Singapore Tops Workforce Skills Ranking

singapore workforce skills

In a survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that encompassed 33 nations worldwide, important workplace skills (literacy, numeracy, and problem solving) were compared.

The survey revealed that poor skills among a nation’s workforce severely stunted its ability to improve living standards.  Especially important were the findings that a lack of such workplace skills causes difficulties in introducing new ways of working and better technology.

What the survey also highlighted was that a nation can quickly upgrade its economic progress by improving the education system.  Such is the case with one of the newer countries in the survey, Singapore.

Singapore’s older population (those nearing retirement) was found to be severely lacking in their ability to understand complex texts and using numeracy skills to solve tasks.

Only a few generations later, thanks to improvements in Singapore’s education system, the numerical ability of young adults in the country now ranks first worldwide.  Percentages of those completing tertiary education have risen dramatically for young adults in Singapore:  74 percent of young adults have completed higher education, compared with only 21 percent of those aged 55-65.

Contrast this with England, where the gap between the work place skills for older and younger generations is non-existent. Oddly enough, education opportunities in England have expanded considerably over the years, and show an increase in the percentage of those completing secondary education (65 percent aged 55-65, 83 percent aged 25-34).  So, even as more educational opportunities have been available to England’s young adults, there has not been much of an appreciable rise in workplace skills.

However, expanding learning opportunities isn’t the only elixir for a nation’s economic woes.  The quality, and focus, of a nation’s schools plays a huge role in determining whether their young adults will be equipped to participate in an ever-changing worldwide economic climate.

By tailoring educational systems to prepare citizens for the modern workplace, countries such as Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and Canada have created a more equitable gain among their populace. Information about adult education opportunities have been made easier to find and work through.  Also, previously learned skills are being recognized and certified among older learners, which creates a positive atmosphere for those wanting to continue their education.

Even as a country strives to improve its workforce through expanded and improved education, many nations lack the guidance necessary to match the skills of their workforce to appropriate jobs.  What those countries have discovered is that too many adults are employed in jobs that are either too advanced, or not advanced enough, for the worker’s educational level.  The results have been found to severely impede the ability of workers to thrive and produce.

For all the emphasis on education and skills needed for a competent workforce, if a nation’s economy isn’t evolving to keep in step with worldwide developments, those workers may not be able to advance to their full potential.

In the case of Greece, their young adults score higher on numeracy tests, compared to Americans, but because their nation’s economy is stagnant, there are few opportunities for young Greeks to exploit, once they’ve completed their education.

Japan is another example of a nation with high literacy and numeracy test scores, but because of a staid, sexist, working environment, Japanese workers are unable to take full advantage of their skills.

Where Singapore gets it right, is in efforts to bring education, focus, guidance, and economic opportunities together for its workforce.  Simply put, the country develops high standards for education (with an emphasis on literacy and numeracy) and then allow their educated workforce to thrive in an appropriate working environment, where there is promise and room for advancement.

According to the OECD report, the government, educational system, employers, and individuals have all made great strides in creating a positive, growing, economic system.  As a result, the economic prospects for Singapore look to be positive for the foreseeable future.

The extra ingredient needed for women to succeed

women success leadership

Women don’t have leadership roles nearly as often as men, and there are various reasons for this.

One study, by Margarita Mayo (IE Business School), Laura Guillen (ESMT) and Natalia Karelaia (INSEAD), analyzed the judgments that colleagues made regarding the competence and warmth of people working in a project team. These people were working at a multinational software development company.

As part of their performance evaluation, the workers were evaluated by their supervisor and peers on competence and warmth.

Results showed that men are seen as confident if they are seen as competent. However, women are seen as confident only if they come across as both competent and warm.

Women must be seen as warm in order to make their competency shine and to be seen as confident and influential in the workplace. Competent men are seen as confident and influential whether they are warm or not.

So basically, if men display competence, then they are also seen as being confident. And the more confident they are seen as being, the more influence they have in the organization. It seems that warmth is irrelevant when it comes to men.

For women, if there was an absence of warmth, then they were not viewed as confident. When women were seen as warm and competent, they were also seen as more confident and more influential. Women’s professional performance is not evaluated independently from their personal warmth.

Overall, this study suggests that if women are to succeed in today’s workplace, then encouraging them to have the confidence just isn’t enough. Women must also go out of their way to be seen as warm in the workplace.

Should something be done about the ‘always on’ workplace?

24/7 workplace no work life balance

In today’s business world the working hours are longer and demands are greater than ever before.

There is a culture of “busyness” and the expectation of availability outside of normal work hours.

This expectation to always prioritize work and to always be “on” is a daunting prospect and can erode your passion for your work, as well as impact everything from self esteem to family time.

Erin Reid, a professor at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University, and Lakshmi Ramarajan, a Harvard Business School assistant professor, have done some interesting research on today’s high-intensity workplace.

Reid refers to the phenomenon as “Cult of Busy,” and says – “Our research shows that being always available is actually dysfunctional for everyone at some level. Yet, many workplaces encourage workers to always have their electronic devices to hand, even on weekends, to address work-related calls and emails in real-time. Those who are unable or unwilling are often subtly penalized. This setting of boundaries is often seen as a sign of unsuitability for the job.”

Such a work culture is damaging not only to workers, but also to companies. These companies often see higher turnover rates as employees burn out and move on.

This obsession, willing or not, is unhealthy, and people have developed a few different ways of adapting to the 24/7 expectation. Here are the most common ways, along with their consequences.


Accepting

Many simply give in and accept that they must be available to work 24/7 as part of their job.

However, conforming to the “always on” mentality is detrimental to our sense of self.

When you prioritize your work to the exclusion of nearly everything else (family, friends, leisure pursuits), as companies want the ideal worker to do, you are shutting out many of the aspects that make you a fulfilled/balanced individual.

It also increases the rate of burnout, while decreasing your ability to handle setbacks like job loss, illness, etc. because you have psychologically put all your eggs into one basket.


Passing

This term was originally coined by sociologist Erving Goffman, who used it to describe how people hide personal characteristics which would otherwise subject them to stigmatization or discrimination, such as disability or race.

In this case, it is used for workers who pretend to be “always on,” but pursue outside interests under the radar of colleagues. Basically, workers “fake it” so they can “make it.”

This isn’t ideal either.

Hiding oneself in this manner takes a psychological toll. Having to lie to colleagues, management, etc. to conceal outside activities and portray oneself as working more than one actually does, lends itself to feelings of in-authenticity and disengagement from colleagues and the organization.

It can also mean high turnover for companies. Passers do not actively challenge the concept of the ideal worker who gives their all to the company, and so they perpetuate the culture in the workplace – causing others to be judged on an ideal to which they do not themselves conform.


Revealing

These are people who do not conform.

They do not hide their lives outside of work, nor allow work to dominate their identities. They set limits and ask for concessions such as reduced schedules, time off, or flexible working conditions.

In today’s high-intensity workplaces, workers who ask for concessions are often seen as being less worthy of advancement. They are penalized, their careers stall, they are sanctioned for not conforming.

Revealers in management positions often do not encourage subordinates to challenge the culture because they know the consequences, having felt it themselves.


What can you do?

Reid and Ramarajan offer advice to managers to help break the cycle, such as developing their own identities, moving away from time-based rewards, and helping employees protect their personal lives.

An extra effort needs to be made to not shun reasonable work hours, vacations, and regular leave time. By easing the pressure to constantly be the ‘ideal’ worker, companies/managers will see an increase in employee creativity, resilience, and job satisfaction.

Employees themselves can work to change the culture within their companies by speaking up when colleagues judge each other on the expectation of being “always on.” However, don’t try and fight it alone. Make it a collective effort. Find allies within the company, such as bosses who don’t work weekends themselves and encourage realistic timelines and workloads.

Uncover what people are feeling during a negotiation

negotiation tips emotions expressions

The result of research has shown that negotiating is greatly affected by emotions.

If you are unable to read what the other person is feeling and are only able to hear what they are saying, it is very unlikely that you are going to accomplish everything that you could have through the negotiation.

Wheeling and dealing with an experienced negotiator may prove difficult because of his or her ability to mask emotions. Tone, words, expressions, and body language are all carefully chosen. She may seem impassive or natural to the average person observing. On the other hand, if she believes it will assist with advancing personal gain or interest, she may be able to fake emotions rather convincingly.

That being said, there is always a way to read the other person despite her best attempts to keep you from reading them.

According to Kasia Wezowski, from the Center for Body Language, The secret lies in paying attention to all of the spontaneous and involuntary micro expressions that every one of us demonstrates whenever intense emotion is involved. Once you are aware of exactly what it is you are looking for, you will have an automatic window to openly view the feelings of the other person.

You will be happy to hear that this secret isn’t necessarily something you either do or don’t have; it is a practice that you can learn and improve over time. The best way to test how you are progressing is through real life negotiating situations.

Here are some quick tips you may want to keep in mind, to ellicit and observe people’s micro expressions.


The other person’s face should be your focus.

The next time you have a reason to ask a question while involved in a negotiating scenario, spend at least four seconds studying the face of the other person instead of only listening to the words they are saying.


Share a story with the other person.

Negotiators find it easier to hide their emotions while they are doing the talking.

Spend time describing exactly what it is that you want or tell a story to illustrate your points, rather than asking questions that leave you with less to say.

This will provide you with a good window to observe the reactions of your counterpart.


Create several choices for the other person.

Provide them with a list of options.

Then observe their expressions/reactions to the different choices, to see what they do, or do not like.


To learn more about emotions, micro-expressions and consequent success in negotiation as well as other aspects of your career, take a look at this video.

Understand why your boss is a bully or jerk

boss bullying jerk

There have been several studies completed by researchers on the issue of supervisors who do not treat their employees well.

Some interesting perspectives on the subject are provided by Sherry Moss, who is a Professor of Organisation Studies at Wake Forest University. Sherry refers to such supervisors as “bullying bosses.”

According to Professor Moss, several forms of non-physical aggression, such as putting employees down in front of others, blaming them for things that are not their fault, accusing them of incompetence, ridiculing them, and not giving them credit for the work they have completed, are typical behaviors of bullying bosses.

Some of the negative effects created by these behaviors include job dissatisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and psychological distress. Being treated like this by a boss or manager has also been linked to counterproductive behaviors. For example, if bullying occurs within an organization, employees may begin to purposely slow down the flow of the work, not follow the instructions given by the boss, or show up late for work – if they arrive at all.

An employee who has been bullied by his boss also may end up bullying others himself, without even realizing what is taking place. The habit just becomes natural. When bullied by a boss long enough, an employee may start to be rude to others, humiliating their co-workers; he may even sometimes begin to be aggressive towards the other people he works with.  Bullying also leads to a high turnover rate.

There are many factors that can lead to bullying behavior of bosses. They may be under a lot of pressure from their own supervisor, deal with a lot of stress that comes with their position, and often they may be dealing with frustrating co-workers themselves, which affects their other business relationships. Since they are not able to take these frustrations out on someone above them on the corporate ladder, they look for someone weaker.

These attitudes and behaviors may have nothing to do with the work atmosphere whatsoever. Sometimes the way they act is a direct reflection of their inability to properly handle emotions, and can often be associated with family abuse.

According to research that Professor Moss has been involved in, bullying bosses are most likely to target  employees who are vulnerable or weak, such as people with low self-esteem or low-performing employees.

You might think that star performers would be spared from bullying. In order to give these star workers every opportunity to excel at what they do, a supervisor would be more willing to keep their bullying behavior clear from these employees.

This is not an accurate conclusion, according to the previously cited research. Star employees are also victims of bullying.

So what are the motivations/reasons for bosses to display bullying behavior?

In order to understand exactly why this happens, it is beneficial to be familiar with Social Dominance Theory. The concept explains why certain people have a higher tendency towards social dominance orientation, SDO, than other people. People with a higher SDO generally have a more competitive/dog-eat-dog view of the world and a ‘me verses them’ attitude which is used to separate the losers from the winners.

Individuals with this worldview become attracted to professions and institutions which reinforce and enhance social hierarchies and are more likely to demonstrate a discriminating attitude against groups of a lower-status. This causes them to defend inequality in a way which sustains their access to wealth, power, and status.

How can you deal with a boss with a high SDO?

Professor Moss suggests that you show your boss you respect their position in the hierarchy and avoid overshadowing them. Share the spotlight with them, both privately and publicly.

To find out where you stand on the social dominance scale and/or to understand the behavior of your boss better, complete the questionnaire here.

Countries in Asia with the most bio-tech/pharma activity and jobs

biotechnology jobs in asia

The recent growth and progression of bio-tech/pharma activity in Asia, is shown through two sets of numbers.

According to Tech In Asia, biotech venture capital funding in Asia sky rocketed in value to $174 million, during the first quarter of this year (it was $150 million in 4Q2015). These figures are quite significant, considering that the value was at $9.4 million during the first quarter of 2015.

The “State of Innovation” report by Thomson Reuters provides the other illustrative set of numbers.

From the list of global generators of patents for biotechnology inventions last year, four of the top ten came from Asia. Of the four Asian patent generators, three are institutions in China, with the University of Jiangnan and its 287 inventions, placing second to the 407 inventions of DuPont.

So clearly there is a lot going on. But which countries in Asia are the best places for biotech activity, funding and jobs?

Here is a ranking according to GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology news), which evaluates countries based on the following criteria:

  1. Public R&D spending.
  2. Number of patents.
  3. Size and number of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).
  4. Number of jobs.

8th Place: Malaysia

In 2005, Malaysia’s Prime Minister launched the country’s first national biotech program, which set a goal of generating 5 percent of GDP before the year 2020.

The progress they have made has been slow, but it has at least been steady. As of April 2016, Malaysia had 25,397 people working in the biotech sector, as the country works towards an ambitious goal of 170,000 biotech jobs by 2020.

They were able to come one step closer to the goal this April, when 20 biotech companies in the city of Johor, joined 17 other companies in a training program to prepare college students for careers in the industry.

In 2015, over 1,800 students completed the program and more than 70 percent of them found jobs in the sector.


7th Place: Singapore

While Singapore may currently be lacking in numbers, their activity is more than strong and ongoing.

The country has an enviable and well known concentration of over 30 corporate giants, that have created Asian regional headquarters and/or R&D sites.

In April of this year, Nestle committed to expanding its activity within the country, creating and developing a Nestle Research Center at Biopolis, which has been the hub of Singapore’s biomedical research, with its main focus being healthy aging.


6th Place: Australia

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, announced the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) last December. NISA was designed to position Australia as a biotech leader.

The provisions provided for NISA included a Biomedical Translation Fund worth $181 million. The fund was designed to develop more commercialization of new technologies and create additional tax incentives for startup investment.


5th Place: Taiwan

Taiwan takes fifth place with the assistance of President Tsai Ing-wen identifying biotechnology as one of five sectors which will be expanding through both government and private activity.

Later this year, Taiwan will launch a Bio Economy plan geared at increasing their bio industry to over $92 billion by the year 2020.


4th Place: South Korea

Government support for over 100 biotech startups will be part of the plan for increasing South Korea’s global biotech market share more than 3.5 percent by the year 2025.

They also have other/big plans to grow the biopharma industry, which includes an R&D center to assist early-stage companies.


3rd Place: India

In third place, India finished 2015 strong by releasing a five year National Biotechnology Development Strategy of its own. The goal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to develop the biotech sector into a $100 billion industry no later than 2025.


2nd Place: Japan

Japan takes the second spot on the list.

Over the last few years, biotech firms throughout the country have been making their presence known amongst the pharmaceutical giants which dominated the bio industry. These Biotechs collected the third largest amount of capital through IPOs since 2015.


1st Place: China

China is the leading Bio cluster up to this point in 2016. They placed number one in four of the five measures used for building the ranking, such as:

  • R&D ($369 billion)
  • IPOs ($1.936 billion raised)
  • Number of companies (7,500)

Remaining on top of the list in research and development is one of China’s top priorities, to continue throughout the next five years.

First robot receptionist starts work in Singapore

first robot receptionist in singapore

Nadine was created at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, by a team led by Professor Nadia Thalmann, at the Institute of Media Innovation.

She will start work this Saturday as a receptionist at NTU and some of her capabilities include:

  • Having a distinct personality.
  • Making eye contact.
  • Recognizing people she meets and recalling previous conversations.
  • Expressing moods and emotions.
  • Grasping things quickly and acting as per the needs of the situation.
  • Working for extended hours efficiently.

As a receptionist, “she can say goodbye and good morning, and keep a list of what to do. She will take documents we hand to her, read them and, being a computer, keep it filed. She will do it perfectly, and better than a standard receptionist,” said Nadia.

While the technology still has a lot of scope for improvement and development, the goal is for robots such as Nadine, to help meet manpower requirements in areas like admin and healthcare.

Here’s a video of Nadine interacting with Professor Thalmann.

Malaysians Score Low in Latest Healthy Living Index

Smartphone addiction

The latest installment of the Healthy Living Index isn’t kind to Malaysians. For 2016, the AIA group polled over 10,000 adults in 15 Asia Pacific nations, and asked them to rate their health status. Among those nations, 73 points was the average rating for satisfaction with health status. Malaysia had 68 points, based on 751 Malaysians polled.

A number of factors combined to keep health satisfaction scores lower. When asked if they felt their health was as good as it was five years ago, 70 percent of Malaysians said no. More troubling is a feeling among younger Malaysians (30 or younger) that their health could be better. A factor that causes concern for future Malaysians is one that shows rising obesity numbers, for both adults and children.

While the fact that many Malaysians feel their health should be better is a positive, different aspects of their lives contribute to the general feeling of unhealthiness. What are some of them?

Poor nutritional habits lead to obesity problems for ALL Malaysians

The number of Malaysians whose weight falls into the “obese” category is now up to 55 percent. Obesity is just one of many outcomes of poor nutritional habits and ideas.

  • Being distracted by computer or smartphone screens while eating – 86 percent
  • Eating unhealthy snacks – 81 percent
  • Preconceptions that “healthy food” is more expensive – 81 percent
  • Late hours for meals – 73 percent
  • Healthy food doesn’t taste very good – 64 percent
  • Healthy foods are more difficult to prepare – 58 percent

Malaysian adults are aware of the need for weight loss. At least 60 percent felt like they needed to lose at least 15 lbs. Many of those adults (17 percent) would like to see their children lose at least 10 lbs. But it’s not just poor nutrition habits that are causing obesity issues in Malaysia.

Too much internet and smartphone and not enough exercise

Just as it has become for the majority of the world, Malaysians are spending too much time staring at screens, and not enough time on physical activity. Sixty-eight percent of Malaysians admitted that they are addicted to online activities, compared to a regional average of 57 percent.

There is a growing fear that the addiction trend will continue, as younger Malaysians, comfortable with the growing aspects of internet activities, mature into adults. Half of the surveyed parents believed that their children were spending entirely too much time in front of a TV screen, computer screen, or playing video games.

Overall, Malaysians admitted to spending 4.1 hours a week in front of a screen (non-work time), and only 2.6 hours in physical activity (compared to 3.5 hours recommended by fitness experts). So poor nutrition, coupled with low amounts of exercise, has led to many Malaysians feeling overweight, but do they understand the health concerns brought about by their condition?

Concern and awareness of obesity-related problems

Malaysians are aware, and concerned, about their health, especially as they age. Most surveyed listed their concerns as: heart issues, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. They also listed concerns about: anxiety, depression, and Alzheimer’s and senility issues.

Even as they express concern about medical issues, only 46 percent of those surveyed have had a medical check-up over the past year. Sadly, that number has declined recently. Fifty-two percent (also the regional average) had a check-up in 2011. That percentage then dropped to 50 percent in 2013.

Malaysians are aware of the negative trends regarding their overall health. Like most, they express a desire to improve their eating habits and lifestyle choices toward that end. Seventy-five percent say they have taken small steps to improve their health. That is encouraging. However, the same percentage admits to not knowing exactly what steps they should take, and feel they would be able to achieve better results with proper guidance.

As health care costs continue to skyrocket, the people of Malaysia find themselves in a situation similar to other Asia Pacific nations. Their eating and lifestyle habits are causing obesity problems, which can cause serious health problems as they age. The positive to take from this situation is that they are aware of the issues, and would welcome guidance toward a healthier lifestyle. Hopefully that guidance, through an improved and pro-active health care system, can be made available, for the sake of all Malaysians.

Women Can Save Companies Millions by Booking Travel

Female business traveler

Both men and women travel for business, but it’s no surprise that the two genders tend to go about that travel differently. Research conducted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) Solutions Group is showing a surprising trend: women tend to book business travel sooner than their male counterparts. On average, women tend to book their business travel about two days earlier than men. Earlier research suggests that this is perhaps because women tend to stress about work-related travel and unforeseen events more than men. The mindset seems to be that the earlier a trip is booked, the fewer unforeseen issues arise.

This mindset is impacting the bottom-line for companies, who see an average of two percent savings on tickets booked by female employees, after controlling for other factors. The savings average $113 per ticket without controls, and $17 after controlling for other factors like routes and class. This saving adds up over the course of the year. A large company that pays for 2,000 trips/month could save $1.1 million.

There are some key areas where the gender difference is less. First, Millennials show the least difference in advance booking time. Second, the older a traveler is, male or female, the more likely that they will book earlier – regardless of gender or reason for traveling. However, women still tend to book earlier than their male counterparts in older age groups. Third, for road warriors, travelers who book more than 20 trips per year, the male/female difference in lead time dissipates. This may be due to less time in between trips to plan far ahead. Or, it could be that constant travel leads to less stress about unforeseen events while traveling. After all, when one is traveling that much, it is inevitable that certain situations will come up and be dealt with. Once a situation has arisen and been dealt with, it is much easier to incorporate that solution into future travel plans.

Travel preferences and behaviors aren’t just about a business traveler’s convenience. These choices can add up to a large sum over the course of a career. While there is certainly more research to be done on the subject of gender in business travel, these results are an interesting view into the ways that buying habits impact corporate expenditure.

Let purpose guide your career path

purpose career path

The word “purpose” comes from the Old French word purpos and the combination of the Anglo-French words purpos and proposer. 

Purpose is defined as “the reason for which something is done, or created, or for which something exists.”  In its verb form it means “to have as one’s intention or objective.”  As a noun, it proposes a state of being.

Dan Pontefract, the writer of The Purpose Effect, describes a three-way relationship between one’s own sense of purpose, your employer’s intentions, and your role in your job.  When these three pieces are defined, aligned, and work harmoniously with each other, then all three parties—the employee, the organization, and the society—will benefit.  However, if this is not the case, there is the possibility that it can be harmful to the society, the enterprise and the individual.

When a company’s mission/purpose is congruent with that of an employee, then an individual has a higher possibility of achieving fulfillment in his or her life. This is especially so, if the organisation has a social purpose.  Everyone wants to contribute something great to their world.

On the other hand, if a person enters into a business whose objective is in direct conflict with his or her own purpose, he or she can develop a negative association with their place of employment.  This can mean less engagement and a worsening work ethic.  When an individual’s purpose is not being met, he or she can become lethargic, isolated, and apathetic.

Pontefract describes the trifecta as a three-legged bar stool.  When one leg is uneven or broken, things start to crumble, whether it is at the level of the individual, company, or society.  People who are in such scenarios, simply go through the motions, waiting until their voice matters. Just an inch off of one leg of the barstool can lead to a poor outcome.


When you witness someone working hard to fulfill their discovered purpose, you can see them grow, and discover joy and self-confidence. Pontefract states that “when organizational, personal, and role purpose become symbiotic, the pro’s outweigh the con’s time and time again.”

Take Lindsay Hemric for example.  In 2010, Hemric founded and chose to work for Teeki, an eco-friendly clothing company that uses the fibers from recycled water bottles to make clothing, over other manufacturers who made their products in sweatshops, using environmentally devastating practices.  Teeki is committed to helping everyone involved, which helps Lindsay thrive and fulfill her personal purpose.

Purpose comes when you want to give “more” to the world.

Uncharted Play is yet another example of a firm with a higher purpose.  Founded by Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman in 2011, UP was built to deliver “motion-based, off-grid renewable energy,” also known as MORE, into “’everything that moves.’”  Some of their inventions include the Soccket and the Pulse, a soccer ball (the former) and a jump rope (the latter) that produce energy after a few hours of use.  UP wants to use “play” to prove the following:

  • Doing something positive for the environment doesn’t need to be a snore fest.
  • Anybody can be a social innovator.
  • If people all over the world can come together and try to fix the issues that need our attention, then the possibilities are endless.

Both aforementioned companies are trying to serve all of the stakeholders and achieve alignment of personal, organizational, and role purpose.  This symbiotic relationship will provide all parties with happiness.

There are several cautionary tales when it comes to defining and maintaining purpose, both for the person and the business.  Some believe that purpose miraculously appears or is divine intervention at work.  Others argue that they are entitled to be given a purpose by their employers, but some higher ups disagree, especially if they value their profit margin more than their employees.

However, nothing could be further from the truth.  Purpose does not just appear.  It doesn’t grow on trees.  You will never win a purpose at a poker table.  It will not harm your career or the collective.  Purpose does not mean the end of the profit.   It is for the benefit of everyone.

Purpose can be synonymous with “bliss” if you let it.  Purpose needs to be considered personally, for the good of society, and for the organization. So, start searching for your own purpose, find an employer that aligns with your purpose, and define your role in that company, and start searching for your bliss.

Number of millionaires on the rise in Asia

asia income china india malaysia hong kong thailand indonesia australia

Private financial wealth globally grew by 5.2% in 2015.

This is as per the BCG annual wealth report, which looks at private wealth in the form of cash, deposits and assets (excluding property).

A big chunk of this growth was due to the Asia Pacific region, which is on course to surpass Europe as the wealthiest region after North America, in 2017.


asia pacific richest people growth


Relatively stronger GDP growth in China and India, led to a big boost in the number of millionaire households in those countries.

This helped the Asia Pacific region to be the only one posting double digit wealth growth (13%).

global and asia wealth growth 2016


In developing markets, including in Asia, new wealth is driving growth. New wealth includes sources such as rising household income, as opposed to existing assets such as equity/bonds.

new wealth driving growth in asia


Similar to other regions, the wealth held by millionaire households is predicted to rise faster than non-millionaire households. This will continue to increase income inequality.

income inquality will rise in asia

Healthy living/working : Hong Kong in last place out of 15 countries in APAC

hong kong healthy living index

An AIA Group commissioned study queried more than 600 adults in Hong Kong about their lifestyle and work/life balance.

Overall, the study was conducted across 15 Asia Pacific countries and numbered over 10,000 people. Some of the countries involved, include China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Factors considered in the study included sleep deficit and stress level comparisons.


Tired workers

Hong Kong’s working population isn’t sleeping enough.

Based on a healthy average of eight hours per night, they averaged only 6.5 hours of sleep. The 1.5 hour sleep deficit is the highest of the 15 APAC countries surveyed.

It’s not like Hong Kongers don’t want a healthy amount of sleep, but it seems other factors in their lives are making it difficult.


Internet addiction

Surprisingly, the largest contributor to sleep deficit numbers for Hong Kongers is the amount of non-work time they spend on the internet.

On average they spend 3.7 hours of their time either on smartphones or other electronic devices. 64% of adults in Hong Kong admit to internet addiction.

Their time spent on the internet contributes to negative behaviors, in addition to lack of sleep. Diminished exercise time, poor posture and poor eating habits all result from the distraction of internet addiction.

Aside from a lack of sleep, internet addiction, not enough exercise, and poor eating habits, what else bedevils Hong Kong’s working adults?


Off-hours work expectations

Not only are Hong Kongers dealing with all the above dilemmas, roughly 70 percent are expected to be available for work calls/matters outside of office hours.

Working during off hours can be bad enough, but only 16 percent of those workers felt they had the tools necessary to competently/effectively accomplish their work tasks done during this time.


The results: High Stress levels

Tired, distracted, out-of-shape, overworked, under-equipped.

People with these symptoms are at a risk for high stress levels.

Not surprisingly, workers in Hong Kong rank the highest when it comes to stress. Of the APAC nations, Hong Kong rated 6.7 (out of 10). Other APAC countries averaged 6.2.

Such high stress levels can only make for disgruntled and inefficient workers. High stress can also lead to numerous other health issues such as depression, heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

As the study shows, health conditions for Hong Kong’s workers are not improving. They are deteriorating. Finding a solution to this dilemma will benefit business and worker alike.