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Would Artificial Intelligence be the catalyst of jobs losses in the future?

One of the most controversial aspects of today’s technological revolution is the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs and human capital with the US being the leading country affected by this crucial shift. When would this revolution catapult Asia to being parallel with the US? Are human jobs undoubtedly going to be obsolete in the coming years? Are we heading towards a bleak outcome of the future?

According to a report by MIT and Boston University, an estimation of about 2 million workers will be displaced from their jobs in manufacturing alone by 2030. 11 Asian markets are thoroughly studied, 12% of jobs are at a high risk of being automated away in the next few years. It is of no doubt that if your job is repetitive and routine based, it is substantially at risk of automation. You might subconsciously ask yourself, could a machine possibly do my job? The answer is relatively subjective. It varies from different work sectors that one is in, with these listed jobs being the highest in the automation food chain, for instance, food and preparation services (81%), production operations (79%), office and administrative support (60%), transportation and material moving (55%) as reported by Brookings Institutions.

Could a machine possibly do my job? The answer is relatively subjective.

Many highly skilled jobs in developed markets will definitely benefit and be augmented by artificial intelligence’s (AI) existence (11%) than in less developed economies with a mere (6%). For less developed countries with a salaried workforce that fall under the high-risk category are mainly from Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Data from these statistics have been extracted and measured against different countries’ and industries’ forecasts on 17 categories of various emerging technology.

Based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) employment statistics, for specific job-related tasks, the data showed that AI’s effect on job automation would be massive on wealthier economies than the poorer ones (14% as opposed to 10%). Labor constrained countries like Singapore, China and Japan are highly likely to be the fastest to seize various jobs opportunities created by AI, this is particularly accurate as to which degree a job is required and enhanced is solely determined by a country’s different economic and social structures and its technological readiness.

Labor constrained countries like Singapore, China and Japan are highly likely to be the fastest to seize various jobs opportunities created by AI

An interesting excerpt from the book by author Daniel Susskind “A World Without Work: Technology, Automation and How We Should Respond”, “Machines don’t fall ill, they don’t need to isolate to protect peers, they don’t need to take time off work.” This noteworthy statement acts as a revelation to all, where one should constantly upskill themselves and be multifaceted in this everyday fast paced environment, one skill is insufficient for what is yet to come. Underdeveloped countries with specialized skilled workers find themselves wrangling on low wage labor needs to reposition themselves.

The human lineage has been constantly evolving since major events took place during the evolution of modern human species which have since begun approximately 4.2 billion years ago. It is inevitably now the race of the survivability of the fittest and that is us – homo sapiens. In reference to the book “Blueprint” by Robert Plomin, Plomin emphasizes on the significance of environmental forces where the fate of individuals and societies are relied upon structural, experiential, and historical factors. How did homosapiens gain dominance? It prominently stemmed from our ability to adapt from mild circumstances to extreme environments and our goals to achieve and strive towards a better future.

In practice or in theory, AI and automation should unbound humans from everyday mundane, monotonous or even threatening tasks that might put their lives at risk. In this day and age, humans should take on more intellectually stimulating and value-added assignments and jobs, companies would flourish, be more efficient and productive thus workers’ wages would subsequently be raised nonetheless.

As Andrew Yang mentioned in his book “The War on Normal People”, it is the government and corporate entities responsibility to identify displaced workers over a range of industries thus having the resources to pay for mass retraining regardless of age, but this notion and idea may be immensely far fetched as not every person would have the physical and mental capacity to be retrained in an in-demand field. To retrain young adults might not be that hard of a feat but the real challenge comes with retraining middle aged workers. The success rate for retraining retrenched middle aged workers due to automation is merely (15%). Effective dissemination of information by the government has to be done in real time, there needs to be employers who are looking to employ a large number of newly trained middle aged workers.

The success rate for retraining retrenched middle aged workers due to automation is merely (15%). There needs to be employers who are looking to employ a large number of newly trained middle aged workers.

Technology will continue to be deployed, employees should be given abundance of time to transition into new roles and pick up on new skills. An opposing fact to the above whereby circumstances might not be aligned with what the corporate firms or government might have in their agenda, those who are unfortunate in losing their jobs would have to seek for retraining and uplifting of skills within their own means by using severance pay or unemployment benefits to work in various other fields not within their expertise.

Automation will ultimately eradicate certain jobs, but as the world is at a constant pace of change where technological advancement will continue to prosper, more jobs will be needed when it comes to working alongside robots – data scientist, quantum machine learning analysts, augmented journey reality builder, genomic portfolio director. However, not everyone has the right skill sets or learning capabilities to take on source, channel or cryptographic coding, that may be difficult to grasp. However, jobs like teachers, therapists, artisans, healthcare professionals are to be high in demand. All of these jobs require a copious amount of social intelligence, creativity, compassion and empathy – jobs that prioritize emotional human attributes that AI have yet to fully manifest or maybe AI could embody these attributes in more decades to come and that is for us homosapiens to eventually find out.


Singapore, 8 December 2020

A separate initiative for a new innovation base in Western China will also be set up for talent development


Two Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) agreements to deepen research and talent development in China were announced today at the 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting, the highest-level annual forum between China and Singapore.

Present at the virtual meeting were Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and China’s vice premier Han Zheng, co-chairs of the JCBC meeting.

The first is a S$61 million (RMB300 million) funding for the Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute (SSIJRI) in Guangzhou, China’s hub for IT, biomedical science, and robotics.

In the second initiative, NTU will set up the NTU China (West) Entrepreneurship and Innovation Base in the Yubei District of Chongqing to develop next-generation entrepreneurs. It will leverage the University’s brand of world-class entrepreneurship education and create an innovation-driven ecosystem, while tapping on the city’s resources as a burgeoning entrepreneurship and innovation hub.

S$61 million to ramp up R&D at the Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute (SSIJRI)

 As part of a new agreement, the SSIJRI will receive S$61 million (RMB 300 million) funding for its next phase of development over the next five years.

This includes setting up at least three research and development (R&D) centres that will focus on emerging industries such as digital technologies, new energy, and biomedical-related areas.

Co-founded by NTU, the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (CSGKC) Administrative Committee, the South China University of Technology (SCUT), and the CSGKC Investment and Development Co., Ltd (GKC Co.), the joint research institute promotes research innovation and aims to turn scientific and technological achievements into marketable solutions for the society at large. It is expected to play a pivotal role in the Guangdong-Hongkong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

It was incepted in 2015 through an agreement witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and established two years later.

SSIJRI has since embarked on 45 innovative projects, yielding over 90 research papers published in renowned scientific journals. Aside from over 70 patent applications, the Institute has facilitated the licensing of five patents – with a total value of S$1.7 million (RMB 8.6 million) – from NTU to Chinese companies.

The Institute’s research teams have also set up three joint research centres, and collaborations with other industry partners are underway.

Going forward, the SSIJRI aims to launch at least 40 new research projects and file at least 100 new patent applications by 2025.

NTU Senior Vice-President (Research), Prof Lam Khin Yong, who co-chairs the SSIJRI’s Governing Council, said: “The Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute (SSIJRI) is a landmark project for scientific and technological collaboration between China and Singapore, and shows how a public-private collaboration model can yield remarkable results in translational research, technology commercialisation and incubation. Leveraging NTU Singapore’s strength in interdisciplinary research and strong credentials in technology innovations, the SSIJRI has resulted in a steady flow of innovative ideas that can be translated into real-world solutions.

“The Institute’s work is aligned with the NTU Smart Campus vision of using tech-enabled solutions to support knowledge discovery and promote better learning and living experiences, and allows the University to push the frontiers of research and translate it into beneficial outcomes to better society on a wider scale.”

SCUT Vice President Professor Zhu Min, who also co-chairs the Institute’s Governing Council, said: “The agreement will bring new opportunities for the development of the Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute. SCUT will work together with NTU Singapore to build the Institute into an exemplary model of scientific and technological cooperation between China and Singapore.”

Successful research outcomes arising from the collaboration will be implemented at CSGKC, with the support of the GKC Co.

A CSGKC Administrative Committee spokesperson said: “With the elevation of China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City’s strategic position, it is hoped that the Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute can be built into a new scientific research institute that takes the lead in technological cooperation and innovation between China and Singapore, and a new highland in international technological innovation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.”

Mr Chen Changxin, GKC Co. CEO, said: “The Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute is an iconic government-industry-academia collaboration between China and Singapore. As one of the Institute’s Governing Council members, GKC Co. will continue to support the Institute’s development and facilitate the commercialisation of the scientific and technological achievements from the Institute’s projects.”

SSIJRI is expected to move into its headquarters at the China-Singapore Smart Park in the core of China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City’s Southern Start-Up Area in mid-2021. The 23,000 sqm space will house R&D facilities, research and administration personnel, as well as the Institute’s spin-off companies.

New NTU China (West) Entrepreneurship and Innovation Base for talent development

The new NTU China (West) Entrepreneurship and Innovation Base in Yubei, Chongqing, is an industry-academia collaboration between NTU and the Chongqing Yubei District People’s Government (YDPG) that aims to jointly develop talent and create an ecosystem driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.

It will be set up in the Xiantao International Big Data Valley, where more than 700 companies have set up offices, including big names such as Microsoft and Qualcomm.

Under a joint talent development platform, both parties will explore setting up a new joint MiniMasters™ programme on technopreneurship, where students attend hybrid classes on the NTU campus in Singapore and at the Innovation Base in Chongqing.

NTU will also introduce certification courses to groom entrepreneurial leaders to meet the needs of western China, and to raise the quality of entrepreneurship education in the region.

This builds on an NTU-YDPG internship programme launched in May, through which NTU students can experience the vibrancy and agility of the tech companies in Yubei and build up expertise in fast-growing fields such as big data and artificial intelligence.

Aside from talent development, the Innovation Base also aims to develop a thriving ecosystem that brings together innovative ideas and resources from Singapore and around the world.

NTU Deputy President and Provost, Prof Ling San said that NTU’s latest partnership with the Chongqing Yubei District People’s Government on entrepreneurship education builds on the two parties’ earlier agreement where NTU students take on technology-related internship opportunities in the Yubei district.

“Pairing the University’s broad and vibrant approach to entrepreneurship with Chongqing’s industrial advantages to create an innovation ecosystem that nurtures next-generation entrepreneurs in China. This in turn creates a conducive environment for NTU students to experience the agility of the startup companies there,” said Prof Ling.

Mr Tan Qing, Chief Executive of the YDPG, said: “Yubei District is Chongqing’s launchpad to the world and a crucial foundation of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity. It is aggressively pursuing an innovation-driven development strategy to establish five mega industry clusters, each worth at least RMB100 billion.

“Yubei District and NTU will jointly establish a new innovation base to further strengthen mutual co-operation in talent development as well as innovation and liberalisation of the digital economy. This initiative will signal a high watermark in China-Singapore relations and propel Chongqing’s leadership in the liberalisation and development of the western region.”

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Chongqing, 30 Nov 2020 – NIEI, the training private arm of the National Institute of Education (NIE) Singapore, conducted their first online training with Chongqing Bashu Secondary School during their 9th Annual Academic Conference on 30th Nov 2020.

The session commenced at 6.30pm with Professor Paul Teng, MD and Dean of NIEI sharing his joy in working with Bashu Secondary School since the MOU was signed in Oct 2020.

Professor Paul Teng, MD and Dean of NIEI

At 6.40pm, Principal Tan took over to share with Bashu on the topic: “School management model and challenges faced by schools in the post-pandemic period”.  The session ends at 7.50pm.

Principal Tan, NIEI Course Lecturer

Principal Tan giving a lecture on ‘An Organization’s Adaptability and Resilience in Facing a Crisis’

Mr Li Siao He, Vice Principal, Chongqing Bashu Secondary School (李潇珂, 重庆巴蜀中学副校长)

On 1 Oct 2020, NIEI and Chongqing Bashu Secondary School signed an online strategic agreement to establish a long-term cooperation mechanism in education, training, cultural exchanges and other aspects to promote mutual progress.

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Copyright © 2020 WiseNet Asia Pte Ltd.  All Rights Reserved


The job market is getting more challenging for job seekers with global recession from the pandemic, and also with the acceleration of AI technology in the interview process. Over the past few years, our experts have carefully studied the hiring process of top companies across various industries. We have learnt how the AI interviews are being structured, the most common skills they’re looking for and what you can do to land your dream job. Keep reading to find out more about the top hacks to pass your interview in 2021.

The rise of AI in the job market

Many Asian companies are now switching to virtual interviews and recruitment webinars when it comes to hiring new talent. Most of these companies are now testing out artificial intelligence(AI) to hire candidates as well. This is due to the time-saving benefits that come with AI in the hiring process. It has the potential to automate most of the process and help these companies save a lot of time. The recruiter could easily arrange and organize many files, positions and applications at once.

AI is now becoming one of the most widely used recruitment techniques by companies in Japan and it is being used in the initial stages of sorting, ranking, and shortlisting candidates. This process usually involves the usage of past data from successful and unsuccessful applicants. This data is used to train the AI machine for the hiring process.

Using AI for recruiting candidates is not a new process, but it is becoming more and more popular among Japanese companies. This is where culture becomes a factor in the hiring process of candidates.

AI is being used by most of these companies to collect the data of candidates and students that have been recorded over the years. This will help them in making accurate decisions when it comes to selecting candidates. A human recruiter may want to select candidates based on his likes and dislike and this can turn out to leave a negative impact on the company.

Companies are regularly testing the collected data to ensure that the objectives and goals that they need are being met by candidates. It is believed that the application of AI will become more popular in the coming years.

How to have a successful job interview

One of the things that many job seekers fear is rejection. This is why so many job seekers get nervous especially when it’s their first interview. Having a successful job interview is not just about the qualifications and experience that you have. It’s also about being confident and understanding how the process works.  By following the best practices, you will build your confidence, answer questions comfortably, and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Do your research

The most important thing to do before going for an interview is to make adequate research about the company.  Look out for as much information as possible to make sure that it is a company you would like to work with. Look out for their successful projects, their financial stability and how well the employees are being treated.

Prepare your questions

This is one of the interview hacks that a lot of job seekers seem to miss out. Going for an interview doesn’t mean that you will only be answering questions. There will be a section of the interview where the employer asks if you have any questions for them.

When you ask questions, it shows them that you are interested in the position and you have done your research. Saying ‘No’ at this point can stand against you and affect the rest of the interview. To have a much higher chance of winning the interview, try preparing some questions ahead.

Dress for success

This is another important factor that can determine the success of your interview. Aside from your qualifications, make sure that you are well dressed for the interview. You don’t have to wear expensive suit, so just pick something that makes you feel confident. Try picking the clothes you want to wear a night before the interview day so that you won’t need to rush. Ensure to stay clean and confident.

Take important files and arrive on time

Another interview hack is to always prepare copies of your work portfolio when going for an interview. Even if you have sent it as an email, you need to show them proof of your skills and experience.  By bringing it along, it will build your credibility and make it easier to tell your story. After preparing all the important files, make sure that you respect the schedule. This means that you should not arrive too late or too early. The best practice is to arrive 10-15 minutes before the start of your interview. This helps in making a good first impression on the recruiter and gives you more edge over other candidates.

Stay positive during the interview

You must maintain a positive conversation throughout the interview. Try as much as possible to avoid negative remarks when asked about your past experience. Focus on the lessons you learnt from the experience and don’t try to blame anyone from your past. This shows the recruiter that you are confident in your skills and experience.

Watch your body language

To win a job interview is not just about the things you say. You need to understand how to respond to a professional environment. Your recruiter will closely observe your body language during the interview. Make sure to speak, smile, maintain a good posture and shake hands when necessary.

Tips for a successful interview with artificial intelligence

Always study past questions

One thing that is common about AI interviews is the repetition of question format. The questions won’t be repeated word for word, but it usually has the same structure. Study the recommended texts that were used for the same interview by previous candidates.

Stay focused throughout

When it comes to AI interviews, you must remember that you will be staring into a camera throughout. If you make too many mistakes, the machine automatically disqualifies you. Therefore, make sure that you don’t occupy your mind with distractions, stay focused and try your best to answer the questions. You can try practicing a few times in front of the mirror. By doing this, you will learn more about yourself and discover some habits that need to be changed. The bots have been trained to study all mannerisms and facial features that you may have.

Record your answers

Some companies will give candidates a limited amount of time to answer the questions. Not finishing your answers on time means that you get cut off the section with only a few chances left. Develop your answers and make sure that they are short, succinct and effective. Even if the company promise to give a second trial, respond to the questions as if you only have one shot. You can also try to record your answers during practice. Listen to them over and over again and look out for areas that need corrections.


Winning an interview might be easier than you think. A lot for people keep failing interviews because they don’t prepare enough. Always prepare your mind for any interview you want to attend. Stay confident that the outcome will be positive and make sure to put in your best. You can also seek advice from people who have successfully passed the interview in the past.  This will keep you ahead of the competition and make it easier to land your dream job.


Chongqing, 22 Nov 2020

The Chongqing Talent Conference was held successfully in Chongqing Yue Lai Convention Center on 21 and 22 Nov.

Chongqing Party Secretary Chen Min’er and Chongqing Municipal Party Committee Deputy Secretary and Mayor Tang Liangzhi graced the opening ceremony.

The two-day conference consists of talent recruitment roadshows, competitions and project co-operation signing particularly in the fields of big data, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, integrated circuits, organized by the various Chongqing district governments.

More than 1,800 talents in areas critical to the development and growth of Chongqing have been attracted to work in Chongqing, including the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle.  In addition, more than 250 entrepreneurial projects and agreements were being signed.

Over 56 million people watched the exhibition through the cloud, and 77 million people watched the conference through a live stream.

WiseNet Asia’s GM (China), Karen Woong attended the event as a special guest.  According to Ms Woong, “Having worked closely with companies under the ‘Singapore-China Chongqing Connectivity Initiative’ and The Belt and Road Initiative, we have built up a huge pool of talent base which will facilitate the projected growth in Western China over the next decade.  WiseNet Asia is committed to talent connectivity between Western China and Singapore, not just in the area of talent attraction (recruitment) but also in other areas such as talent development and internships for young talents.”



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Globally, a new workplace trend is emerging — one that is digitally-driven, more empathetic in improving society, and more agile in customer needs. And the primary catalyst for this overnight shift? A pandemic.

In Malaysia, the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) to control the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant economic contraction. This is primarily due to the sharp decrease in demand for manufacturing and commodities.

As in many other ASEAN countries, the tourism sector, which contributes largely to the national GDP, has also been hit hard by the pandemic. The international border closure and stringent interstate travel ban mean that people are no longer travelling for non-essential reasons for the time being.

The Department of Statistic Malaysia reports that approximately 745,100 people were unemployed in July 2020

The Department of Statistic Malaysia reports that approximately 745,100 people were unemployed in July 2020. To weather the impact of this adversity, the Malaysian government has introduced several measures in April 2020 in regards to tax relief, wage subsidies and other economic stimulus packages.

It is, however, without a doubt that these government measures are a short-term one; hence, employees must adapt to the new post-COVID-19 hiring trend and demand if they want to remain competitive in the Malaysian job market.

This post explores the top industries that are likely to hire more in Malaysia, benefits of hiring post-COVID-19, top factors that will affect recruitment, the relevant skills needed, and the future of the workplace in Malaysia.

Which top industries will be hiring post-COVID-19?

While it is true that some industries are badly affected, there are top three industries that are experiencing a boom amid the pandemic.

They are:

  • Food retail

As more people become housebound, food retail is increasingly regarded as an essential frontline service. McKinsey reports that not only are consumers simply increasing their online spending on food and grocery, they are also looking for value-for-money products and puts food safety and locally-sourced food as their top priorities.

Therefore, food businesses are providing abundant employment opportunities to people who are currently out of work. The growing demand for delivery also requires them to pivot to digital means more than ever now. Whether finding more drivers or riders to deliver the products or more strategists to reshape their business in a new normal, food retail is the emerging winner to support the livelihoods for millions of people.

  • Health and Wellness

As COVID-19 is the most significant global healthcare crisis in a century, it is only logical to see people getting more health-conscious, thus fueling the wellness economy and health industry, in general.

From healthcare analyst to data scientist, the boom in this industry is evident through many openings in career websites. Beyond the simple precautions of wearing a mask and rigorous hand washing, consumers are now looking into the pursuit of physical, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual well-being. The proliferation of on-demand healthy food delivery, online health consultation platforms and wellness apps prior to the pandemic will only get bigger now.

  • Information Technology

Being digitally-savvy is a prerequisite for businesses to survive in the pandemic. From machine learning adoption, website creation, to secure online payment, businesses will be restructuring their ecosystem with a focus on technology.

Hence, jobs such as software developers, robotic engineers and digital marketers are in high demand as businesses strive to comply with stringent social distancing measure, while ensuring a seamless and highly-personalised customer experience

What benefits companies get from hiring new staff post-COVID-19?

  • Top talents are in demand

While it is true that many companies resort to layoffs in an economic recession, there are visionary companies and long-term thinkers who go in a completely different direction and start hiring top candidates to fulfil mission-critical aspects of their businesses. Even if you are not being laid off, the time is prime for you to keep an eye out for career opportunities should you be looking to switch industries.

  • Deal with immense growth in demand for labour-intensive activities

As aforementioned, the digitalisation of many businesses and the containment measure of COVID-19 has led to the growth in demand for labour-intensive activities such as product delivery and food retail.

Even if automation and technological substitution take centre stage in this pandemic, they take time to mature. Businesses will still have to hire new staff to meet current customer demands.

What are the top factors that will affect hiring post-COVID-19?

  • Transformed hiring process

With the limited physical interaction, companies will have to adopt a virtual interview process which largely involves video interviews. As a result, HR professionals are finding it harder to decide as candidates could not display the appropriate body language online that plays an important role in hiring.

Due to widespread retrenchments, candidates might also face longer interview processes and need to compete for roles, as many companies still refrain from hiring.

  • New skills needed

The shifting consumer behaviour that we are seeing when the pandemic hit is set to be a permanent change; hence, businesses need to be more agile in catering to consumer needs. Upskilling and reskilling are needed for candidates to remain relevant in the post-COVID-19 job market.

What type of skills will be relevant post-COVID-19?

  •  Soft skills: Communication and Empathy

The work-from-home (WFH) phenomenon, also widely known as remote working, requires office professionals to develop stronger communication strategies and skill. Developing the right digital body language is crucial to get the right message across a specific virtual platform for effective leadership.

The best leaders in major organisations around the world also prioritise empathy and humanity when running a business. In a post-pandemic world, we are expected to learn from the pandemic and pay more attention to the environment as well as local communities in need of societal and economic support.

  • Customer Service

Following the significant spike in e-commerce sales, e-commerce is likely to outlast the pandemic. With it comes the expectation of stellar customer service, as the failure to ensure that will result in customer attrition.

Therefore, job seekers not only need to have the basic skills of communication and problem-solving, but they also need to realise the importance of a seamless customer experience. A multichannel approach where customers can conveniently switch devices and/or channels as they require or like will give customers the ultimate flexibility to engage with businesses.

  • Data Science and Computer Science

The boom in data-driven technologies can be seen simply from the couch in our living room: Netflix, which enjoyed immense popularity at the height of the pandemic.

Without doubt, data science and computer science are playing a key role in many businesses today. The COVID-19 research in many countries is also accelerated by big data to track viruses on a global basis and develop treatment procedures.

Moving beyond traditional means of reports and number crunching, data science and computer science help businesses develop platforms to assess risk, realign strategies, and make stronger decisions based on it.

  • Digital Marketing and Sales

With the onset of the pandemic, most brick-and-mortar stores and events moved to the virtual space to generate leads and drive sales. In contrast to traditional marketing, digital marketing takes place entirely online which is proven beneficial when a stringent physical distancing is in place.

With the enormous amount of data and handy analytics tools, businesses can gain insights and analyze performance to maximize return on investments and make informed decisions.

In Malaysia, there are several institutions that provide digital upskilling to ensure Malaysians succeed in the digital economy. For instance, Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) offers digital skills training and courses for people with different levels of education, and also partners with top employers to provide digital reskilling for employees. Meanwhile, 42KL offers a free peer-to-peer program for people who are interested to jumpstart their career as a software engineer. Other similar initiatives include Akademi General Assembly (GA), NEXT Academy and Forward School.

What will the future workplace look like?

Remote working, once a fringe business practice, has become a required necessity for the masses. To adapt efficiently, businesses start leveraging communication and collaboration tools such as Trello, Slack, and Zoom to optimize work-from-home (WFH) productivity. Despite that, KPMG Malaysia reports that the challenges remain in terms of substandard network issues, digital communication barriers and lack of technology readiness.

Apart from that, during times of economic downturn, automation rapidly displaces human work as human capital becomes expensive in a financially-constrained business. While that is inevitable, automation and machines only primarily focus on data processing, manual jobs and administrative tasks, while humans still have the upper hand in skills such as decision-making and strategizing.

Hence, in a post-COVID-19 reality, robots and humans are expected to be working alongside each other. Workers who choose to adapt and possess a hybrid of soft and hard skills, especially ones that are digitally-driven, will remain relevant in a post-pandemic Malaysian job market.


WiseNetAsia Knowledge Center
Copyright © 2020 WiseNet Asia Pte Ltd.  All Rights Reserved


A guide on remote internships for interns and employers in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, and China and the benefits that come with it.

Everywhere around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has sent a large percentage of the total population to work and study from home. While the situation in some countries have changed for the better and people have gone back to resuming their daily lives with the ‘new normal’, most countries are still keeping their borders closed and have imposed an indefinite travel ban, making this a challenge for students keen on going for international internship programmes.

According to the Ivy Research Council, 89% of students pursuing a 2020 summer internship would prefer a remote internship over a canceled internship programme. As a result, an increasing number of employers with internship programmes across the world have opted to transition to remote internships, rather than cancelling or postponing their internship programmes.

What Is a Remote Internship?

Remote internships, also known as virtual internships, are unique in the sense the intern does not have to be in a physical office. Interns are interviewed and allowed to work from anywhere, including across states and countries. For example, the intern could be based at home in Singapore and is undergoing internship with a company in Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, or China.

Remote internship enables interns to work anywhere in the world

With the upcoming Industry 4.0, the increasing development of communication technologies, and new remote-working cultures, remote internships are the way forward at this age and time. All you need is a fully-functioning and stable internet connection, a reliable laptop or desktop computer, a webcam, headphones and a bold mindset and you are good to go.

While the working arrangements may be different, the timeline for remote internships is typically the same as collocated internships – 3 to 6 months, requiring 20 to 30 hours work per week.

Which Countries and Industries Offer Remote Internship?

Numerous countries have started to offer remote internships and this includes the world’s second-biggest economy – China. The country saw growth of 4.9% between the months of July and September, compared to the same quarter last year. Moreover, over the previous two decades, China saw an average economic growth rate of about 9%.

Chongqing’s rapid growth over the last 15 years has created remote internship opportunities for overseas students

In the city of Chongqing, located at Sichuan Province, the significant rise in its economy and rapid urbanization over the last 15 years has encouraged the rise in remote internship opportunities from entrepreneurial startups as well as larger well-known companies in a vast range of fields such as software engineering, accountancy, fashion, arts, and green technology.

As Chongqing rises to the 4th place among top 10 Chinese Cities by GDP in H1 2020, surpassing Guangzhou, Suzhou and Chengdu, the city’s rapid economic growth has created thriving business districts, with a diverse range of established companies including Apple, Deloitte, IBM, ZTE, Schlumberger, Schneider Electric, and ABB.

Already, the city attracts an ever-increasing number of career-minded young people from across China and around the world to gain professional experience through their remote internship programmes. With recent travel restrictions, there is no doubt that the numbers will increase.

Besides China, the same can be said with Singapore’s neighbouring countries – Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia. In those countries, remote internships are growing rapidly in popularity as a viable alternative for interns and employers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the Benefits of a Remote Internship?

Most of the benefits are similar to an in-person internship programmes such as gaining valuable work experience, developing and refining skills, and exploring the possibilities of a future career path. However, remote internships do offer unique benefits that cannot be obtained from traditional in-person internships.

Experience Remote Work

As more and more people in the workforce are encouraged and exposed to the idea to work remotely, landing a remote internship is a timely and smart move. Use this opportunity to gain valuable work experience and learn how to apply remote project management techniques, optimize on current resources, and utilize relevant software applications such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. Seize this moment to gain employability skills.

Reduced Costs

Going on an internship in another country can be challenging and costly for the intern as well as the employer. There is the air ticket fare, extra baggage, commuting expenses, accommodation rentals, and new equipment. With remote internship, cost-savings benefits include reduced traveling expenditures, lower or zero housing costs, and less office equipment expenses.

Greater Diversity and Global Perspective

Remote internship means you are no longer limited geographically. By removing location as a barrier for recruitment and employment, the pool of potential employers and interns open up significantly. You could have a team from Singapore, China, Australia, Malaysia and Thailand working on a project together. The diversity of ideas and backgrounds from people from all over the world create richer work environments and innovative outcomes.

Convenient Working Arrangements

Employers and interns typically find the flexible working package to be attractive. One such example is unlike a typical 9 to 5 office day internship programme, meetings can be done online and scheduled at a time that is convenient for everyone. There are no unnecessary disturbances and interruptions to the current workflow.

Increased Accountability, Productivity and Results

With clear deadlines, self-organization skills, self-discipline and time management skills, remote interns become more accountable when it comes to handling their own schedules and finishing tasks. Their productivity levels increase significantly and they produce better results. Furthermore, with the help of relevant task management software, a supervisor can now support and address the issues of many interns at one time, rather than 1 or 2 interns.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that working from home can be done efficiently and is still being done for many jobs and companies. Remote internships or virtual internships would not be any different. In fact, with the uncertain future that lies ahead, it is crucial for interns and employers to adapt to the situation. Even when the virus wanes, a remote internship programme is still a viable option.


Singapore, 26 Oct 2020 – With mutual interest in the field of training and development, and to promote international collaboration, WiseNet Asia and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) have signed an MOU to work together in the following areas:

  1. Co-designing of internship programmes for SUSS students in overseas markets
  2. Expand SUSS entrepreneurship programmes to overseas markets, bridging entrepreneurs through networks and activities

WiseNet Asia will work with employers in Asia Pacific on the placements of interns, which will be on either remote internship or on site, depending on COVID-19 developments and measures in each country.  For the entrepreneurship programmes, WiseNet Asia will co-ordinate with overseas companies interested at expanding into Singapore and ASEAN by matching them with a Singaporean co-founder from SUSS who is equipped with entrepreneurial skillsets.

For more information about the internship and entrepreneurship programmes, please refer to the following:

WiseNet Asia internship programmes:  https://wisenetasia.com/hr-solutions/internship-programs/

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) entrepreneurship programmes:  https://www.suss.edu.sg/experience-at-suss/entrepreneurship/alibaba-cloud-suss-entrepreneurship-programme

For companies who are keen to participate in either the internship or the entrepreneurship programme, please contact the following:

Mr Wesley Hui
DID: 6238 0982 / HP: 9661 9473

Annoucement_WiseNet Asia and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) Signed MOU to Collaborate on Internship and Entrepreneurship Programmes.docx

WiseNetAsia Knowledge Center
Copyright © 2020 WiseNet Asia Pte Ltd.  All Rights Reserved


This article outlines a couple of tips for people at different stages in their careers looking to attain growth and advancement in their fields. It presents those tools that are readily available to them and gives an approach to utilizing them effectively to achieve their goals.

Becoming a ‘Breakout’ Star in Your Career – 5 Effective Tips.

Career Growth and advancement comes in a lot of forms, from moving up the corporate ladder to attaining more responsibility in your current position. To achieve any form of intended growth, it is paramount that you have a plan to guide you along the way. Charting a career roadmap will provide you with a basis and a foundation to help you consciously take charge of your career growth.

Here are five tips to get ahead;

Tip #1 – Defining Success

To begin with, achieving progress in your field requires that you define what progress means for you. Every individual has their own definition or understanding of success. Success is a relative term, and there is no wrong or right way to define it. For a fresh start-up employee, success might involve evolution from an entry-level position into a managerial role. On the other hand, veteran employees may define growth and success as venturing into a more powerful role with additional responsibilities and perks.

Whatever it is to you, it matters that you can recognize and define what’s most important to you in your career momentarily and futuristically. This level of forward-thinking will do you a lot of good moving forward because goals always require change and adaptation. Your aims may look different from what you want in five or ten years.

An active way to stay on top of your goals is a chart out where you are currently in your career and where you aim to be in a couple of years. A physical chart or e-document would do in this situation – to be kept handy and reviewed as you grow. This is the first step in building your career road map.

Tip #2 – Timelines and Goals

Another important step to actively achieve growth is the creation of goals and timelines. These two go hand in hand. Without timelines, it will be considerably more difficult to achieve your goals. On the other hand, timelines are just random schedules without goals attached to them. Setting goals give you something to gun for, whilst timelines reflectively keep you accountable and in lane deflecting diversions that may come along the way. Using these two tools effectively is a tested and proven formula for success in any field.

You should keep track of the biggest long-term goals and plans contained in your career road map. Then it would be best if you further break these into smaller actionable short-term goals. These goals and steps may require that you grow in certain ways or develop a budding skill or the other.

Whatever these goals demand, to achieve the grander plan, you’ll need to consider and chart out these little steps carefully. Once you’ve recognized and outlined those fleeting details, you’ll need to add them to your career roadmap. This step is very important, and the more details you add, the easier it becomes to achieve impossible goals.

Goals and timeline go hand-in-hand in achieving career growth

Tip #3 – Feedback

A great resource that is one of the most underutilized by career-oriented individuals is feedback. Feedback is a tool that helps you take note of your progress and ensure that you are on the right path to achieving your goals. A common mistake made by career professionals is that they limit feedback to just those given by their superiors.

In actuality, feedback should not just come from your bosses but also from your colleagues and peers. The insight received from your peers is invaluable, even more so as they offer a different view and perspective from what may be offered by your principals.

It would be best if you asked your peers to assess your strengths and shortcomings, especially individuals that you have worked together with in the past. If you have formal reviews on an annual basis, you should arrange a check-in meeting with your manager in between reviews.

If your current position is one of managerial capacity, you should ask your employees or subordinates for criticism as well. The goal here is to attain an external perspective of your flaws and strength so you can properly improve on yourself. Try to cast a wide net when sourcing for criticism and feedback, the more diverse your sources are, the more insight you stand to gain.

Tip #4 – Communicating with your Manager

When you are looking to grow career-wise, the more information and insight you have about your particular spheres of possibilities, the easier it will be become to find those roles that are better suited for you. Mostly, people do not realize the number of opportunities that pass them by because they were not informed or aware of them, to begin with. You need to know those career possibilities that exist within your company or field.

You should be constantly aware of those openings or slots that might suit your particular skills. Having a conversation with your manager is a good place to start. Let them be aware of your goals and aspirations and see how they can assist you in achieving them. This helps put you on their radar even if there are no openings at that moment and leaves you open to their help and consideration.

Let your manager know your goals and aspirations. They may be able to help you attain your goals

Tip #5 – Utilizing your Network

To achieve advancement in any stage of life, career included, you must have the help and support of your peers. ‘No man is an island.’ This popular phrase expresses the fact that human beings need each other to attain any level of growth or development.

Your network is your most important resource. Whether you realize this or not, it is an asset of individuals that make your goals a lot more attainable. When you need to define what success means to you, you can refer to your mentors or trusted accolades. When you are outlining your short- and long-term goals, you can refer to individuals that already achieved some of these goals and ask them for advice. The more understanding you have of these things, the more feasible your goals become.

An important thing to note is that nothing is set in stone. Your goals will continually evolve as you grow, and your network grows. Update your plans and goals as time goes and be patient with yourself; there are no perfect formulas to success. Best of luck!

WiseNetAsia Knowledge Center
Copyright © 2020 WiseNet Asia Pte Ltd.  All Rights Reserved


The rules of engagement when it comes to the firing and hiring of company executives can be perceived to be very “executive” in its execution as they are usually spared the ignominy of being informed of their soon-to-be-terminated contract status. Just like the hiring process, the firing process is most times shrouded in secrecy. This secrecy is carried out to, sometimes—outlandish heights, such as procuring an iron-clad non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to ensure the executive scouting process is kept confidential.

That said, there is more to the intent behind outsourcing the recruitment process than embarking on a face-saving, and blushes-sparing exercise for a soon-to-be-fired executive. Most often, the process begins with a call from a recruiter or a recruiting firm with the recruiter electing to discuss an opportunity with the candidates in the most confidential terms. Usually, this implies a withholding of information such as the name of the company and other details of similar nature in terms of the candidate’s prospective employer.

The reasons for this are manifold. It may range from internal incumbency (as the soon-to-be-vacated role is still being occupied) to competitive reasons. While companies might from time to time, ply the unfamiliar routes of having to secure the services of a recruitment firm due to factors such as lack of time, improving the quality of the hire, and unavailability of in-house hiring expertise; when it comes to executive recruitment, strict confidentiality and an extensive network of candidates is needed, along with the right experience in negotiation.

Confidential executive search – Key steps

As with most goals, it all starts with a clear definition.  You commence your search by defining the scope of qualification you expect of the soon-to-be-hired executive. Concepts like the job role, the job description, and specification should be considered in the event that you want an employee with niche skills, or a one with a one-size-fits-all ability. You should also know the right recruitment agency to hire through a credible process.

Hiring a temporary staff would mean that you secure the services of a staff recruitment agency. For executives, you might want to look at the services of an executive recruitment agency. You also want to make sure they are affordable and competent. Competence for executive recruitment agencies can be measured by their testimonials, social media presence, and professional associations.

If the recruitment agency does not have such information on their company website, you may proceed to ask for a commendation letter or client reference to testify to the capabilities as a competent recruitment firm. The role of these validations cannot be over-emphasized, given that the executive role is one that could make or mar an organization. Thus, a wrong fit is too much of a risk that you don’t want to take. Not even in these post-COVID times.

Upon finding the right recruitment agency for your executive search, job details like performance expectations, job descriptions, remuneration, and other specifics associated with the job are communicated to the recruitment firm to begin its search.

Roadblocks and Hacks

The ramifications of executive search in COVID-19 pandemic times mean that candidate scouting for executive recruitment agencies will take a different dimension. This means that digital alternatives are sought to procure information from the desired candidates. Video calls via Zoom or Skype, online interviews, and audio calls are welcome. This ensures that there is an exchange of information that is sufficient enough for the agency to tell if such a candidate is the right fit for the job.

The pandemic has driven physical interviews online, making it more challenging for recruiters to draw out information during a confidential executive search

However, for the recruitment agency, one task that is a derivative of the post-COVID reality is the task of making the candidate feel safe enough to divulge as much information about his or her qualification on the phone. This is because candidate information is deemed highly confidential and sensitive, especially for a high ranking role like that of an executive.

The key here is for the recruiter to secure the trust of the candidates through various tactics. One of them is to venture into an information trade-off where the recruiter relinquishes just about enough information to secure the confidence of the candidate who, in turn, gives back information about themselves in exchange until a compromise is reached.

Key Success Factors of Confidential Executive Search

Another rationale behind the requirement of secrecy is that it is the moment such an executive discovers that he/she is about to be laid off; this person may become disinterested at work. The person may try to put the company in an unfavorable spot out of a new-found animosity towards the company. Such an executive may try to influence the company’s commercial activities in a way that suits his/her personal agenda rather than that of the company.

This is why one key factor for attaining success with a confidential executive search boils down to skills that are demonstrated by the recruitment firm’s competence and experience. This factor is a non-negotiable one because securing executive talent means the company is vulnerable and that only recruiters with expertise can navigate such perilous waters with the company coming out unscathed.

Another touchpoint is the uncanny ability to negotiate. This is just as important for any recruiter, but most important for executive recruiters because form the get-go—the telephone/audio/video conversation, the recruiter’s negotiation skills would be put to the test. Clearly, the recruiter has the unenviable task of having to extract information from the candidate, most times with the candidate being understandably reluctant due to:

  1. The sensitive nature of the information being required of them
  2. The anonymity of the hiring company

Moving on, for executive recruitment hiring companies, the ability to leverage the synergy between the search consultant and the account manager from the beginning of the assignment to its end is of equal importance. This is to guarantee a uniformity of purpose and objectives while attempting to land these executive talents.

In today’s interconnected galaxy of information, the requirement of secrecy can be quite tasking to fulfill. However, the importance of keeping matters of executive recruitment as top secret cannot be whittled down.  For executive recruiters, it is the key element to protecting the integrity of the hiring company and the recruitment process while not compromising on whatever progress that may have been made on the recruitment front. That said, it is also worth mentioning that while there may be no foolproof plan for a successful executive confidential search, the key insights that we have shared with you are more than capable of keeping your executive confidential search from veering off course.


WiseNetAsia Knowledge Center
Copyright © 2020 WiseNet Asia Pte Ltd.  All Rights Reserved

Are you worried about the direction of your life? Or the next steps to take? Or what the future holds? Are you confused about your career path? This worry is called ‘quarter-life crisis’ and affects 86% of millennials. In fact, it has been said that for millennials, it is not a question of ‘if’ it will happen but rather, ‘when’ it will happen.

Do you need an objective and honest opinion about your chances in the job market and your career field? Have you often set out to achieve goals but were unable to do so because of lack of motivation? Perhaps, you are not a millennial, you are just unsatisfied with your present career but do not know what to do to get your dream, desired job. We are here to help you get through this phase and walk with you till you get to your dream destination.

In a society like ours where a premium is rightly placed on respecting and obeying the wisdom of elders, this might be a source of concern to you because while the elderly people in your life are prudent, sagacious and perceptive in handling life matters, they might either be too busy or simply do not have modern skills and insights needed in today’s highly competitive working world.

WiseNet Asia Youth Career Coaching Location and Reach?

You can find us in Singapore and Chongqing. Subsequently, we shall expand our reach to include other countries that are part of the Association of South Eastern Nations (ASEAN) and other parts of China.

Why do you need Career Coaches?

Post covid-19, businesses that are badly affected have to resort to retrenchments or reducing working hours to cope with the damages.  For employees or for those who are looking for jobs, this has led to a lot of anxieties and uncertainties about the next steps to take. Career coaches are essential for this period and beyond to help position your dream job. Career coaching is not merely for the unemployed, it is also for those who are not satisfied with their present jobs. For both of these groups of people, career coaches help to bridge the gap between the current situation and their desired goals.

Here’s a look at how a professional career coach can make a difference in an individual’s career path:

  • A professional career coach gives practical advice that will enable a job seeker to make informed decisions. They will be able to do this by effectively studying the market, career trends and through working with top professionals who know the steps to a successful career and ensuring that the job seeker is the right fit. Some of our career coaches are retired professionals with years of experience behind them.
  • A professional career coach knows how to engage in the right conversations to explore a job seeker’s strengths and weaknesses, with the major aim being to help the individual consolidate their strengths whilst also working on their weaknesses. This helps to ensure that the job seeker is trained and prepared to fit into the demands of the market.
  • A professional career coach advises steps for job candidates to sell themselves in a captivating manner. Most employers get a lot of job applications daily. How can one stand out in the midst of such stiff competition?

Career coaches ensure that a job seeker is developed in such that they do not need to search for jobs but they will be needed. This might be done through mock interviews by the Coach or generally building their confidence or scouting out places where an internship may be done to gather skills and experience.

Career coaches, by training and experience often unearth problems to a successful career that clients, most of the time do not realize are hindrances to achieving their set goals. Career coaches help a person to leverage on their existing network as well as expand the scope of their connections. At the end of the training by a coach, clients are fitted with skills necessary to thrive in the competitive job market.

What is Included in a Career Coaching Package?

Generally, career coaching packages differ and it would depend on what the client seeks. The entire package is determined by:

  • The number of sessions that a client wants to have with a Career Coach
  • The services that a client wants (do you want your resume repackaged or your remuneration increased or a boost of your confidence?)
  • The level of accountability that a client would want through follow up calls

Does Career Coaching Works?

Certainly! Our career coaches have personal interactions with clients as such, when advice is given, it is given not just from the wealth of experience of the coach but will also contain advice suited to the particular circumstances and even temperament of our clients.

Additionally, private enterprise career coaches constantly have to keep in touch with the market and career trends and as such, they are up-to-date in every aspect of work. This is very important to note as the career coaching offered by Universities are restricted to either employment guidance or by dealing only with career planning’