unique scholarship or internship opportunities, have never been guaranteed employment. Each year, prior to graduation, reality bites and graduate anxiety increases. Graduation has never been nor ever will be a guarantee for employment. Pre-pandemic work and workplaces had been rapidly changing. Employability had been redefined during Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0). COVID 19 has brought these trends into a sharp focus. No longer can graduates ignore that they are entering a marketplace which is over-supplied and in which there are only 2 types of people:  buyers and sellers. In this marketplace, the buyer or employer set the metric of value and the graduates, are always the seller. IR4.0 set the bar for graduates needing to become entrepreneurial and use creativity and initiative to become innovative in communicating their value to prospective employers.

Enabling students to complete their graduation and study is clearly a priority. I commend staff who have worked tirelessly in their endeavours to almost instantaneously transition from providing in-person to virtually services throughout the current pandemic. However, simply providing online and telephone services is like moving deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.

Recipe for Success

Our current COVID-19 reality is an opportunity to change the focus of services and delivery pedagogies. Graduates will benefit from viewing the world as a marketplace and becoming more entrepreneurial in engaging employers and eventual business partners and clients. My approach with graduates during the pandemic involves helping with the development of an entrepreneurial mindset; being creative, active, innovative and persistent.

Essentially Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset includes:

  • Accepting that your friend of the last few years is now your competitor. Graduation is like gaining a driver’s license. You can now drive, legally. However, employers want to know how well you can drive and specifically how you drive better and more effectively than your cohort.
  • Sharpening your tools: Abraham Lincoln said, ‘give me 6 hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.’ This is a good time to check whether you are equipped with the right tools to gain attention and whether those tools need sharpening. No longer are generic resumes, letters of application and statements addressing selection criteria going to result in job interviews. Marketing and selling are different, requiring different tools, skills and approaches. Over-all employers and decision-making teams want to see how an individual will add value to their business. More time needs to be spent in understanding that pitching and proposal writing are the foundations for powerful and persuasive communication that leads to interview offers.
  • Developing a marketplace mindset:  Understand that the buyer determines the value of a good or service. Marketing is different to selling. Make it easy for the buyer to see your value, your uniqueness. When selling demonstrate how you will add value to the organization.
  • Being active to be attractive: Be noticed for all the right reasons; ensure that your online, paper and in person presence are all in sync. As it is in real estate, position, position, position . . . network, network, network!
  • Pushing beyond the horizon: Consider non-traditional, non-paid and/or non-local opportunities. Experience counts. Become entrepreneurial by using innovative and creative analytics, proposals and strategies. Reach out and form agile, flexible partnerships and teams.
  • Managing yourself as the valuable product you are: Resist compromise. Focus on where you have control and be gentle with yourself. Engage in creative activities and limit news exposure to reduce anxiety.

As professionals, no matter our circumstances, we must be prophets of hope. We cannot assume a graduate has enough self or world knowledge to be able to effectively engage in entrepreneurial thinking or understand the subtle art of developing and delivering high impact proposals to enable them to achieve their dream. Today is a time when we can refine our practice to help prepare graduates for ongoing change and uncertainty.

Allan Gatenby is a private practitioner with a long and extraordinarily successful career in educational leadership. His postgraduate work is in leadership and change. He was a facilitator in both the Franklin Covey Institute and the Glasser Institute. Choice drives engagement and engagement lifts productivity. Mr Gatenby established his own business in 2007. As with many other business owners, COVID 19 has challenged his business with limited income generation. His farming background lead him to better understand the cyclic and seasonal nature of life. As a survivor of cancer and redundancy, he has developed an entrepreneurial mindset that continues to serve him to thrive when faced with unexpected and devastating events.

COVID-19’s Impact on Jobs

by Marilyn Maze, PhD

This article is based on USA data. Please evaluate how/whether it applies in your country.

The news in the USA is focused on deaths caused by COVID-19 – currently around 55,000, which is about 0.01% of the population. While any deaths are distressing, government restrictions have prevented about 20% of employed people from working during the pandemic, so many people are feeling stressed. The official response to COVID-19 in the USA varies by state (and there are 50 of those, so it is pretty confusing), but most states have issued “stay at home” orders and shut down “non-essential” businesses. As career professionals, you may wonder who those workers are. The chart below shows the percentage of workers in the industries most effected based on the numbers employed about 1 year ago.

While the percentages may vary by country, the industries are probably similar world-wide. In most of our member countries, restaurants have been effected, travel has been greatly reduced, face-to-face entertainment (including sports) are banned, personal services (from hair cutting to cleaning) are reduced, non-essential stores are closed or have few customers, and many kinds of manufacturing (oil, cars, clothing) have slowed down. Each of these industries represent a small part of the workforce, but together (at least in the US), they total 20% of the economy.The above data does not count “temporary workers” (they may go to work every day, but the employer does not list them as employees). The US has between 10% and 20% “temporary” workers. Some people estimate that up to 40% of our population is currently out of work.

Another picture of the impact of COVID in the US is provided by Visual Capitalist (

This view compares the risk of contracting COVID-19 in common occupations to income level and illustrates why the US has so many low-paid people who are sick with COVID-19.

How long will this last? Each country wants to get “back to normal” as soon as possible. Each time there is an easing of restrictions, it is likely that new infections will occur, such as the ones recently seen in Singapore. These waves of easing of restrictions and re-applying restrictions will probably continue until most people have gotten COVID-19 and developed immunity, assuming people are immune after surviving COVID-19. This will cause people who have not yet gotten COVID-19 to avoid non-essential activities and voluntarily reduce their economic activities as much as they can. When a vaccine is ready and there are enough doses available for everyone who needs to be vaccinated, we may stop hiding from each other and return to normal. Best estimates are that this could take 2 years or more. Optimistically, January 2022 would be a time when we could hope life to return to “normal,” if normal includes large gatherings and non-essential international travel.

One expert on this is Bill Gates, now a billionaire philanthropist who founded Microsoft.  On April 23 he published an article called “The first modern pandemic” on ( and later spoke with the media, amplifying this information. Gates said “This is like a world war, except in this case, we’re all on the same side. Everyone can work together to learn about the disease and develop tools to fight it. In normal times, the Gates Foundation puts more than half of its resources into reducing deaths from infectious diseases.  We invest in inventing new treatments and vaccines for these diseases and making sure they get delivered to everyone who needs them. Now that the epidemic has hit, we are applying our expertise to finding the best ideas in each area and making sure they move ahead at full speed.  More than 100 groups are doing work on treatments and another 100 on vaccines. We are funding a subset of these but tracking all of them closely.” Mr. Gates echoed the common wisdom about when a vaccine might be ready, but he is optimistic that some vaccines are looking promising and he hopes they can be ready sooner.

But what will "Normal" look like post pandemic? By then, the world may have fewer people. To estimate the percentage of the population that could die in this pandemic, divide the world-wide reported deaths caused by COVID (206,000) by the reported cases of COVID (3,000,000) we see a 7% death rate (based on This percentage is an over-estimate because many people who contract COVID and survive are not reported, but it does give us an upper limit. A decline in population would affect economies in each country in complex ways. Other changes caused by social distancing may continue because we no longer want to go back to the old ways. For example, will people move back into offices, or will they continue to work from home? Will travel return to pre-pandemic levels, or will we do more online? Earth has benefited recently as many cities report less air pollution. Will the change be permanent or temporary? What will the world of work be like when the pandemic is over?

As career professionals, we all want to know what to tell our clients. APCDA invites you to attend regional meet-ups to discuss the impact of the pandemic in your country and the Post-Pandemic World of Work. We will be setting these up beginning in late May. While these events are primarily for members, please consider inviting people to these sessions who have important insights into this issue.

Moving through COVID-19 & Seeking APCDA Member Sharing
re: Global Employment Effects, Part 3

By Natalie Kauffman

The following article, written by one of our APCDA U.S. members residing in Maryland, is part three of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current COVID-19 Global Pandemic.

APCDA continues to extend blessings and hope for each and every APCDA member, as well as their immediate and extended family, the clients that they serve and the communities where they reside. May y'all not only survive but thrive through our ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic! Next week, we anticipate more member sharing; showcasing the unique way(s) they have been coping with the current COVID-19 global pandemic.

Regretfully, as of April 25th, Maryland, my adopted state, experienced the largest number of COVID-19 deaths in one day—74. Due to powerful, international networking efforts of our state government, spearheaded by our state’s first lady, Yumi Hogan (the first Korean-American First Lady in the U.S.), with the Republic of Korea government, our state was able to increase its novel virus testing efforts and has confirmed 16,616 cases to date. Thankfully, me, my immediate and extended family are all doing well. My Daughter, Son-in-Law, Granddaughter, 2 Brother-in-Laws and their Spouses and my Sister-in-Law all live relatively near my husband & me in Maryland.

My Son and Daughter-in-Law live up in Maine, with only 965 confirmed cases and 47 deaths. Although also doing well, my Mom, Sister, Brother-in-Law and Nephew live in southern New Jersey (NJ). (Among U.S. states, NJ has the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths—5,617. They confirm 102,000 cases so far from the novel virus.) My additional extended family, my nephew and his spouse, live in Washington state with 12,977 confirmed cases and 723 deaths. (Washington recorded the very first U.S. COVID-19 case.)

Some of you may have caught photos of Floridians flocking to the beaches. In alphabetical order Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas, are U.S. states that have begun to ease their COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ previously issued “stay-at-home” mandate has transitioned to a “safer-at-home” one.

To borrow words from an email my graduate school alma mater (Johns Hopkins University)’s president, Ronald J. Daniels, recently shared with the alumni community,

. . . it is fair to say that this moment — unlike any other we have experienced in our lifetimes — is a study in stark contrasts.

On the one hand, it is a time of immense human tragedy and fiscal upheaval. [In our own unique ways, using our own unique skills and talent, w]e are working tirelessly to keep our communit[ies] safe . . . We are also facing profound projected economic losses as nearly every aspect of our work — from teaching to research to clinical care — has been adversely affected by the pandemic, and we are required to undertake firm and difficult actions . . .

On the other hand, the pandemic has been a time of truly inspiring achievement . . . remarkable grace, determination, ingenuity, and compassion to this moment.

Please look for next week’s fourth installment of our COVID-19 Global Employment Effects series to read more unique stories from our APCDA members. In the meantime, take a look at the following spreadsheet which provides an Overview of COVID-19 Results Across Our 45 APCDA Country/Areas. (Source: Some of the data comes from the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center,, some comes Wikipedia, where cases are constantly updated from resources around the world. Daily situation reports are also available on the World Health Organization site. The various sources that are tracking and aggregating coronavirus data update at different times and may have different ways of gathering data.)

Overview of COVID-19 Results Across Our 45 APCDA Country/Areas

As of April 24, 2020-- COVID-19 FREE Zone
APCDA Country/Area Confirmed Recovered Deaths
Australia 6,694 5,372 80
Azerbaijan 1,645 1,080 21
Bangladesh 4,998 112 140
Bhutan 7 3 0
Brunei Darussalam 138 120 1
Cambodia 122 117 0
Canada 45,493 16,320 2,462
China 83,909 77,346 4,642
Cook Islands 0 0 0
Fiji 18 10 0
Guam 141 128 5
Hong Kong 1,038 753 4
India 26,917 5,210 779
Indonesia 8,882 1,042 720
Japan 13,231 2,536 360
Kazakhstan 2,693 646 25
Kiribati 0 0 0
Korea 10,728 8,635 240
Laos 19 4 0
Macau 45 27 0
Malaysia 5,780 3,762 98
Maldives 191 17 0
Marshall Islands 0 0 0
Micronesia 0 0 0
Mongolia 38 9 0
Myanmar 146 10 5
Nauru 0 0 0
Nepal 52 16 0
New Zealand 1,470 1,142 18
Pakistan 12,723 2,866 269
Palau 0 0 0
Papua New Guinea 8 0 0
Philippines 7,579 862 501
Samoa 0 0 0
Singapore 13,624 1,002 12
Solomon Islands 0 0 0
Sri Lanka 477 120 7
Taiwan 429 281 6
Thailand 2,922 2,594 51
Timor-Leste 24 2 0
Tonga 0 0 0
Tuvalu 0 0 0
USA 940,797 108,000 54,172
Vanuatu 0 0 0
Vietnam 270 225 0

Countries/Areas currently represented on our Country/Area Council are shown in bold.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19 Global Employment Effects, Part 2

By Phoenix Ho

The following article, written by our NEW APCDA Country/Area Council Representative for Vietnam, is part two of an ongoing series of APCDA articles which began in the Sunday, April 12th issue of our online NEWS. This series looks across our Asia Pacific Region at how our members are each, uniquely, coping with their NEW reality as they move through and beyond the current Global CO-VID 19 Pandemic.

Let me begin by extending my heartfelt wishes for health and safety to each and every one of you within our APCDA family. I also want to thank you for the opportunity to share the unique way I have been coping with the current COVID-19 pandemic in my home country of Vietnam. Keeping in mind the questions listed below that were posed by Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair) my NEW Normal follows; beginning with some strategies being employed in my workplace to keep up with the changes and following with some lessons learned.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

A new start

My company, Song An Career Development Social Enterprise, started our journey on the 2nd of January 2020. Previously, we were a career development department under Hon Viet (Viet Insight), an applied psychology company. We were encouraged by the upper management to split off and become a social enterprise due to our potential growth as well as our purpose-driven vision. Everything ran smoothly until COVID-19 hit.

Change management strategy

Since late January 2020, when the first COVID-19 cases were recorded here in Vietnam, our Song An Career Development Social Enterprise team has employed two career theories in our change management, the Chaos Theory and the Planned Happenstance Theory. We accepted that no matter how well we planned our first year in the start-up journey, uncontrollable chaos could hit our path anytime and it was no use sitting there complaining or wishing it away. We also learned from the history of world economic recessions and/or tragedies, those who persevered, adapted and held a clear vision would be the ones who later, not only survived, but also thrived. Together our team carried out the following steps.

Building team members’ wellbeing

In addition to our biweekly team meetings where we discuss our progress, timeline, projects, cash flow, and other operational matters, I hold individual, weekly meetings with each of my three team members. During these meetings, we do not discuss our work duties. Instead, we talk about our family, our emotional concerns and our personal struggles. We do not dwell on the negative side, nor we try to be unrealistically positive. We simply are there for each other. These meetings are not long in time; usually between 15 to 30 minutes. We also commit to our own plan of physical and emotional health by doing daily exercise and meditation. We regularly check on each other to make sure each team member takes care of their wellbeing. We realized it was hard working from home and being disciplined on healthy habits, so we included wellbeing into our team meeting’s Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) discussion to hold ourselves accountable. This has been our priority because we believe without a healthy body and a clear mind, it is hard to contribute to our team’s growth, especially during this tough time. As a result, our team members work well together, complimenting each other smoothly, daring to show our own vulnerability at times to receive support, and more than ever, we could see our productivity rises up despite ongoing challenges.

Shifting our business model

Thankfully, because our original strategic plan incorporated information technologies into our business model as well as eventually providing online services to our clients and stakeholders, the NEW Normal of working from home was not a shock for us. We just needed to shift at an extraordinary speed; way sooner than we originally planned. We turned my apartment into a home studio, purchased pieces of equipment and services that enabled us to run quality online webinars from home and for the most part, self-taught ourselves the technical side required. (Although we did invite some tech consultant assistance.) Believe it or not, the forced work from home did include some beneficial results. We pushed to the front, all the research projects that we wanted to conduct, yet lacked time to do. This included book publishing, career assessment creating, labor market resources building, career practitioner’s competency framework establishing, professional ethics framework creating, and more. We suddenly became even busier than before COVID-19 began. There was rarely time to be sad or worry because we had so much to do. The results of our re-prioritized actions are hopeful.

Supporting the community

As a social enterprise, we are aware of the problems that COVID-19 is causing to employees, especially those who rely on daily income like Grab bikers, Street food vendors, Lottery ticket salespersons, etc. Therefore, we are helping in our area of capacity. We are producing a video clip with tips on How to Cope During this Chaotic Time while Building One’s Employability Skills. Inside this video clip, we inserted information about free food and government employment agencies. We continue to hold online training workshops for career practitioners to maintain community, keep spirits up and skills sharp. We are launching a free 1-1 career consulting program for our country’s disadvantaged population. We are, like many other organizations in Vietnam, contributing as much as we can.

Learned lessons


I personally feel humbled by this experience. Being born and growing up in the post-war time, I thought what I had experienced back then was amazing enough. Yet nothing could compare to today’s pandemic days; waking up and going to bed with the unknown of tomorrow. Going through waves of an emotional roller-coaster when reading the global and national news regarding the COVID-19 virus status. Bracing myself and taking solid steps forward despite the fear of possible company bankruptcy looming on the horizon. Focusing on the present moments, striving for excellence, yet not forgetting both the short- and long-term goals ahead of me. All of these thoughts and behaviors have woven into each other and given me such clarity of life that I have not experienced until now.


More than ever I hang on and practice the core values I treasure the most: lifelong learning, community contributing and holistic development. Every single aspect of my life reflects these three values. They help me stay grounded and keep me grateful for the present moments. I do not know what will happen in two months, six months or two years from now. I do not even wish to anticipate it. I simply perform my best every day and believe that the seeds I have been planting will somehow blossom at some future point.

(Please look for next week’s third installment of our COVID-19 Global Employment Effects series from our new Philippines Country/Area Council representative, Maryrose Macaraan.)


Phoenix Ho, M.Ed., M.A., was raised by traditional Vietnamese parents and influenced by educator mentors in the Bay Area, California, U.S. Ms. Ho has trained herself to become bilingual and bi-cultural in Vietnamese and American culture. Her own career development journey took 12 years before she discovered her career match. Her passion is to enable young Vietnamese to discover their motivated skills and find a suitable career. Her current projects include creating a career assessment for Vietnamese youth and building a Dictionary of Occupational Titles in Vietnam by working closely with the local community associations, business entities and government offices. Ms. Ho completed her Bachelor of International Business in the U.S., her Master of Educational Leadership and Management in Australia, and her Master of Career Development Counseling in the U.S.

Moving through and beyond COVID-19 Global Employment Effects

By Natalie Kauffman and Soonhoon Ahn

Soonhoon Ahn (APCDA Founder, First President and current Membership Chair) and I (APCDA former Newsletter Committee Chair and ongoing APCDA News reporter) recently chatted by phone to check in with each other and confirm each other’s health and safety regarding self, immediate and extended family. (We are well and extend our heartfelt wishes for health and safety to each and every one of you within our APCDA family.) Since Soonhoon and I currently serve together in APCDA activities as well as in the National Career Development Association’s Global Connections Committee, our conversation moved to a discussion of the current, ongoing and future state of employment around the globe.

Soonhoon followed up our conversation by emailing me the following questions. My immediate thoughts and ideas follow them. However, we invite you to consider your own answers to them and ask you to share them with our APCDA family by writing and submitting them to our APCDA News team for ongoing publication as we together move through and beyond the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

  • What is your vision for employment beyond COVID-19?
  • What changes do you anticipate?
  • What strategies will you employ to keep up with the changes?
  • What opportunities do you see?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

As with many of our recent millennial crises, such as 9/11 in the USA and the economic downturn/Great Recession of 2007-2010, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting national as well as global job markets. At the end of this current crisis, what jobs will no longer exist, which ones will be tenuous and what new ones will appear?

Quick 'googling' revealed that the four coordinated terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 caused job loss, especially in the transportation industry and the aerospace/defense sector. Tourism in New York City plummeted, and international travel took a hit. The 2007-2010 economic downturn/Great Recession resulted in more than 2.5 million lost jobs in the U.S. It especially affected the construction, manufacturing, and financial services industries, but also included hospitality, printing, publishing and more.

Currently, virtual work capability is an absolute must. Healthcare is going strong with those workers involved with pandemic treatment and senior living care, but not with workers involved with elective patient procedures and everyday doctor visits.

Retraining, worker skill retooling and especially technology upgrading remained especially important during and following the economic downturn/Great Recession of 2007-2010 and I am certain will continue to be so as we move through and beyond COVID-19 effects. According to Associated Press journalist, Christopher Rugaber's US Jobs report article in the Saturday April 4th Baltimore Sun, "A grim snapshot of the U.S. job market's sudden collapse emerged Friday with a report that employers shed hundreds of thousands of jobs . . ."

Two important strategies are needed to keep up with the changes:

  1. Become or continue to be an informed reader of news and research articles regarding employment, job loss and job creation.
  2. Connect regularly with your field's/your industry's global counterparts to share current realities, solutions and brainstorm solutions to unresolved problems. (Don't waste time reinventing wheels. Maximize efforts of others by using or building upon what's working. Work together to craft possibilities to resolve what isn't working.)

(This article is first in a series from our APCDA family. Please look for next week’s article from our new Vietnam Country/Area Council representative, Phoenix Ho.)

The Economic Impact of the Coronavirus in Asia Pacific

By Han Kok Kwang
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,

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 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.


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 (

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, and in Macao (Tien, available at

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  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 (  Contact me at if want to know more about these or other findings.

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