Webinar: Are you at a stage where you need to rethink or reinvent your career?

rethink transform career webinar asia

We all have stages in our career, where we need to rethink or reinvent what we’re doing.

Sometimes we need something different.

At other times we outgrow our current role or company and need to think about the next move.

Or maybe we’re happy where we are, but need to do something to take our performance/career to the next level.

According to Herminia Ibarra,  Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, the best way to navigate these situations is to act.

We need to do new things, meet new people and expose ourselves to new information. Experimentation is the name of the game.

She’s sharing her ideas and insights on personal and career transformation, in a free webinar. If you need some guidance or inspiration in this area, it should be an interesting session to attend.

You can view more details and register here.

Workplace lifestyle and health trends in Asia

sitting at desk at work asia

Leading a healthy lifestyle at work, is something that has been getting a fair amount of attention in Asia.

A recent survey by Herbalife Nutrition, looked into some aspects of working healthy, in particular how sedentary people are at workplaces in Asia.

As you might know sitting for prolonged periods of time is very unhealthy and people with desk jobs are especially susceptible to this.

The study engaged 5,500 full time employees across 11 Asia Pacific Markets, including Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The results?


healthy working sedentary asia


9 out of 10 employees in Asia, spend more than 6 hours at their desk, on an average work day.

Twenty-nine percent of Singaporeans eat lunch at their desks four to five times each week. The Asia Pacific average came in at 15 percent.

Furthermore, Singaporean women were more likely to lunch while working and spend more time at their desks in general than men, according to the poll. The average desk time for women clocked in between six and nine hours for 66 percent of the women, four percent higher than male statistics.

In other Asia Pacific markets, percentages fell to either side of the Singaporean results. Hong Kong professionals came in at 34 percent, with Malaysia trailing at a healthier 22 percent. Indonesia claims the highest percentage of workers lunching at their desks, 71 percent.

Increased efficiency and downsizing factor into the equation for Singapore. Maximum output with fewer employees requires greater time commitments. Longer hours and fewer breaks result.

While people in Singapore understand the need and value of pursuing physical activity, according to Dr. Luigi Gratton, vice president of Worldwide Nutrition and Education Development, their sedentary lifestyles highlight that many people are not acting on this knowledge.

This information also bears out in health-related concerns. Weight gain ranked as the top issue for men, 74 percent, and women, 81 percent. Less energy and poor digestive health were next in line, as the top concerns.

Survey respondents recognize the significant role corporate culture plays in enabling them to achieve a healthy lifestyle. They admit that they would be encouraged to adopt a physically active lifestyle if it were part of their corporate culture.

Monetary Authority of Singapore shuts down BSI Bank. Job losses might be contained

bsi bank shut down in singapore job losses

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ordered for the shutting down of operations of BSI Bank in Singapore.

The Swiss bank has been present in Singapore since 2005 and engaged in private banking services.

The bank will lose its status as a merchant bank, as a result of “serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank’s operations, and gross misconduct by some of the bank’s staff.”

“BSI Bank is the worst case of control lapses and gross misconduct that we have seen in the Singapore financial sector.

It is a stark reminder to all financial institutions to take their anti-money laundering responsibilities seriously.

Controls need to be robust, surveillance vigilant, and the management culture must emphasize professional integrity and risk consciousness.”  – Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS.

The last time such an incident took place in Singapore, was over 30 years ago. In 1984 Jardine Fleming was asked to wrap-up it’s outfit because of related lapses.

BSI Bank will also have to pay a fine of SGD 13.3 million, for breach of the regulations.

Allegations against the bank include:

  • Unacceptable risk culture.
  • Blatant disregard for compliance, control and regulatory requirements.
  • Staff making material misrepresentations to auditors and abetting improper valuations of assets.

Several senior staff members will be investigated to evaluate if they have committed criminal offences.

“MAS found considerable evidence of gross dereliction of duty and failure to discharge oversight responsibilities on the part of BSI Bank’s senior management. Their ineffective governance led to a poor risk culture, which prioritized questionable customer demands ahead of compliance with anti-money laundering regulations and the bank’s own internal controls,” MAS said.

Recently, EFG International, a Swiss competitor, received approval to acquire BSI Bank.

The MAS has allowed the transfer of assets from BSI to EFG. This might reduce the number of job losses at the bank.

Future of education in Asian Countries

future of education in asia

Social, technological and economic developments/trends, will significantly increase the importance of education in the coming years.

There are big benefits to be reaped, for countries that invest in education, in order to improve the availability, quality and affordability.

Having a well educated workforce, with relevant skills, is essential for continued economic development and a robust job market.


To provide some insights on these issues, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), looked at how countries globally are expected to perform on the following indicators:

  1. Public expenditure on education.
  2. Affordability of tertiary education.
  3. Youth unemployment.
  4. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates.
  5. Internet access in schools.

Here are the rankings, which show how the countries will perform from now till 2030 (higher ranking is better across all indicators). Asian economies have been marked out for easy reference:

asia education trends ranking 2030


And here are some highlight and conclusions from the report


Public Expenditure on Education

  • An area of concern is that even though countries like India will spend more on education, there will be insufficient focus on the quality of the education being provided.
  • The bottom of the rankings has numerous countries with shrinking and aging populations, including Hong Kong SAR, Japan, People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Singapore.
  • Most of the countries in Asia do not fare very well on this measure.

asia public spending as percentage of gdp


Affordability of Tertiary Education

Countries fare better on this indicator if the cost of a 4 year degree is lower relative to income per head.

  • After the top 5 economies, costs begin to increase rapidly and towards the bottom, where we find economies like India and Indonesia where the cost of a degree is between 200% and 500% of average income. However. this is still a big improvement for some economies, like India, where the number was 503% in 2015 (263% expected in 2030).
  • In Singapore the cost of getting a degree is expected to increase quite a bit. It is projected to cost around 70% of average annual income, as compared to 53% in 2015.
  • The performance of countries in Asia is mostly around the middle.

cost of degree in asia


Youth Unemployment 

Youth unemployment has dire political, economic and social implications.

  • Many of the Asian economies in the top 10, like Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, have demographics that point towards a tightening labour market over the next 15 years. This will  result in lower rates of youth unemployment.
  • Others, like India, will be aided by good economic growth.
  • Many countries that are currently facing high levels of youth unemployment will see those levels reduce but still remain high.

unemployment in asia


STEM Graduates

With the increased use of technology, jobs in the future will require a different set of skills. STEM will weigh heavily in that mix and countries that perform best are those that graduate the most students with STEM degrees as a percentage of the overall labour force.

  • In absolute terms, India and China will have the most STEM graduates. India is expected to have 1.7 million STEM graduates in 2030 and China 400,000. But size of the class does not indicate quality, which is already a concern with India’s recent STEM grads.

stem graduates in asia


Internet Access in Schools

Internet access in schools is well correlated with a nation’s wealth.

  • In Hong Kong the Internet will reach nearly all schools.

internet access in asian schools


For more details and to download the full report, head over the the EIU website.

Ranking of best Asian countries for women to live and work

best women work Singapore, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia

A study by  BAV Consulting, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. News & World Report, provides a ranking of the best places for women to live and work.

To score countries, they looked at the following attributes:

  1. Cares about human rights
  2. Gender equality
  3. Income equality
  4. Safety
  5. Progressiveness

The Nordic countries fared best in the ranking. Pakistan and Algeria, were ranked as the two worst countries for women to live and work.


Here are the top 20 countries globally for women to live and work:

  1. Denmark
  2. Sweden
  3. Canada
  4. Netherlands
  5. Australia
  6. New Zealand
  7. Germany
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Luxembourg
  10. Austria
  11. France
  12. Ireland
  13. United States
  14. Japan
  15. Spain
  16. Italy
  17. Portugal
  18. Singapore
  19. Czech Republic
  20. China

Rankings of Asian countries, for women to live and work:

  • South Korea – 23
  • Malaysia – 35
  • Thailand – 36
  • Philippines – 41
  • Vietnam – 43
  •  India – 44
  • Indonesia – 50

‘Paw-ternity’ Leave For Employees At ANZ Bank

pet leave new zealand australia anz

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), one of the largest banks in Australia ad New Zealand, recently introduced a new policy.

The bank now provides paid ‘pet leave.’

Pet owners can apply for ‘paw-ternity leave’ to take care of young or new pets, similar to how parents apply for leave to care for their children.

Leave applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis and only a handful have been approved so far. Some staff have been given several weeks leave to ensure their pet is well taken care of.

“Anyone can request flexibility for any reason, including ‘paw-ternity’ leave. For our employees, flexibility is about supporting our people in delivering results in the most productive way possible, while balancing these commitments with personal priorities. Arrangements are agreed on an individual basis between an employee and their line manager.” – ANZ spokeswoman Sonia Bell.


Also known as ‘pet-ternity leave’ or ‘pup-ternity leave,’ the trend has been growing in other places around the world such as the UK.

According to Petplan, an insurance provider for pets, 5% (i.e. 1 in 20 people) of pet owners in the United Kingdom have availed of the benefit.

The trend is yet to catch on in the US though.


As per pet experts and the Psychology Today magazine:

  • Pet owners have better fitness levels, sociability, happiness levels and self esteem, relative to those who do not own pets.
  • It is important for pet owners to have enough free time and to be around, when they have a new pet in the house. This helps the furry friends to settle in properly, develop well and get the right kind of training from the get-go.

pet leave new zealand australia anz