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Post COVID Leadership Tests

by John Knell

The International Congress and Convention Association recently held a thought leadership event for organizers of conferences.  The speaker was John Knell (, a strategy consultant who works across the private, public and government sectors as a cultural policy consultant, analyst, writer, and public speaker.

Mr. Knell sees three tests of leadership:

  1. Leadership is like flying without an instrument panel
  2. Leaders need to understand the silent g-forces of constant reentry
  3. Leaders need to find a balance between efficiency and resilience

First, leadership today is like flying an airplane when the instrument panel has stopped working.  It is terrifying, but he suggested that we must first be nice to ourselves.  Then we must ask ourselves what is most important right now?  What information are we missing?  What might we change now that will have a big effect later (as the pandemic ends)?

Second, we are all affected by these immense forces that have completely changed the rules.  His analogy is the heat shield coming off of a rocket hurtling through the atmosphere.  Leaders must ask ourselves if we want to return to business as usual.  The eco system has changed.  Are we open to these changes?

Mr. Knell tells us not to hide our pain. As leaders, we may not look so smart right now.  We need to reveal our fragile nature and allow others to see it.

Third, this crisis highlights that we need a different equilibrium between efficiency and resilience.  The “new” tools that we use have actually been around for a while, but now we are more dependent on some of the tools.  For example, we have had webinars for years, but now that face-to-face meetings have become problematic, the balance has changed and it is more urgent for us to use online tools well and diversify the digital tools that we are able to use.  The “new normal” is already here, but in the future, the balance may change again.  For example, we may spend more time outdoors in the future because it is safer than indoor spaces. We must constantly assess the value of the tools we use and choose those which hold the most value for us at the moment. 

We need to work together to process these changes.  He quoted Margaret Heffernan who wrote in Uncharted: How to Map the Future Together, “Making the future is a collective activity because no one person can see enough. No one can have an adequate argument alone or in an echo chamber.  So, the capacity to see multiple futures depends critically on the widest possible range of contributors and collaborators.  Leave perspectives out and the future is incomplete or invisible.”

In order to think our way into the future, we must ask if the pandemic has caused us to challenge or question long held beliefs about our field and how it needs to function in the future? Has the pandemic turned any of our established mental models or theories on their heads?  Are there two or three specific areas (digitalization, job insecurity, working remotely) that are now dominating our thinking in a way they were not before? Look for inspiration in related sectors to give a new feel to what you are doing.  Which tool do I need?  Then look for that tool.  What are your special skills?  How does it all fit together?

Mr. Knell gave an example for meeting planners that APCDA conference attendees may find relevant.  The content of the conference is the excuse we use to get together. Networking is the real payoff from any conference.  When the event arrives, we have very little time to meet the people who will be the most helpful to us.  Before the event, we can use digital tools to review the list of attendees and tailor a short list of people who we most need to spend time with.  In this way, our time will be spent more effectively when the event is live. This lesson is as valuable for this year's virtual conference as for next year's in-person conference. 

Maximizing Career: Guidance & Development-Global Digital Careers Advocacy Series

By Raza Abbas

As an impactful, global career practitioner during the Covid-19 pandemic, I reflected on the critical importance of career guidance around the world to individual countries and to their respective citizens.  Citizens around the world are experiencing lockdowns, society at large is shifting to new norm and everyone is increasingly becoming more digital. This led to the creation of my YouTube Channel and taking inspiration from IAEVG’s 2021 International Conference Theme: Maximizing Career: Guidance & Development, I initiated a global digital advocacy series for our careers and livelihood profession.

The YouTube Career Interview Series has the following objectives:

  • Invite leading career influencers globally to share best career practices
  • Ensure that even during the pandemic careers work remains a priority
  • Bridging our career community digitally via collective advocacy
  • Increasing impact and outreach of our meaningful careers work
  • Pro-actively communicate and encourage dialogue with policymakers
  • Provide keen stakeholders with valuable perspectives on the significance of career development from leading career influencers from around the globe to raise awareness on the significance of career guidance and career development especially in the times of Covid-19 pandemic.

As Mr. Anthony Mann, Senior Policy Analyst from the OECD, says, ‘In the pandemic now career guidance is irresistible.’ These inspirational words by Mr. Anthony Mann provide our careers community with real hope and remind us that as career professionals we have a collective responsibility to serve and inspire the diverse communities we live in.

I humbly share 10 interviews released on my YouTube Channel:

  1. Dr. Seth Hayden, NCDA President, USA
  2. Ms. Paula W. Yerama, ED, Career Development Association of Alberta, Canada
  3. Dr. Deirdre Hughes, Intl Career Development Specialist, OBE, UK
  4. Dr. Roberta Neault, President Life Strategies Ltd., Canada,k3EM&t=65s
  5. Dr. Lisa Raufman, Career Strategist, USA
  6. Dr. Gert Van Brussel– President IAEVG, Holland
  7. Mr. Avron Herr, Founder Pace Centre, South Africa,KUWhmg&t=347s
  8. Ms. Tracey Campbell, Seasoned Career Practitioner, Canada
  9. Ms. Sareena Hopkins, ED, Canadian Career Development Foundation, Canada
  10. Ms. Anjana Kulasekara, CEO, Careerme, Sri Lanka

In closing, I am sharing an inspirational quote for our careers profession which was recently published in the Career Development Network (based in the United States), Jan/Feb 2021 global newsletter,

"Never before in the human era has career guidance been so critical as it is presently;
we are on the bridge of human transformation."
by Raza Abbas

More interviews and valuable career perspectives are in the pipeline for the YouTube series. Don't forget to share the impactful videos in your professional career communities/ networks and kindly subscribe to the channel. Collectively as career counsellors, career guidance practitioners, career scholars, career services professionals and career researchers we are making a difference during the pandemic and contributing towards inclusion!  Stay safe and keep thriving!

Career Assessment and Culture

by Dr. Catherine Hughes, Grow Careers, RMIT University, Australia

The diversity of countries and regions represented by APCDA brings cultural diversity and career assessment to the forefront. Many Career Development Practitioners deliver career services in multi-cultural contexts and as such are faced with the challenge of using career assessment tools that are culturally appropriate for clients (Rossier & Duarte, 2019).

It is almost 10 years since I completed by PhD research involving a cross-cultural study that set out to compare the influence of self-concept, parenting style, and individualism-collectivism on career maturity of high school students across Australian and Thai cultural contexts. The study involved adapting four psychological instruments for research across Australian and Thai cultural contexts, eliminating cultural bias and establishing the equivalence of the instruments in both cultures (Hughes, 2011). This aspect of the study illustrates some of the challenges involved in applying psychological instruments such as career assessment inventories developed in one language and culture to a second language and culture.

The Career Development Inventory-Australia (CDI-A; Lokan, 1984) was selected as the measure of career maturity for the purposes of the study. The CDI-A is comprised of four scales.  The Career Planning (CP) scale measures orientation towards planning for future career pathways. The Career Exploration (CE) scale measures awareness and use of people, print, and digital resources for career exploration planning. The World of Work Information (WW) scale assesses knowledge of career development, occupations, education and training. The Decision Making (DM) scale presents career decision making scenarios and respondents choose the most appropriate response option.

This article describes the processes involved in adapting the CDI-A for use in Thailand and for valid comparison of career maturity across Thai and Australian cultural contexts. This will be followed by an invitation for APCDA members to submit blog articles about their experiences in developing, adapting or using culturally appropriate career assessments.

The adaptation of the CDI-A for Thailand was underpinned by the Universalist orientation to cross-cultural psychology (Berry et al., 1992). Accordingly, it was assumed that career maturity is likely to be similar across cultures, but is influenced by cultural context. The Universalist theoretical orientation compares with Relativism, which assumes that psychological differences between societies throughout the world can only be explained by the cultural context and Absolutism which assumes that psychological concepts are essentially the same and have the same meaning in all cultures. Relativism avoids adapting instruments for another culture, Absolutism readily adapts instruments for another culture. and Universalism supports the adaptation of psychological instruments after appropriate modifications are made to account for local cultural understandings (Berry et al.)

The adaptation of the CDI-A for Thailand applied Berry’s (1969) combined etic-emic model for adapting instruments for cross-cultural research. Etics refers to ideas, behaviours, concepts and other elements of culture that are universal, common, or culture-general. Etic concepts are assumed to be culture-free, or at least to apply in more than one culture. Emics refers to ideas, behaviours concepts and other elements of culture that are local, unique, or culture-specific (Triandis, 1994; Berry et al., 1992). The combined etic-emic approach involves transporting an instrument into the target culture as an ‘imposed etic’. Using an iterative process, changes are made to account for local cultural understandings with the aim of achieving a ‘derived etic’. When a ‘derived etic’ is achieved the instrument is considered suitable for application across the cultures concerned.

Applying the combined etic-emic approach to the adaptation of the CDI-A included these steps:

  1. Inspection of the CDI-A to identify cultural bias. The WW and the DM scales contained several references to the Australian world of work and education and training system. These scales were emic to Australia and were not appropriate for adaptation for Thailand.
  2. Inspection of the CP and CE scales by bi-lingual Thai academics with expertise in career development, who advised that the CP and CE and were suitable for adaptation for Thailand.
  3. Translation of the CP and CE scales into Thai language. This was followed by independent back translation to evaluate translation quality, identify etic and emic aspects, and where needed to culturally decenter the instrument by modifying the Thai and Australian versions to account for local cultural understandings (Werner & Campbell, 1970). For example, the Thai back-translation of CE items concerned with digital career exploration was applied to the CDI-A as the Thai back-translation wording better reflected contemporary exploratory resources in both countries. The CDI-A CP item concerned with seeking part-time work to explore an occupation or earn income to support study was emic to Australia. The Thai back-translator advised that it is uncommon for Thai high school students to work part-time, but if they did, it would likely be in a family business and the meaning would be related to family obligation.
  4. Field testing of the modified Thai translation by 18 Thai high school students aged 14-18 years who checked the scales for understanding of the instructions and item content, suitability of the language, and familiarity of the response format. Changes suggested by the Thai students were included. These changes made the language less formal and more suitable for Thai adolescents.
  5. The final Thai version of the CP and CE scales was reviewed by a Thai academic with expertise in career development and confirmed as appropriate for administration to Thai students.
  6. A study involving a sample of Year 9 and Year 11 Australian and Mathayom Suksa 3 (i.e., Year 9) and Mathayom Suksa 5 (i.e. Year 11) Thai students assessed the psychometric properties and cross-cultural equivalence of the Australian and Thai CP and CE scales. The Thai CP scale had adequate internal consistency reliability and test-retest reliability over a 10-day interval. The Thai CE scale had poor internal consistency and test-retest reliability.  The Australian CP and CE scales had adequate reliability. Principal component analysis and computation of congruence coefficients provided some support for the construct validity and equivalence of the Australian and Thai CP scale.

The combined etic-emic process described above resulted in the achievement of derived etic status across Thai and Australian cultural contexts for only the CP scale of the CDI-A.

The application of the Universalist approach to cross-cultural research and the combined etic-emic model of adapting the CDI-A for Thailand highlights the need for rigour and critical evaluation of the cultural applicability of career assessment instruments transported from one language and culture into a second language and culture. 

Processes similar to those used to adapt the CDI-A for Thailand by eliminating cultural bias and establishing instrument equivalence are time-consuming and expensive to put into practice. Similarly, from a Relativist theoretical perspective, developing local, culture-specific career assessment instruments is also time-consuming and expensive. What are busy career practitioners working in multi-cultural or cross-cultural contexts to do? Leong and Serafica (2001) describe a cultural accommodation approach, which involves identifying cultural gaps in an existing theory or assessment tool, identifying and adding culture-specific aspects to accommodate the theory or assessment tool to the new culture, and testing the culturally accommodated theory or assessment tool to determine whether it has increased validity over and above the original. Rossier and Duarte (2019) recommend integrated approaches that go beyond quantitative career assessment, such as combining multiple approaches to career assessment or blending objective, subjective, contextual and cultural information.

You are invited to keep the conversation about career assessment and culture going during February, March and April. You are invited to contribute articles (approximately 600-1,000 words) for publication in Career Trends. Topics include:

  1. Cultural adaptation of career theories, practices or career assessment instruments in your country.
  2. Development of local culturally relevant career assessment tools or practices.
  3. International collaborations examining cultural or national differences in career development or cross-cultural research collaborations.

Your articles can be emailed to:


  1. Berry, J. W. (1969). On cross-cultural comparability. International Journal of Psychology, 4, 119-128.
  2. Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H., & Dasen, P. R. (1992). Cross-cultural psychology:  Research and applications. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Hughes, C. (2011). The influence of self-concept, parenting style and individualism-collectivism on career maturity in Australia and Thailand. International Journal of Educational and Vocational Guidance, 11, 197-210.
  4. Leong, F. T. L. & Serafica, F. C. (2001). Cross-cultural perspective on Super’s career development theory: Career maturity and cultural accommodation. In F. T. L. Leong & A. Barak (Eds.), Contemporary models in vocational psychology: A volume in honor of Samuel H. Osipow (pp. 167-205). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  5. Lokan, J. (1984a) Career Development Inventory Australia Manual. Australian Council of Educational Research.
  6. Rossier, J. & Duarte, M. E. (2019). Testing and assessment in an international context: Cross- and multi-cultural issues. In J. A. Athanasou & H. N. Perera (Eds.). International handbook of career guidance (2nd ed.) (pp. 613-637). Springer.             
  7. Triandis, H. C. (1994). Culture and social behaviour. Graw-Hill.
  8. Werner, O. & Campbell, D. (1970). Translating, working through interpreters, and the problem of decentring. In R. Naroll & R. Cohen (Eds.) A handbook of method in cultural anthropology (pp. 398-420). Natural History Press.

APCDA Competencies:

  • Career Development
  • Ethics
  • Research
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Webinar by Dr. Farouk Dey

Reviewed by Dr. Rich Feller

Global career services shifted on November 16. Farouk Dey’s APCDA seminar shook me. If you missed it, click here to register for the free recording.

Most APCDA webinars provide interesting concepts causing us to evaluate our career work, or to cautiously implement the skills we learned.  As experienced career practitioners with many tools we are most comfortable with the insights with which we were trained.  Webinars nudge us to make small changes, but the change is typically gradual.  Incorporating a new vision takes energy to overcome habits. Learning new tools requires study and overcoming resistance.

Dr. Dey’s webinar challenges us to unpack our thinking and fill it with some different tools.  Are we willing to do that? What kind of leadership does he ask of us?  When career needs are increasing and resources are stable at best, what outcomes will we obtain if we do more of the same?

Most career practitioners first think “work with clients one-on-one”.  Will there ever be enough career practitioners to serve infinite career decision making needs with that mindset?  We all see the need to serve more clients, scale programs, and provide more efficient human-centric services. A key is building structures so that every student is engaged in designing their careers. 

Encouraging clients to make audacious choices, develop curiosity, seek inspiration, embrace self-direction, and access networks in order to connect to opportunity are now essential. 

Join the dialog.  Watch Dr Dey’s free webinar and discuss these ideas with other members and colleagues.  How can these ideas be useful in your setting?  I’m confident this discussion is especially relevant to our career services work. I’m so glad Farouk shook me.

Kazakhstani Career Forum: Links between Employers and Higher Education Institutions

By Madina Aitakanova, Balagul Abduali and Gulnur Ismayil-Isparova 

On October 29, 2020, the Career and Advising Center at Nazarbayev University organized the online Career Center’s Forum on the topic "Links between employers and higher education institutions" as part of the sharing experience program. The Career Center’s Forum brought together employees of university career centers, career development and planning professionals and employers.

The Nazarbayev University Career Advising Center started the development of a platform for the exchange of experience and best practices through seminars and sessions in 2015. In addition to seminars, the Center has also been conducting special job shadowing sessions for individual universities upon their request. For a more systematic and conceptual approach to the sharing experience program, in October 2019, the Center launched a series of 9 webinars attended by representatives of more than 40 universities in Kazakhstan.

Related to the experience of universities and employers, the Forum presented trends in the labor market of Kazakhstan (for example, optimization by reducing working hours, but not reducing number of employees) and measures to support employment taken by the government (Daulet Argandykov, President of the Center for the Workforce Development). These ideas were supported by the results of the research conducted by Ankor, an international staffing company which found that only 12% of the surveyed companies in Kazakhstan are planning staffing cuts. Ankor also presented the results of the first ever study of employers' brands conducted in the labor market of Kazakhstan (Tengizchevroil, Kazatomprom, Air Astana, etc.). Universum presented the results of Talent Research 2020 conducted among nearly 7 thousand students from Kazakhstan.

The Forum, which was held on the Zoom platform attracted about 110 participants, including colleagues from the career centers of universities from Russia and Belarus. In addition to representatives of universities, employers and specialists in the field of career development attended the event.

One of the guest speakers to the Forum was Ms. Gulnur Ismayil – Isparova, executive Director of Asia Pacific Career Development Association and Acting Associate Vice Rector of ADA University in Azerbaijan. As part of APCDA’s community service and contribution to the field, APCDA leadership is joining various international forums and conferences to share ideas and best practices in career development. Ms. Ismayil – Isparova presented the Association and introduced participants to the scope of APCDA, encouraging them to become members of one of the strongest international career networks in the world. She has also talked about expertise of colleagues across our region with examples from South Korea, China, Japan, Philippines, Australia, USA and Singapore. Important highlights related to the role of government and national agencies in support of extensive private-public partnerships and ways national institutions can be helpful during the pandemic.

To conclude, Ms Ismayil-Isparova drew attention to the article by Dr. Farouk Dey, Vice Provost for Integrative Learning and Life Design at the Johns Hopkins University on 10 Future Trends in College Career Services to share his perspective on the evolution of career centers. Synergy, broader outreach, and development of a University eco-system contribute to the future of university career services, which ensure effective service to students and increase their chances of being successfully employed upon graduation.

We are thankful to our colleagues from Nazarbayev University for this enormous contribution in the field of career development across Kazakhstan!

Career Guidance and Social Justice Website

By Prof. Ronald Sultana

A group of career guidance researchers and practitioners have developed a website that features short pieces on career guidance and social justice. These take the shape of reflections, commentaries, and brief articles. The site also presents case studies where practitioners describe their effort to promote social justice in their daily engagement with citizens in a variety of contexts.

Here is the link to the site:

We invite you to contribute to this initiative, which is being accessed by thousands of people involved in career guidance world-wide.

Here is the link to instructions and style guide for contributors:

Please send your contribution to Tristram Hooley:

We also encourage you to share this information with your network. 

Ronald G. Sultana is professor of education at the University of Malta. He has participated as a consulting expert in several international reviews of career guidance across Europe, and in the Middle East and North Africa region. Professor Sultana has authored or co/edited over 30 volumes, and published more than 120 papers in refereed journals and books. He has most recently edited Career Guidance and Livelihood Planning across the Mediterranean (Sense Publishers, 2017), and has co-edited, with Tristram Hooley and Rie Thomsen, Career Guidance for Social Justice: Contesting Neoliberalism (Routledge, 2018)

Summary of the Post Pandemic Human Resources Panel

By Gyulnur Ismayil

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic the world of work is drastically changing. There is growing uncertainties about jobs and the future of work all around the World. During these difficult times, many people want to know how corporations adapting and the effects on their internal manpower. To discuss these issues and consider further changes in the human resource development sphere, APCDA invited speakers from Human Resources across the region, representing a variety of industries.

Two speakers represented large conglomerate corporations and shared many goals, such as online learning platforms to enable employees to develop their skills.  Mr. Jay Chung heads leadership training for LG in Korea, which manufactures Electronics & Home Appliances, Chemicals (toiletries, food, beverages, etc.), and Telecommunications (telephone service, TV shows, networking for corporations, etc.).  Mr. JP Orbeta is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Ayala Corporation, the oldest corporation in the Philippines, which includes investments in retail, education, real estate, banking, telecommunications, water infrastructure, renewable energy, electronics, information technology, automotive, healthcare, and management and business process outsourcing.  Ms. Shruti Chhabara is a private consultant in India and provide human capital advisory services. 

All three speakers highlighted importance of a digital transformation which forces the urge for skills development. Inevitably tech savviness, critical thinking and adaptability, emotional intelligence, innovation and creativity are the top skills of the future which the distinguished panelists urge our clients to develop. Each speaker brought interesting insights on how human resources are being strategically managed and further steps their companies are taking to ensure their internal manpower is performing effectively, skilled and morally supported.

Big multinational corporation – LG has built an online learning platform to provide non-contact workflow learning. LG’s platform features online classrooms, virtual breakout sessions to build teamwork, and use of extended reality. With the help of this platform, leadership ensures that employees stay connected, customize their specific content anytime and anywhere, engage with the broader community of workers, and are dynamic in their development through coaching and training. Thus, it helps LG to reach its goal of protecting the core employees while continuing to be healthy customer-focused organization.

Ayala Corporation has built Ayala University by both adapting and building the curriculum and platform they need to provide training and skills development programs to its employees. Along with boosting soft skills, they aim to enhance knowledge of employees in the fields of digital project management, cybersecurity, data literacy and the distance economy.

Ms. Chhabra in her turn shared perspectives on how the future workplace will look. In her view, with greater opportunities for woman, we will step into an era of increased remote work with focus on contract and contingent workers proficient in tech skills and ready to fill in the critical roles within organizations. She highlighted that HR is facing several challenges for which it has to enrich, enhance and enable internal talent to function well in the new environment and perform efficiently.

To conclude, the panel discussion brought an interesting perspective on the prospects for the human resources field given the current situation around the world. COVID-19 accelerated anticipated changes in the world of work for which both individuals and organizations must quickly adjust their strategies and expertise.

Click here to view this valuable recorded webinar (free to members, a small fee to non-members).

APCDA: Continuing the Conversation

by Danita Redd and Soonhoon Ahn

COVID-19 Impact on Career Planning! Economic Justice! Sponsorship for APCDA Lifetime Membership! Social Justice! United Nations Sustainable Development Goals! Externships! Generation Alpha! We are just getting started.

In the Western USA and Canada, APCDA members have found a way to stay connected and continue professional development through a regional chapter. The purpose of our nascent group is best understood in our two mottos:

Each teach each other. ~ Soonhoon Ahn’s Nephew

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~African Proverb

Here is a little history: On December 18, 2019, we met at Seattle University in the state of Washington, USA. The Executive Director and APCDA member Hilary Flanagan took us on a tour of the Career Engagement center. The early part of our meeting was spent discussing how to use the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in what we do as teachers, counselors, and mentors. When lunchtime came around, we went to a nearby restaurant with Hilary and nearly all her career center colleagues. We were a culturally diverse group of people sharing over a good meal the stories of our work with students.  The passion for career development was palpable and inspiring to all of us. There was a lot of laughter and starts of new friendships. We were learning, expanding our thinking, and falling in love all over again with our careers.

On July 18, 2020 we met by Zoom to formalize our group. We established a quarterly schedule and plans to use future meetings to fulfill our mottos by teaching each other.  Albeit we are still working on phrasing for our theme for the next year, the focus will be on SDGs and career planning in a world impacted by COVID-19. We also made sure everyone understood current membership in APCDA was required.

We have Soonhoon Ahn to thank for getting us together. Albeit her idea, we have taken over and are excited about our endeavor. Dr. Xiaolu Hu and Professor Danita Redd are currently serving as co-facilitators. For sure, we will have more to share with you as time goes on. In the meanwhile: Please peruse the SDGs at:

Career Conversations:
Maximizing Impact of Career Guidance Digitally

by Raza Abbas

As a global career practitioner, it is imperative that we initiate career conversations on a regular basis with experts from diverse professions.

Recently I took a global initiative interviewing diverse range of futuristic career professionals for my Youtube-Channel.  I am sharing the links of the first two episodes; we have further career conversation interviews lined up. Stay tuned.

As career practitioners, researchers and counsellors, I am empowering all of you to do the same in your respective countries and regions to maximize the impact of career guidance digitally in this new normal.


Geographic Information System-GIS- Episode 2

Speech Language & Hearing Sciences: Episode 1

Let’s amplify career work :)

Review of the Post-Pandemic Labor Market Panel Webinar

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

Before COVID

Current Labor Market


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

0.2 – 0.8 (estimate)

Exports & International Trade


Closed, Essentials only

Growing Industries

Sports. Entertainment, eCommerce, and Manufacturing

eCommerce, Agriculture

Emerging Technologies

Education, Banking, eCommerce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Satomi Chudasama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regional Report

from Southeast Australia, New Zealand, and Samoa

May 2020

by Allan Gatenby


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Post-Pandemic World of Work

Virtual Regional Member Discussions

by Marilyn Maze, PhD

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

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

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

How many of these changes will continue post-COVID?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thriving through Change: In Giving We Receive

by Allan Gatenby, FRIEdr FRIM CMF JP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Economic Impact of the Coronavirus in Asia Pacific

By Han Kok Kwang
Director, Personal Mastery Resources
1st Legacy Partner Lifetime Member, APCDA

From experience, Health Outbreaks like SARS (8,000 affected) and the coronavirus: COVID-19 (70,000+ affected to date) often trigger multilateral issues, involving economic, business, medical and personal concerns.

Governments in affected economies have been prompt in handling public information and announcements on what the public should (wash hands often, monitor health, wear a mask when unwell, etc.) and should not do (panic) amid a health scare. Though it is still evolving, economies are already hurting from this Outbreak.

Though the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s experience with SARS 18 years ago tells us that the Asia-Pacific has the wherewithal to cope with such events, it is a different ballgame today. China accounts for 21.4 percent of world GDP (in Purchasing Power Parity, as of end-2018) compared to around 4.5 percent during the SARS outbreak. What happens in China now has almost 5X the impact on the world, compared to the days of SARS.

Being the de facto Factory of the World, China is a key link for many international supply chains. With increased interconnectedness of the global economy, the impact is amplified many times. Prior to COVID-19, US’s trade war with China has already disrupted the region. Now it’s gotten worse. Lower Chinese import demand is a key reason for the slowing growth in virtually the whole region.

Asia-Pacific currencies also tumble under the weight of coronavirus, with Australia and Thailand the worst hit on concern over Chinese demand for minerals and tourism. Christy Tan, Asia head of markets strategy and research at Melbourne-based banking group NAB, said “From a trade war to a war against a virus. It’s a shock to financial markets, to the global growth situation.”

China’s 168 million citizen-tourists in 2019 was also a major revenue source for tourism sectors of many countries.  There is already an observed decline in travel and tourism, including the APCDA Conference 2020 in India. The collateral damage on retail, hospitality receipts and transport sales are expected to reverberate around the world.

In the words of the Prime Minster of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong: "The impact will be significant at least in the next couple of quarters. It is a very intense outbreak. I can't say whether we will have a recession or not. It's possible, but definitely our economy will take a hit. Business at the renowned Changi Airport had suffered with flights down by a third.”

In summary, it’s going to be a long night.

The good news? There’ll be a morning after.

Economies will bounce back, like they always do.

Key lesson learnt?

This Outbreak will not be the last.  Fear is a natural human emotion. But we cannot be paralyzed by fear, which is False Evidence Appearing Real. When in doubt, always look for objective evidence.

While COVID-19 has dominated the media, that vigilance should be balanced with the understanding that influenza is more prevalent and much more likely to impact Americans, says Libby Richards, an associate professor of nursing in Purdue University’s School of Nursing.

The surveillance report for the week ending February 1, 2020, shows flu activity increased in many reporting areas in the US. The report also shows 22 million Americans have suffered from the flu, and that 12,000 adults and 78 children have died during this flu season, which began in October 2019. This shows that economies also have local concerns, in addition to the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Life must go on. As progressive Career Practitioners, we must be ready when the Sun shines again. We are the talent scouts and keepers of the faith. Yes, take all the necessary precautions we need but downtime is the best time for us to dig in, do the work and get ready for the upturn.

Embrace digital wholeheartedly. Leverage Artificial Intelligence to enhance our offerings. Learn how to provide career services even when we cannot do it face to face. Doing so will stand us in good stead because contactless career guidance will figure prominently in the Future of Work, with or without an Outbreak.😊

Career Adaptability:

An Essential Construct for Career Development Practice

Catherine Hughes. PhD
Grow Careers,

It is generally accepted that individuals need to be adaptable to succeed in the contemporary world of work characterized by changing skills requirements, short-term contract work, less secure work arrangements, technological change and more. The concept of career adaptability has featured prominently in the career development literature in recent years. But where did this concept come from? What is career adaptability? How can career practitioners apply career adaptability to support their clients?

Origins of Career Adaptability

Career adaptability first appeared in the career development literature when the usefulness of career maturity for adult career development was questioned. Career maturity refers to career choice readiness and methods of coping with age-appropriate vocational development tasks (Super, 1990). Adaptation to vocational development tasks rather than maturation was considered to be the central process of adult career development (Super & Knasel, 1981). Adaptation accounts more adequately than maturation for the recycling through life stages and revisiting vocational development tasks that adults do when they are faced with expected or unexpected career transitions at varying times throughout their working life. This prompted Super (1983) to reserve career maturity for adolescent career development and recommend career adaptability as the corresponding term for adult career development. In more recent times questions were raised about the relevance of career maturity in diverse and multicultural contexts where contextual factors may influence the timing and nature of the vocational development tasks that adolescents face (Watson, 2008). Concerns such as this resulted in career adaptability being generalized across the life-span as the central career development process for children, adolescents and adults (Savickas, 1997).

Career Adaptability Now

Over the last decade career adaptability has been explained in career construction theory (Savickas, 2013) and has been widely researched (Johnston, 2018 ). Career construction theory proposes that the adaptation that is required to fit oneself to a new environment or changing context results from a sequence of:

  1. Adaptivity, or readiness to meet vocational development tasks, transitions and work traumas
  2. Adaptability, or internal resources to cope with vocational development tasks, transitions and traumas
  3. Adapting, or behavioral responses to vocational development tasks, transitions and traumas.
Savickas (2013, p. 157) noted that “People are more or less prepared to change, differ in their resources to manage change, demonstrate more or less change when change is needed, and as a result, become more or less integrated into life roles over time.”

In career construction theory, career adaptability is one element of adaptation. More specifically, Savickas and Porfeli (2012, p. 662) define career adaptability as “… a psychosocial construct that denotes an individual’s readiness and resources for coping with current and anticipated tasks, transitions, and traumas in their occupational roles …” Career adaptability is comprised of four dimensions, or career adapt-ability resources (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012):

  1. Concern about one’s vocational future and preparing for what lies ahead.
  2. Control by taking responsibility and a conscientious, deliberate and decisive approach to dealing with vocational development tasks, career transitions and work traumas.
  3. Curiosity by engaging in exploratory and information-seeking experiences to try out possible selves and future work scenarios.
  4. Confidence in one’s ability to prepare and execute action plans to implement one’s career aspirations.

In essence, people who show concern about their vocational future, who believe they have some control over it and are deliberate and decisive in dealing with vocational development tasks, transitions and work traumas, who are curious about possible future selves and work scenarios and who feel confident about their capacity to implement their goals possess the internal coping resources to respond with fitting behaviors to new or changed career circumstances.

“Increasing a person’s career adaptability resources, or career adapt-abilities is a central goal in career education and counseling” (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012, p. 663). Accordingly, career adaptability is a construct of great importance to the everyday work of career practitioners.

Applying Career Adaptability

The Career Adapt-Abilties Scale (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012) was developed in collaboration with researchers from 13 different countries. This instrument is freely available from The Career Adapt-Abilties Scale is comprised of 24 items and yields a total career adapt-abilities score. The first six items relate to the Concern Dimension, the next six items relate to the Control Dimension, the next six relate to the Curiosity Dimension and the final six items relate to the Confidence Dimension. This means that scores for each career adaptability dimension can be calculated to more precisely identify student or client career adaptability strengths and career adaptability resources that need further development.

The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale can be used to support career interventions in one-to-one career counseling, group career counseling, career education workshops or career classes. For example:

  1. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale could be used to assess the effectiveness of one-to-one career counseling or group career interventions such as career classes, workshops or group career counseling. It could be administered as a pre-test instrument to assess student or client career adapt-ability resources, design relevant career interventions and administer as a post-test measure to assess the effectiveness of the career interventions in improving student or client career adapt-ability resources.
  2. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale could be used as a readiness screening instrument to assist in determining a suitable level of career service delivery for students or clients (Hughes, 2017; Sampson, Reardon, Peterson, & Lenz, 2004).
  3. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale could be administered prior to a one-to-one career counselling program in a school context. Student responses to the Career Adapt-Abilties scale could be a discussion starter in a career interview.
  4. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale could be used as stimulus for career education lessons. Students could identify their own career adapt-ability resource strengths and those needing further development and design their own career learning contract. Alternatively, career adaptability profile case studies could be developed for small group discussion in a classroom setting.

In summary, career adaptability is a career development construct that is associated with career construction theory. It is highly relevant to the day-to-day work of career practitioners. The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale is freely available and can be used in a variety of ways to assess and enhance student or client career adaptability and their capacity to respond appropriately to vocational development tasks, career transitions and work traumas throughout life.


Hughes, C. (2017). Careers work in schools: cost-effective career services. Samford Valley, Queensland, Australia: Australian Academic Press Group.

Johnston, C. S. (2018). A systematic review of the career adaptability literature and future outlook. Journal of Career Assessment, 26, 3-30. DOI; 10.1177/1069072716679921.

Sampson, J. P., Reardon, R. C., Peterson, G. W. & Lenz, J. G. (2004). Career counseling & services: A cognitive information processing approach. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole – Thompson Learning.

Savickas, M. L. (1997). Career adaptability: An integrative construct for life-span, life-space theory. The Career Development Quarterly, 45, 247-259.

Savickas, M. L. (2013). Career construction theory and practice. In S. B. Brown & R.W. Lent (2013). Career development and counseling: Putting theory and research to work (2nd ed., pp. 147-183). Hoboken: NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Savickas & Porfeli (2012). Career Adapt-Abilities Inventory: Construction, reliability, and measurement equivalence across 13 countries. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80, 661-673. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2012.01.011

Super, D. E. (1983). Assessment in career guidance: Toward truly developmental counseling. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 61, 555-562.

Super, D. E. (1990). A life-span, life-space approach to career development. In D. Brown and L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development: Applying contemporary theories to practice (2nd ed., pp. 197-261).  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Super, D. E. & Knasel, E. G. (1981). Career development in adulthood: Some theoretical problems. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 9, 194-201.

Watson, M. B., (2008). Career maturity assessment in an international context. In J. Athanasou & R. van Estbroeck. International handbook of career guidance (pp. 511-523). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer-Science.

Career Adapt-Ability Scale

By Shelley Tien

According to Mark Savickas and Erik Porfeli (Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80-3, 2012), “Researchers from 13 countries collaborated in constructing a psychometric scale to measure career adaptability. Based on four pilot tests, a research version of the proposed scale consisting of 55 items was field tested in 13 countries. The resulting Career Adapt-Abilities Scale (CAAS) consists of four scales, each with six items. The four scales measure concern, control, curiosity, and confidence as psychosocial resources for managing occupational transitions, developmental tasks, and work traumas.”  The CAAS is available free in English on (

I participated in this study, conducting my research in Taiwan and Macau.  There are now versions translated in many different languages in different countries. For Chinese, there are three versions:  China (Ho), Taiwan (Tien, available at, and in Macao (Tien, available at

The Career Adapt-Ability Scale has 24 items which assess four subscales: Concern, Control, Confidence, and Curiosity. Another subscale, Cooperation, also with 6 items developed by Savickas, was deleted in the world-wide version because the results for this scale were not distinct from the other four subscales. I think the idea of Cooperation is important in Chinese collective culture. One day in Shanghai Normal University, I met Dr. Fred Leong and shared this idea. He totally agreed and we then did a cross country analysis based in the five scales, cooperation included. The results indicated that the five-scale version was also supported. The paper was published in the Journal of Career Assessment.

Many master’s level research theses were conducted in Taiwan based on the CAAS. Most of them describe factors related to using the CAAS. For example, one studied the relationship among career self-efficacy, career adaptability, and work adjustment for adult workers in Taiwan (Chinese version with English abstract is available at  Another study proposed to explore the relationship among career calling, career adaptability, and career satisfaction of teachers with different demographic backgrounds. This study used a set of inventories which measure each of these factors separately. The model proposed that there is a causal relationship among career calling, career adaptability, and career satisfaction.  A causal relationship was confirmed by the data, among other interesting findings.  These results were published in the newsletter of the Taiwan Career Development and Consultation Association, in Chinese (  Contact me at if want to know more about these or other findings.

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