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Overcoming Adversity under the Endless COVID-19 Pandemic Seeking Self-Improvement through Continuous Learning

ˇDIncreasing Business Transparency is Crucial to Talent Recruitment
ˇDOnline Learning Offers a Lot of Advantages

There were repeated COVID-19 epidemic resurgences in 2021. Added to that, there were new variants of coronaviruses in 2022, which might hinder economic recovery. Fortunately, with reference to expert estimation, the pandemic is likely to end after the third year since its outbreak. At present, it is probably too early to give a judgment to this statement. No matter how the market environment is like, pursuing continuous education, adding value to oneself and seeking constant self-improvement are always the best ways to increase oneˇ¦s employability, productivity and competitiveness in the job market. In this volume, we have invited experts from the human resources industry and information technology industry, inviting them to share their insights about the future market development and their experience in continuous education.

Increasing Business Transparency is Crucial to Talent Recruitment

Founded in 1990, Peoplebank is a leading IT talent solution service provider across Asia Pacific, offering permanent and contract recruitment as well as payroll services. Their clients range from public organisations, financial services, IT vendors, telecommunications, and various other multinational companies.

Miss Carrie Tsui, Account & Operations Director of Peoplebank, said from a job seeking standpoint, information on what a company has to offer is not openly available until late into the interview process. While compensation and benefi ts are still important to job seekers, many want to know more about the companyˇ¦s values and policies before joining a company. Miss Tsui advises that employers should think from a job seekerˇ¦s perspective and keep on top of the current HR trends to remain competitive. She added that applicants are now more interested in learning about company culture & values, diversity, equity and inclusion policies and practices, anti-epidemic measures and flexible working policies.

Miss Tsui suggests employers to enhance their business transparency to benefit the companyˇ¦s image. For instance, providing more information on their company websites to introduce their business development plans, work environment and previous employee engagement activities. Providing resources for job seekers such as market information and trends is also a good way for employers to increase their branding presence. Being transparent and open about company and employee activities on social media for example, can greatly increase public engagement and have a more favourable view on job seekers.

Breaking through Pandemic Constraints, Virtual Hiring is the New Normal

Marching towards the post-pandemic era, job seekers and employers have become accustomed to virtual interviews instead of traditional face-to-face meetings. Opting for virtual interviews and leveraging technology has been benefi cial for both the hiring manager and candidate. Miss Tsui adds that with many companies offering remote working policies, it also widens the candidate pool for employers as it gives them the opportunity to hire outside of their geographical radius. Virtual recruitment has the benefit of increased convenience and offers more schedule flexibility, saving time and cost for both parties. However, Miss Tsui also believes that virtual interviews will not completely replace the traditional faceto- face meetings as long as there is still a preference for it.

In addition, we have also seen an increase in employers participating in virtual career fairs this past year as part of their recruitment strategies. Compared to traditional job fairs, a virtual version can be much more convenient with less preparation involved. Miss Tsui says that virtual recruitment fairs provide a low cost, low maintenance method of actively engaging with job seekers in real-time. Companies can create a virtual booth and can provide company information that they feel would attract a candidate and have a real-time chat box to converse with candidates. From a job seekerˇ¦s perspective, they have the benefi t of not needing to take time off to physically go to a job fair and they can submit their CVs with a simple mouse click. Miss Tsui believes that virtual career fairs will continue in the next few years as companies explore and adapt to the new normal.

Despite many companies turning to virtual events, whether it is for internal events or for the hiring process, Miss Tsui adds that many will still prefer face-to-face interactions as it helps to build more rapport among colleagues and prospective employees. In addition, miscommunication and technical issues can be a problem with virtual interaction, which can be solved by meeting in person. Miss Tsui believes that combining both online and offline recruitment methods will work the best for most corporations.

Online Learning Offers a Lot of Advantages

Dr. Leung suggested that people who would like to pursue continuing education may consider taking a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which refers to a free online course available for a great number of students to enrol. Under the influence of COVID-19 pandemic, MOOCs are more flexible than traditional modes of learning. This is particularly true for overseas continuing education programmes when there are travel restrictions owing to the pandemic. There are many different types of MOOCs, from interest classes to master's degree programmes. All MOOCs are conducted online; some are offered by top universities and institutes with worldwide reputation for quality. MOOCs are highly suitable for busy managers.

He added, MOOCs offer fl exible learning opportunities. Learners are expected to manage their time effectively. ˇ§Learners have to persevere for consecutive weeks or even months. They have to acquire new knowledge through taking online classes, completing their assignments and taking quizzes. As some MOOCs are offered by the world's top universities, their tuition fees tend to be higher.ˇ¨

Pursuing Continuing Education; Keeping Abreast ofthe Times

Dr. Leung shared his experience in pursuing continuing education. "Last year, I had taken three MOOCs in design thinking, digital transformation and business negotiation skills. All these courses are offered by leading Singaporean universities. I had chosen to take courses offered by these Singaporean universities because they are high-ranking in the world university league tables. These courses shall be of high quality. In addition, the themes of these courses are on-trend. In particularly, design thinking and digital transformation are hot topics in recent years. On the contrary, traditional degree programmes have to undergo multiple internal assessments by the universities or institutes before they can be officially launched and the processes can be lengthy and time-consuming. While the IT industry is a fast-changing industry, skills and knowledge covered in a traditional IT degree programme might become obsolete before the programme can be officially launched. In this case, it is a more brilliant idea to take MOOCs rather than the traditional modes of learning, owing to the rapid development and constant evolution in the IT industry.ˇ¨

He said that he had obtained his doctoral degree and built a strong foundation. Taking MOOCs can be considered as the "boosters" to grow his skills and knowledge further and enhance his competitiveness in the industry. "For instance, I can integrate my new knowledge in design thinking into IT concepts which I have already known for years. In this way, I can design IT products and offer relevant services which can better suit my customers' needs."

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