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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!

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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.


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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’



CHONGQING, 23 July 2020 – Singapore’s Ambassador to China, Mr Lui Tuck Yew meets with key Singapore companies’ representatives in Chongqing to understand more about the local business environment, effects of  COVID-19 on businesses, also challenges faced by Singapore companies operating in Western China, and progress of The China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Project on Strategic Connectivity.

Those who attended included Business Heads from WiseNet Asia, OUB Bank, CapitaLand, PSA, ST Engineering, The Ascott Group and YuXinOo-Pacific Integrated Logistics Group Multimodal Co.  WiseNet Asia is represented by Ms Karen Woong, GM, China.

Also present with the Ambassador is Mr Tan Chee King, Singapore Consul-General in Chengdu, and Mr Wong Choo Sin, Global Markets Director (China) from Enterprise Singapore.


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The future of work predictions for many businesses has arrived sooner than many expected. Most consulting firms like McKinsey and Deloitte already made projections towards the year 2030, and no one could have predicted with any level of certainty that a pandemic would restructure how work gets done. This post takes stock of the industries and companies that are likely to hire more in Singapore, the skills necessary for fresh graduates, how mid-level executives should approach reskilling, and what the future of the market holds for Singapore and other Asian countries with similar economic structures.


A lot of businesses, companies, and industries have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The labor market has not been spared from the harsh realities that the spread of COVID-19 has now ushered in. Many workers have lost and are still losing their jobs. Perhaps, a likely reason for how largely COVID-19 is affecting jobs in Singapore and neighbouring countries in the South Asia is as a result of these countries’ economic relations with China. CNBC, The Consumer News and Business Channel reports that Singapore is more vulnerable economically because her close trading partner, China, has not had it easy with the spread of the virus.

Already, the tourism and transports sectors are at its mortifying lowest ebb in Singapore and other countries of the world. People are not so likely to travel anymore and have been mandated either by government orders or a simple need to self-preserve, stay indoors, and to limit non-essential interactions to the barest minimum.

The government of Singapore, through its ministries have already taken steps to ensure that employees do not feel the full economic effect of the virus on businesses. As of 26 March 2020, the government set aside S$48.4 billion Resilience Budget to help businesses and households stay afloat while the pandemic persists. This is a Supplementary Budget that complements the Unity Budget presented on 18 February 2020.

Even with all of the government support, employees are still encouraged to look inwards and at the economy to find and create opportunities for themselves. Even as certain sectors have fallen apart as a result of the pandemic, there are businesses, companies, and industries that have recorded an increase in economic growth and market share. Employees should pitch their tents with these emerging winners from the global crisis. They are:

  • E-commerce

Statista reveals that 85% of Singapore’s population are avoiding crowded places. This means that stores, religious institutions, tourist centers, commercial hubs are simply in a flaccid state now. Even though establishments are not physically open, they have been able to conduct operations digitally. Statistics report that people in Singapore are spending more on online shopping. Therefore, large businesses with digital presence are getting bigger and will be looking at expanding their customer base. These stores will need more customer relations persons to handle their phone lines, more drivers to deliver products, and more content to engage their customers on social media.

  • Digital Media and Entertainment and Video Conferencing Services

Due to lockdown and social distancing measures, persons no longer have access to traditional means of entertainment. However, the demand for entertainment is sky-rocketing, thereby necessitating a shift to digital media. Social Media applications like WhatsApp, Facebook, and WeChat are recording increases in usage. As an example, Kantar Group, a reputable consulting firm, reports that Chinese social media apps like WeChat and Weibo are experiencing a 58% increase in usage.

The success of this social media applications has created job opportunities for content creators and digital marketers. Persons who are capable of creating compelling content and can help brands market their products digitally are being hired by businesses and companies to help them stay relevant.

  • Health and Wellness

Hospitals and pharmacies are swamped at the moment because there’s a surge in demand for medical services and pharmaceutical products. In the United States, huge pharmaceutical companies like Walgreens and CVS have opened about 70,000 new positions combined. Career websites in Singapore have openings for positions in pharmacies relating to data analysts, sales agents, sales promoters, and technicians, among others.


During challenging times , acquiring new skills is more relevant than self development for young graduates

A time like this is very instructive to perceptive fresh graduates. It underscores the importance of self-development to meet up with global trends. Developing skills is necessary to help graduates develop. Given the fact that the world is facing a different reality than one, it faced a couple of months back; newer skills are necessary to help young ones develop. Here are some of the skills a young graduate should possess:

  • Flexibility

Young graduates should learn to first adapt to current realities. The world is not as you want it to be. Or the way you think it should be. The world is the way it is. Therefore, learning as much as you can from other disciplines is a way to go in the future.

  • Tech Skills

Most businesses are beginning to discover that having a digital presence is essential. What has set successful businesses and failing businesses in the COVID era is their ability to leverage technology. Therefore, every organization is looking to get stronger as far as technological capacities go. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, The Internet of Things, Augmented Reality are technologies that will only get accepted more in the future. It is time to get to learn about these technologies.

  • Data Analysis

Data is responsible for the success of many huge corporations today. Learning to analyze data to use it to help companies meet the needs of their clients is a valuable skill. Don’t sleep on it.

  • Critical Thinking

This simply means being informed. Young graduates will need to stay current as far as local and global affairs go. The market will favor those who can help companies in avoiding loopholes and helping them to stay strategically and globally relevant.

  • Digital and Coding skills

As companies are looking to transform digitally, the help of coders, programmers, and web developers will be needed. Coders are less likely to be out of jobs. Websites need them to run.

  • Emotional Intelligence

The ability to understand one’s emotions and those around him indicates a high EQ. Persons with high EQ are well balanced and productive individuals. Who does not want productive workers?


McKinsey Global Institute estimates that as many as 375 million workers would have to acquire new skills or switch occupations. This indicates that all types of workers should start considering reskilling lest they get swept by the tide of change. The above skills identified for young graduates are just as crucial for mid-level executives if they want to remain relevant.

Customer relations, digital skills, coding, software programming, emotional intelligence, flexibility, digital marketing are skills all necessary to be globally relevant.

An important factor to consider when reskilling is identifying where the new destination is. An executive at a pharmaceutical company that is preparing to go digital must focus more on honing digital skills. He must start to pay attention to becoming aware of how these technologies work and what he might be able to contribute to help his organization use these technologies efficiently. Mid-level executives are suited for analyzing data as a result of their experience. They are better able to identify data that will get customers and clients closer.

Identify a new destination. Learn the skills necessary to succeed at this new destination. Set a period for getting these skills. Be relevant.

Workforce Singapore (WSG) is helping mid-level executives reskill and stay relevant in this difficult time. They have professional programs taught by career coaches to help persons gain these skills faster. Mycareersfuture (Singapore) also offers opportunities to persons in Singapore who are looking to start new jobs.


Singapore is a developed country. By inference, the future of work in Singapore is consistent with globalization and big-tech bringing shifts in workplace culture. Artificial Intelligence is threatening to make complete automation a reality with the help of other technologies. Nonetheless, there is still one job too many for those who are willing to learn fast. A report by the World Economic Forum indicates that 75 million jobs may be displaced with complete automation but also that 133 million new jobs may also emerge.

The future has always been hard to ascertain. However, there are strong possibilities that should not be ignored. For instance, the concept of having traditional brick-and-mortar stores and offices seems to be overrated. Workers have been working remotely from home and have done so efficiently. It is expected that even after the virus, many companies will still choose to operate remotely.

Whatever the future brings, the workers who adapt will remain the most relevant. So, what to take away? Adapt.


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Change is the only constant in China. This is rule number one when thinking to enter or do business with this market. But in the year 2020 change got renamed into COVID 19. No matter how big or small you are, you could not but surrender to the traumatic experience of doing business in the world of the pandemic. Markets shivered, stock exchanges stood in shock and the job market stared in fear. It was time for another change.

Was COVID-19 a game changer for businesses all over the world? Absolutely yes. Yet, no adversity ever comes without a hint of opportunity and potential gain. Even in this situation businesses, management, staff, and employees are called to grow and grow dramatically.


With the world on a standstill hiring new employees can be quite a struggle. In big cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing finding a competitive workforce can be challenging even in good times. But this doesn’t mean your business has to suffer, it only needs to evolve.

In picture: Chongqing city view. In big cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, finding a competitive workforce can be challenging even in good times.

By focusing on the downsides of the pandemic, we lose valuable options and realities the world has set in front of us. Recruitment in China is changing again and trying to figure out what the best practices are now. Can this time of post-COVID era actually become a blessing for businesses and recruiting practices? Let’s take a look.


At this time of the year, employers would usually turn to the job fairs to find local talents. However, due to the pandemics, this practice is put on hold. At least offline. Luckily the magic of doing business in China, also means there has to be another solution to the problem. And the solution came fast. Job fairs shifted from offline to the online sphere and started a life of its own.  Benefits are multiple. First and foremost, your business is contributing to the prevention of spreading the virus by helping potential candidates to maintain social distance and avoid risk. Secondly, the costs of recruitment are significantly lower while at the same time the quality of the recruitment process is not jeopardized.

Furthermore, the government in China fully supports online hiring and motivates businesses to be less conservative when it comes to this option.


Good news for recruiters is the devotion of the government of China to mediate the consequences of the epidemics. They are ready to go the extra mile in the attempts to curb unemployment and prevent increase in the number of people who might be out of a job due to COVID-19. The goal of the Chinese government is to stabilize the job market in every possible way. Even if this means supporting nontraditional methods of recruiting such as online hiring platforms, or recognizing new job titles such as VR engineer or drone fixer.

In picture: People Assembly Hall in Chongqing. The Chinese government is taking strong counter cyclical measures such as extending grace periods, disbursing unemployment insurance, providing additional funds for the businesses at preferable conditions

At the same time, the government is taking strong counter cyclical measures, aiming to lower the survival pressure businesses face. Extending grace periods, disbursing unemployment insurance, providing additional funds for the businesses at preferable conditions, goes well in hand with new trends on the job market.

This is an opportunity to invest more in employees as the cost of hiring is going down. Comparing to the previous year when government policies increased labor costs per employee, this year and the post COVID era, brought a different picture. The government is trying to stimulate stabilizing the job market, by tax relief and lowering the social insurance costs. This is the opportunity to divert those means towards helping human capital to catch up with the changes. Investing more in the skills and flexibility of the employees is a necessary and wise approach in the challenging times.


Post Covid-19, cost efficiency is a top company agenda

Adaptation is needed, and in the world of COVID-19, we are obliged to think rationally. This might even mean rethinking our established ways of doing business. When it comes to recruiting the time has come to think in a minimalistic way. Many businesses use this situation as a motive to reorganize the workload, cut extensive teams, or even lower the number of employees. For some, this will mean going online rather than having fixed in-office positions. Recruiting individual freelancers, contractors, or talents, will incur lower recruitment costs at no expense to the working quality. It is estimated that most of the businesses will not only go through reorganization but also that this reorganization will yield in new job openings, recognizing new demands and job definition and making both the company and the employees more flexible and resilient in the changing times.


COVID-19 locked us down in one place, calling for finding solutions locally. This had also been the case with recruitment in China. We are called to look locally when looking for new talents or employees. In the time when hiring foreign employees and bringing then to China, has been virtually impossible, focus shifts to local job supply. This is a fantastic opportunity not only for the workforce but also for the recruiters because now they have to look for local talents to fill in open positions.

After the pandemic, Chinese companies are increasingly focusing on local talents search and reducing expatriates hiring

There has been extensive fear as to what is going to happen with estimated 600000 graduates who are entering the shaky job market in China. Their chances of finding suitable jobs in the time of business resizing and reorganization had been initially seen as meager. However, this might not have to be the case. As recruiters go online and are being stimulated to find local talents to fill in the demand this brings new chances for graduates looking to enter the job market.


In summary, though the situation is not easy for any participant on the job market, regardless of which side one is, supply and demand for quality workers will continue to exist and balance out in real life.

With enough flexibility and openness to thinking in new ways, businesses and recruiters can use the post-COVID era to reorganize their teams, find quality local talents and work hand in hand to make their companies more resilient to change. Sometimes the best policy can only be to bend with the wind and learn to adapt.

Recruiters and businesses need to work together closely to achieve win-win objectives, and to ensure that they are using every possible option to mediate the effects of the pandemics. Think flexible and think positive.


Images by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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What are some barriers and biases in the hiring process for C-level executives, and have things changed over time? Here we explore some common factors faced by recruiters and how to overcome them.

Age, gender and looks are factors that still consciously and subconsciously impact the final decision in the hiring for C-level positions.  Leaders that carry themselves well and dress up appropriately conveys confidence, credibility and respect to other people.  People are more likely to trust the ‘professional’ looking individual as opposed to a sloppy looking individual, simply because they do not convey self-confidence and do not look trustworthy!

Leaders that carry themselves well and dress up appropriately conveys confidence, credibility and respect to other people.

C-suite roles have greatly evolved over the years, but one thing remains: leadership ability and a sound grip on business fundamentals are still highly sought after. However not all is merit-based, as other factors prone to human bias such as age, gender and appearance also make a huge impact on who gets the role.

Recruiters must be selective in approaching prospective candidates, as hiring parties have much to consider such as timing (the best candidates might not want to wait), profile (whether candidate has the required qualifications and experience) and compensation (the possibility of hiring someone less experienced for a lower sum).

Below are some factors that may affect hiring for C-level positions, including what both recruiters and candidates should be aware of.

Is age just a number?

While having solid experience is certainly valuable, candidates must also stay relevant to compete with younger talents who have similar levels of experience.

Sometimes, in a subconscious act of age discrimination, employers prefer hiring younger candidates because they associate certain qualities with youth. Such qualities may include tech-savviness, energy and stamina, general adaptability and expectation for lower remuneration.[1]

Of course, an older candidate can also embody all these qualities accompanied by years of work experience. To demonstrate this as a candidate, one should stay abreast of the latest developments and software in your specific industry, and keep your resume fresh by showing only experience from the last 10-15 years (nothing older than that unless it’s highly noteworthy).

All is not lost for mature candidates, particularly those in C level positions, as the number of older people continuing to work is expected to rise in the coming years and companies may well benefit from hiring senior candidates, as they can be more proficient at relating to clients and customers under an older demographic.[1] This group may also form the base of legacy customers for some companies, bringing value in terms of loyalty and maintained revenue.

Ultimately, being adaptable to change and staying relevant by keeping up with current trends are efforts to be made by individual candidates, regardless of age.

Does gender make a difference?

Are certain competencies tied to a specific gender? It appears not.

In terms of skill set, both male and female executives in the finance industry were found to have similar levels of competency, with women outperforming men (47% vs 39%) in financial expertise within emerging markets.[2]

According to the December 2019 S&P 500 list, women currently hold 31 (6.2%) CEO positions at these S&P 500 companies.[3] Globally, the percentage of women on boards has increased – from 17.9% in 2018 to 20% in 2019 – based on the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) published in 2019.[4]

However some countries still lag behind the global average, which in itself has much room for improvement by having more women in senior management positions.

While personal characteristics and motivations certainly influence real-life decision making, a psychological study found that although both genders were equally strong in terms of willpower, resilience and openness – men tend to have a higher willingness to take risks as compared to women.[5]

Besides personality, this aversion to risk may often be due to family considerations, which is something women tend to display more than men. This could also be due to societal expectations on women to be maternal and family-oriented, which may lead to some women taking a step back in their careers to focus on family.

At the same time, this should not colour the view of recruiters when hiring female candidates, because individual ambitions are vastly different – particularly within recent generations of women who are more educated, informed and independent.

Generalizing the expectations of a whole gender group would cripple the search for promising talents. The focus should be on merit and experience, discarding the lens of long-established gender biases.

Female executives at C-level, possessing their wealth of experience and business acumen, can further mentor younger and less-experienced candidates. Having women in management positions also serves to empower women in junior or managerial positions – demonstrating that this is a reality which is open to them – and that they have as much opportunity to achieve success as their male counterparts.

How much does appearance influence the outcome?

Is it shallow to judge someone based on their looks? Maybe, but it happens all the time.

“Beauty bias” is what makes us attracted to good-looking people, and physical appearance does impact a person’s job prospects and chances for promotion.[1] Looking well has helped people get ahead at work, enabled them to be more persuasive, boosted cooperation with colleagues and increased sale of products.

Obviously, this can lead to overt discrimination e.g. where an employer might prefer an attractive candidate to be the face of their brand, as opposed to a more qualified candidate who may not have the preferred looks.

To stay clear of this, here is a good practice to maintain: what always makes a difference for every candidate is to be well-groomed and professionally dressed. This conveys determination, attention to detail and respect for the task at hand.

Hiring companies can definitely expand their search by looking beyond their current pool of talent and getting rid of common biases. Just as candidates should constantly update their profile, hiring practices should also be updated every once in a while, to ensure the brightest leaders don’t slip through the cracks!


[1] Source: https://www.jobscan.co/blog/age-discrimination-older-applicants-vs-young-pretty-people/ 

[2] Source: https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0218/pages/hiring-in-the-age-of-ageism.aspx

[3] Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/more-women-directors-in-singapore-companies-but-number-still-lags-global

[4] Source: https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-ceos-of-the-sp-500/

[5] Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/more-women-directors-in-singapore-companies-but-number-still-lags-global

[6] Source: https://www.iomcworld.org/open-access/age-and-gender-influence-upon-selfreported-leadership-attributesduring-recruitment-2471-2701-1000140.pdf

[7] Source: https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/beauty-work-physical-appearance-impacts-job-search-careers/

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

21 Jun 2020

The continued protest in Hong Kong has taken a rather uneventful turn with violence causing numerous deaths and injuries. A spin-off of this is the severe damage that has not just been caused to individuals alone, but also businesses. In October 2019, a news article by the South China Main Post indicated that Hong Kong’s economy lost at least HK$2.8 billion in a very short period. The sectors mostly hit by these protests in Hong Kong are the hospitality sector, the retail sector, and the transport sector.

The protest in Hong Kong started in 15 March 2019, triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government.

The Protests in Hong Kong; its effects on the economy

Since June 2019, the Hong Kong Protest has remained on global news. The turmoil created by protests in Hong Kong is only bested by news of the COVID-19 pandemic in recent times. The protest in Hong Kong started in March 2019 to speak against an extradition bill that created an extradition treaty with Hong Kong and China. The bill has since been withdrawn, and replaced with a national security bill in May 2020 that sparked further outrage and protests.

The aftermath of a riot near a train station

At the rate at which the protest in Hong Kong is impacting the economy, some business owners are looking to pivoting away from present-day Hong Kong to establish a base somewhere else. Geographically and politically, too, Hong Kong shares closeness to Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, and some other countries. Likely, businesses looking to move a base of their operations somewhere else will most probably be considering any of those countries.

Why is Singapore the pick of the bunch?

A new American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham) survey released on 12 Sep 2019 indicated that among those companies considering to relocate, 91% of Hong Kong businesses aim to move to Singapore.

Through the following reasons, this post looks at why Singapore is the best alternative base for affected businesses in Hong Kong. We also make brief statistical comparisons between Singapore and other South-East Asian jurisdictions like Malaysia and Thailand.

  1. Ease of Doing Business

The Ease of Doing Business Report is prepared by the most qualified persons at the World Bank Group. This report goes through extensive research and evaluation to come up with a list that identifies the best places to do businesses in the world. Not just in Asia. Questions relating to tax, procedures for establishment, investor protection, electricity, contract enforcements are all considered thoroughly to come up with this list.

Through an era spanning 2007-2016, Singapore topped the Ease of Doing Business rankings. For ten consecutive years, Singapore was simply the prime choice for doing business as far as countries go. The conditions in Singapore make it very conducive for businesses to start-up and thrive. In recent times, Singapore is now ranked second on the Doing Business Report, with New Zealand the only country faring better in this area.

One example that shows why you should establish your business in Singapore is the registration process for new businesses. In Singapore, the entire registration process takes only a day to complete. The process is also easily completed digitally. However, in countries like Malaysia, registration of a company takes around two to three days.

It is important to note that the Doing Business report indicates that Hong Kong is in the third spot on the Ease of Doing Business Index. This means that the business conditions in Hong Kong and Singapore are already similar. It also means that businesses that have started in Hong Kong would find the same efficient service in Singapore and have an even better experience due to the economic unease brought about by the protest in Hong Kong. This is unlike in Malaysia and Thailand, who rank 12th and 21st, respectively, on the Ease of Doing Business Index.

Singapore is already looking like the best option. But more reasons make Singapore the right place to establish your business.

Political Stability

Political stability is a key factor in driving foreign direct investments (FDI) into an economy. With the protest in Hong Kong dragging on for over a year now, Hong Kong’s economy is regressing, and it doesn’t look like the situation will change soon. Unlike Hong Kong, Singapore is currently stable politically.  This state of affairs offers much-needed security to business owners looking to move away from the troubled state in Hong Kong.

Attractive Tax Policies

Singapore’s tax rates are one of the lightest in South East Asia and the world at large. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018, Singapore ranked 11th, while Malaysia ranked 81st in the total tax rate.

Additionally, Singapore has the lowest corporate income tax rate in the world at 0% to 17%. Although Thailand has a corporate tax rate of 20%, which is also one of the lowest in the world, it is still not as low as Singapore’s. An instance of Singapore’s generosity with tax policies is that for the first three years of taxable income, non-resident corporations are exempted from taxes.

Singapore Corporate Tax Rates. Source: IRAS Singapore

Another initiative by the Singaporean government to help the situation of taxes is the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements, which protects Singaporean suppliers from incurring taxes on profits made overseas while paying tax locally.

Further comparison between Singapore and Thailand tax systems reveals that businesses in Singapore have an easier time making tax payments and filing returns.  For instance, Singapore businesses make five tax payments a year and spend only 82 hours a year filing taxes. Thailand businesses, however, make 22 tax payments a year and spend 264 hours a year filing taxes.

Foreign Investment

The Ease of Doing Business Report states that the government of Singapore offers incentives for foreign businesses to help make international trade easier. Open trade policy is common in Singapore with few barriers to external trade transactions. In 2014, the Global Enabling Trade Report ranked Singapore first because of its friendly trade regulations. In the same 2014 report, Thailand was ranked fifty-seventh.

Singapore’s USD2.4t asset management industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Hong Kong’s money outflow

Moreover, Singapore is attractive to foreign investors because it’s geographical location allows easy access to mainland China. China is the biggest market in the world. Hong Kong businesses already know this, and these businesses will be looking to continue to have access to Chinese consumers. This segues into Singapore being a better choice.

Singapore is also strategically located. It is close to the emerging markets of India and China. Singapore also has the best maritime industry in the world with amazing port structures. These make the transfer of large cargo easy.

Parting thoughts

Over the past ten years, Singapore has been constantly rated by world experts as an amazing destination for businesses to thrive. Hong Kong has been a close competitor with Singapore within the same time frame. But, with the recent protest in Hong-Kong, it has become necessary for businesses to move if they wish to sustain in a more stable business environment.

Moving is always better when the new destination is as good as the old one. With Singapore, the new destination is even better. Singapore is not just the best option in South East Asia. It is the best option in the world. World experts have asked all the smart and technical questions businesses ask. The answer leads to just one destination that could serve as an eco-chamber for the blossoming of start-ups and businesses generally—Singapore.

If you’re looking to move, Malaysia and Thailand are good options, but Singapore is by far, the better of both, and the best as other southeastern Asian countries pale in comparison to what Singapore has to offer. For business owners looking to pivot their businesses for global dominance in a fiercely competitive global market, they must begin to ask the right question— “why cope when you can thrive?”






This article was originally published by ZhongWai Management Magazine

The characteristics of a high-performance team are like-mindedness and interdependence.

All industries have been hit to varying degrees by the COVID-19 pandemic.  For many entrepreneurs, the capability of leadership is crucial to business continuity.

With the ongoing threats from the pandemic, what are the most profound challenges for corporate leaders and entrepreneurs? What should they do and how can they make the team more resilient? In this regard, Wu Gang, Managing Director of Performance Consulting International (PCI) China, gave his answers when he participated in the “Managing the 100 Great Lectures”.

  1. Two profound challenges facing corporate leaders now

In today ’s turbulent environment, leaders are facing the same challenges, which have nothing to do with their industry. Among them, the first challenge is: “What is the mentality to face the crisis and turmoil?”

Facing an pandemic and other crisis, should leaders’ accept fear, be suspicious, or just trust themselves and their team? Should they bear it alone or choose to depend on each other in the company? These two different mindsets and choices will determine two different outcomes.  When leaders are afraid, the way ahead will be more difficult. Whereas the mentality of trust will enable leaders to see more opportunities and potential in the team.  Bearing everything alone, the pressure is huge, but when the leadership teams work interdependently, more possibilities will be uncovered.

The second deepest challenge for leaders is to figure out: “Why do we exist?” Most companies or organizations know what they are doing, such as the products they produce or the services they provide, while some companies or organizations do not know what they do or what they are doing in times of deepening crisis.  In this context, it is necessary for leaders to figure out “why they exist”.

A company’s mission, products, services, and business models are all clear, hence these things are changeable, and they only need to figure out the “why we exist” question.  Once this is clear, the mission and purpose of the entire enterprise also become very clear, and they will know what to do and how to do in the face of crisis.

So, knowing the two major challenges under the current crisis, what should corporate leaders do to continuously improve the enthusiasm and resilience of their organizations?

2. ‘Four steps’ to deal with the turmoil of the current crisis
The first step is to actively manage your mentality. An entrepreneur or leader working at this level is likely to be lonely because there are not many friends who can communicate and share their secrets. Coupled with short-term results and long-term performance pressure, all these lead to physical and mental exhaustion. Working long-term in high-pressure environments without relief will have a very adverse effect on health. Therefore, it is recommended to find an executive coach to help leaders face various pressures and jointly solve the challenges facing the current enterprise.

Working long-term in high-pressure environments without relief will have a very adverse effect on health

The second step is to solve the problem of enterprise survival. Here we need to ask ourselves “How do we sustain for the next 6 to 12 months in the current environment?” Once this is figured out, we will know what the bottom line of the company is, which is what they could bear. Knowing the company can persist for a long enough time, leaders will naturally become calmer and more stable.

The third step is to acknowledge the challenges facing the enterprise to the entire organization and leadership team, and invite the team to jointly explore future solutions. For example: “Under the current situation, it is necessary to carefully evaluate various risk situations and formulate counter measures to prepare us for a worse situation. At this point, I hope to hear more people’s thoughts and suggestions. “At this time, we need to exert the power of the team.

The fourth step, starting from the top, hold a conference on “Exploring the Road to the Future”. Use the “what if …” approach to creatively explore ways to deal with the future.

The first two prerequisites are you must manage your mentality and solve the survival problems of the enterprise before you have the opportunity to think about more things.

3. Four steps to explore the way forward

So, specifically, how to explore the road to the future?  There are also four steps here:

First, set company goals. Get everyone to think about how the company responds to the pandemic and how to respond to various business changes and challenges after the “resumption of business”, so as to set the target well.

Second, create an agreement for team work. Invite everyone to think about previous successful experience in similar situations, and write their ideas on the whiteboard or any visible places to ensure that the team stays aware. Sample agreements may include: courage, non-judgement, security, trust, etc. We must give everyone the mentality of mutual empowerment to do this.

Again, use brainstorming to produce ideas. Once the idea generation phase is completed, as a team, you need to discuss and review these ideas as a whole, decide which ideas can adopted, or if they should continue to explore more. The company is not a leader in a single word, as an executive team or a core team, they need to explore the future path together.

Through brainstorming, fully capture team ideas and lead everyone to discuss

Finally, develop an action plan. Be clear on details such as the task owner, target completion time, and how the team or the leader himself (CEO) understands the key progress and status.

4.  On the verge of using the crisis to create a high-performance team

When we know the two major challenges faced by current entrepreneurs, and how to improve the enthusiasm and resilience of the organization, it is then very important to build a high-performance team amid the crisis.

In fact, there are two elements that drive high performance. One is that the team or organization has a mission and dream. The individual’s mission and values are connected to the team or organization. The other is that the leader can establish a team to monitor the current performance.

Many leaders are conscious, but it is difficult to start something from themselves. It is also impossible to expect the team to work hard independently. Everyone should be made aware that work is a life skill.

The characteristics of a truly high-performance team are having the same goals, like mindedness and interdependence. “Interdependence” is the complimentary team members’ skills and responsibilities.The first step in creating a high-performance team is to create a team work agreement. The work agreement refers to the rules that the team members should follow when working together before starting work. Only by communicating well in advance can we ensure the maximum efficiency of teamwork. Problems can also be solved quickly.

There are five steps to creating a team work agreement:
i) Leader questions. For example: “In the future, how should we work together?” “What are the events that will affect our work rhythm? What are the mentalities that we should adopt in facing the challenges?” Etc.

ii) Through brainstorming, fully capture team ideas and lead everyone to discuss. “Which of these are applicable only to individuals? Which are applicable to the entire team?” “Which are necessary but not yet involved?” Here we want to allow everyone to express their opinions.

iii) Leaders supplement their requirements. “This are some of my ideas. Let’s take a look. Where do we need clarifications and where do we need revisions?”; “This agreement is an agreement that we all abide by, so please be sure to put forward the ideas in your heart”.  This is where the leader needs to invite everyone to put forward their own requirements with the mentality to explore more together.

iv) The teams’ discussion forms the final text, which is then officially released. “How do we fully implement this agreement? If these agreements are damaged, how should we respond and deal with them?” After the agreement is determined, how to implement it is very important.

v) Review regularly. “Where do we do well in our agreement? Which ones can be better?”; “How have we done to ensure that the agreement is followed by everyone?”. The agreement will change, because people and situations will change, therefore it should be reviewed regularly and adjusted on-time quickly.

In short, the leader first needs to ask questions, and then the leader guides everyone to express their ideas, allowing everyone to fully participate in the discussion, then the leader puts forward his own requirements by asking for opinions, and finally the team forms a final agreement and which will be officially released and implemented.  After being publicly released, it must be reviewed regularly so that there can be continuous revisions and improvements.

It should be noted that a working agreement can only make a difference  when it is established through full participation of the entire team, and with the mechanism of independent decision-making, as opposed to the kind of agreement made from top to bottom. As a leader, you may have questions: “What if my requirements are different from those of the team?” Here, the leader is required to adjust his mindset. That is to choose to trust his team and just be like-minded, it is only then that everyone can rely on each other.




SINGAPORE, 13 May 2020 – To support undergraduates seeking internships in an uncertain market amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) is partnering human resources consultancy WiseNet Asia, and the Chongqing Yubei District People’s Government (YDPG) to offer internship opportunities in areas such as big data and artificial intelligence (AI).

These internship and employment opportunities, found primarily in the Yubei District, a burgeoning tech and innovation hub in Chongqing, China, will be open to NTU Singapore students across all disciplines. The Yubei District is home to the Xiantao International Big Data Valley, where more than 700 companies have set up offices, including big names such as Microsoft and Qualcomm.

NTU Deputy President and Provost Professor Ling San, WiseNet Asia Consulting Director Mr Diron Chua, and Communist Party of China Yubei District Committee Vice Secretary Mr Tan Qing inked the agreement yesterday at the fifth Joint Implementation Committee Meeting for the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity, at The Treasury building, Singapore. Mr Tan, who is also the Chief Executive of YDPG, signed the agreement remotely via video conferencing.

Joining them at the event were Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo. Chongqing Party Secretary Chen Min’er, and Chongqing Mayor Tang Liangzhi witnessed the signing through video conferencing.

(Back row from left to right): Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Home Affairs; Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry. (Front row from far right): Diron Chua, Director, WiseNet Asia; Professor Ling San, Nanyang Technological University

The collaboration seeks to leverage each party’s strengths, experience, and capabilities in order to facilitate increased collaboration in talent development and mobility between Chongqing, China and Singapore.

Prof Ling San said: “During this period of unprecedented challenges, it is even more crucial to give our students a competitive edge in securing employment. The internship opportunities that arise from NTU’s collaboration with WiseNet and the Chongqing Yubei District People’s Government will allow our students to experience the vibrancy and agility of the tech companies in Chongqing, and build up expertise in fast-growing fields such as big data and AI. Students may even get full-time employment opportunities arising from this collaboration. It will also give our students an opportunity to understand our region better, so that they are well-prepared to thrive in other countries and cultures, including in Asia.”

Mr Wesley Hui, Director of WiseNet Asia, said: “We are excited to be working together with NTU Singapore and Chongqing Yubei District People’s Government in talent development. Talents are a constant priority in companies of any size. When young workers are groomed from the start of their career, they are conditioned with the right mindsets, values and the tenacity to withstand tough challenges. These are the soft factors that make up successful leaders.”

Internships to start second half of 2020

The placements that are expected to start in the second half of this year will see NTU students being offered internship opportunities in the Yubei District, as well as industry networking opportunities, with the help of YDPG and WiseNet.

In addition to being given an allowance, students who are successfully recruited as interns will have their visas, accommodation and meals taken care of.

WiseNet will coordinate with companies on the selection and placement of potential interns, while YPDG will take care of the students’ visas, accommodation and meals for up to six months.

As part of the agreement, NTU will contribute to the human capital development of executives in Chongqing through its postgraduate programmes and executive courses.



Back row from left to right: Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Home Affairs; Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry
Front row from far right: Diron Chua, Director, WiseNet Asia; Professor Ling San, Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Media contacts:

Foo Jie Ying
Manager, Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: 6790 6681; Mobile: 9117 5023
Email: jieying@ntu.edu.sg

Regine Chin
GM, Marketing
WiseNet Asia
+65 6337 2231

About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

Ranked 11th in the world, NTU has been placed the world’s top young university for the past six years. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and it has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) building projects, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Singapore’s healthcare district.

For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg.


About WiseNet Asia Pte Ltd

WiseNet Asia Pte Ltd is a regional integrated Human Resources services provider and consulting firm headquartered in Singapore.  WiseNet Asia’s HR solutions consist of talent acquisition, talent transition, talent development and HR outsourcing.  WiseNet Asia’s core value is to accelerate human resources development through innovative HR models and knowledge sharing. For more information, visit http://WiseNetAsia.com/


Related News

Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore:   https://www.mti.gov.sg/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2020/05/5th-CCI-JIC-Meeting-12-May-2020

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore):  https://media.ntu.edu.sg/NewsReleases/Pages/newsdetail.aspx?news=0c56dfe2-2ef2-434c-925b-c3d38194955b







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

Our financial goals change as we pass through different stages in life. This article is targeted at managers in the middle of their career (i.e. those who have been in managerial roles for several years) as a guide to plan your finances for the next decade, up until retirement.

As a mid-career professional, you are probably building your family and lifestyle while enjoying the benefit of a higher income. You also have about a decade or so until your retirement. Now is a great time to check whether you are on track financially in planning for your future.

You may spend a fair amount of time and energy contemplating your next car purchase or next vacation, so why not make time to assess your financial health as this will have a long-term impact on you and your family?

Although planning for retirement may sound like a daunting exercise, you can use this checklist to break down what needs to be done and guide yourself to a happy and comfortable future:

Be honest about your spending habits

Are you taking up more high-interest loans than is wise? Whether it’s a new car or another house, these big-ticket purchases have a huge impact on your finances. Are you truly comfortable with servicing these loans for several years? If yes, wonderful! If not, it is perhaps better to pass on these purchases so that you don’t take on more debt that you already have. The less you owe, the less you stress.

Beware the status game, i.e. making flashy purchases to impress your peers. This is a dangerous game that never arrives at a point of satisfaction, and can potentially bring you close to bankruptcy if done on the regular.

Visualise your retirement

Chart your retirement plans. How would you want to live? This gives you an idea of how much you should set aside to meet your vision, and you can adjust this along the way.

Doing this may involve thinking about the area you want to live in (e.g. you may want to move somewhere with a lower cost of living), gradually setting in place the environment you want to have or reducing obligations to enjoy more freedom.

Don’t underestimate the compound effect

Are you maxing out your pension plans? Dipping into your pension fund today and spending this ‘quick cash’ will reduce the total amount of funds you have available in your golden years. Setting aside even a small amount now on a monthly basis can grow into a surprisingly substantial sum twenty years down the road!

Invest wisely and realistically

Have you been making investments based on your risk appetite and personal expectations on returns in the long-run? Don’t be ashamed if you’re not the boldest investor and do not subscribe to the get-rich-quick schemes by some people out there.

If you are cautious by nature, think of it this way: how much money or assets are you OK with losing? Do not invest beyond that amount, so that you always have a rational idea of the living standards you can maintain and future plans you have under your control.

Embrace financial security by:

  • Understanding the risk vs return on your portfolios.
    • What are the possible risks?  What are the worst case scenarios in each type of risk, and is the level of return justifiable?
  • Adopting rational planning and strategy instead of relying on emotions.
    • Are your decisions rational based on your current situation?  Are you making an emotional investment decision?

Research thoroughly

The more knowledge you have in an investment tool, or on a company that you are investing in, the lesser your risk will be.  Knowledge helps to mitigate risks and enables better decision making.  Some research information to look out for:

  • Management team
  • Review past performance and current performance.  Study the factors that contribute to exceptionally good performance or a sudden drop in performance
  • Read all the financial documents, these include quarterly reports, annual reports, investors presentations
  • Study industry trends
  • Read expert opinions and public reviews

Consult a professional

If all the above feels complex or a handful, or if you lack the time to sit down on your own and figure this out, consult a financial planning professional. S/he can help you see the bigger picture, make well-defined and realistic plans, plus help you stay on track to meet your goals. You might also gain fresh knowledge on personal finance in general, which can equip you to make decisions more easily on your own.

You have worked so hard to establish your career, achieve your current lifestyle and keep your family happy. Now that you have these milestones behind you, get started on planning for a comfortable retirement!