By Prof Dr Pradeep Nair, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, Taylor’s University
The World Economic Forum (WEF) published ‘The Future of Jobs Report’ in 2020, warning that recession and the robot revolution may displace 85 million jobs by 2025. Machines are set to take over information and data processing, administrative tasks and routine manual jobs of white collar and blue collar workers.
The Covid-19 pandemic, border closures and national lockdowns have accelerated these changes in an unprecedented way, with businesses across the globe hastening their digitalisation of work processes and automation, with millions of low-skilled workers bearing the brunt.
Yet, the silver lining is that an estimated 97 million other jobs would be created, especially in industries requiring soft skills such critical thinking, creativity, reasoning and communication. These industries include artificial intelligence, content creation, engineering, cloud computing, and product development.
The catch is – are you the kind of worker that companies want to keep, or hire, in 2025?
The WEF says that to keep their jobs in the next five years, 50% of workers will need to reskill. In fact, by 2022, 42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change.
Perhaps it is during the pandemic that many have realised that they need a fall back plan, which would enable them to value add to their current set of skills or quickly switch to a different industry. At Taylor’s, we’ve seen an increasing interest in courses such as data analysis, computing and education.
It’s with this realisation that workers have to pivot their careers and align with industry needs, that the Malaysian government allocated RM1billion in Budget 2022 for upskilling and reskilling programmes.
This also accommodates tax reliefs for those looking to level up their skills, with exemptions ranging from RM1,000 to RM2,000 for expenses incurred when attending reskilling and upskilling courses, claimable until 2023. Those looking to attend private upskilling courses would also be given a RM7,000 tax relief for their course fees, as long as they are enrolled in an approved institution or body.
Reskilling and upskilling can take many forms; such as through added responsibilities in a current job role, job rotations, being coached by peers or through a company’s learning and development programme.
However, one can agree that there are obstacles – be it company policies, lack of opportunities, or the structured manner of job roles – when employees want to ‘try out’ other job roles they are not skilled for, or to take up a company-funded programme with regards to a skill that is not at all related to their job.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for flexible short courses that helps you gain the required skills you desire without hurting your pocket, and even gain certification for it, there are microcredential programmes available.
What are microcredentials?
Microcredentials is an industry recognised certification of learning of a smaller set of courses with credit value. It is designed to verify, validate, and attest that you have the knowledge, skills, or competencies in a specific area.
They are shorter, focused on a specific topic or skill, and more flexible than a traditional degree and designed according to the current market trends for various industries and professions.
Alternatively, those who have time on their hands could consider postgraduate courses, with an end-goal in mind. A Master’s or PhD programme would be appropriate for those wanting to deepen their knowledge in a particular area in an industry, or pivot their career into a different industry altogether such as counselling or teaching, or use this as a stepping stone into research and academia.
One may also enroll in a Master’s course if he or she is aiming to stand out from other job candidates, gain management skills and form networks in the industry, such as in the case of pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration.
Additionally, one can also look into postgraduate diplomas, which is a shorter duration compared to a Master’s degree.
No matter the route you take, the signs are clear; we need to start taking note of the changes in the job market and in the industry, and act before we are left behind.
Options for upskilling and reskilling is critical for Malaysians at this juncture, as a report published by McKinsey & Co (McKinsey) titled ‘Automation and adaptability: How Malaysia can navigate the future of work’ confirms the global findings of WEF.
By 2030, we will see 4.5 million people losing their jobs in Malaysia. That is approximately 25% of the workforce in the country.
Fortunately, new jobs that are emerging are those that can co-exist with technology, hence the need for working adults to upskill or reskill not just for career progression or a career switch, but to keep their jobs.
Such options will be increasingly mainstream as people approach education with a lifelong learning mentality, interspersing education with their working life, as various waves of the Industrial Revolution and disruptions to the industry continue to emerge.
The recent self-care revolution has empowered many of us to prioritize our own wellbeing. As employee burnout soars during the pandemic, this paradigm shift supports the importance of wellness in the workplace. Workers have been quitting their jobs to put their mental health and wellbeing first after feeling burned out from working through a global health crisis. Now wellness has become a top priority in the workplace to help employees live a more healthy and balanced life.
Signature Market, an online platform for wholesome products, is the first e-commerce company to prioritize work-life balance for mental health and employee wellbeing. The company’s culture and workplace flexibility can be seen in their Portals Marketing Manager, Adrian Choong, who manages to spearhead all of their online external portals and platforms while being a spin instructor at FLYPROJECT and a HIIT instructor at Movement Method Fitness.
Read on for his advice on practicing a healthy work-life balance to avoid getting burnout and having unnecessary stress.
How do you cope by putting on two different professional hats at the same time?
First of all, I believe whoever that works in the e-commerce industry knows that due to the fast paced working culture, overtime and long working hours are actually a norm for us, but I really appreciate that Signature Market is the first e-commerce company that I work with which really prioritizes work-life balance.
However, I would also like to emphasize that it is very much related to our self-discipline and efficiency. I am always eager to learn new knowledge and skill sets to improve my work quality and speed. I also found that procrastination is one of the biggest issues for most of us, so I started to practice advance planning to minimise as many last minute tasks as possible.
To be honest, anyhow it is still challenging , but I enjoy being busy doing things that I really enjoy, especially when my roles and work-ethics may inspire others.
How do you manage your work-life balance and how has it helped you to keep your mental health in check?
As I mentioned above, for me self-discipline and efficiency are the important keys of my work-life balance.
Efficiency very much depending on how much you understand your profession, I always said defining the ‘why’ is much more important by just knowing the ‘how’ as nowadays a lot of us rush to just looking for methods to complete our task by not understanding the task, so when come to the same task with different situation, a lot of us start making mistakes and this is what low efficiency.
Self-discipline is a huge topic, but here I would like to talk about time management, a lot of us are so used to working for deadlines but then that’s when stress starting to happen, why not working in advance especially for those routine tasks so we could still handle calmly when ad hoc task kick in.
What were the many challenges you’ve experienced in your previous working experience before Signature Market?
I have been working in the e-commerce industry since I graduated from university, long working hours is the biggest challenge that I have experienced in most of my previous companies. But at the same time, I would like to say my previous negative working attitude is actually one of the causes of the challenge as well.
It’s interesting to know you are also a Spin Instructor, is that something that you really like to do as a hobby?
Definitely! I believe we need to really enjoy what we are doing, only it will be sustainable. If you don’t see me in the gym just yet, I am most probably on my way to the gym.
How do you keep your energy uplifted as a Marketing Manager in a very fast-paced working environment and, at the same time, as a fitness enthusiast / professional Spin Instructor? Don’t you get tired as it must have at least affected your mental wellbeing?
I do get tired or sometimes a little bit of burnout, however I am lucky to always have support from friends and family (which is so very important!), especially my workout community, a bunch of awesome people that are having great success in every aspect and enjoying life at the same time. They really inspired and motivated me.
In this new-pandemic era, many are struggling with mental health due to work and financial crisis. What’s your advice to the many millennials out there who would like to pursue more than just one profession in order to earn more and maintain a comfortable life?
Be grateful with whatever we have, happiness is precious in our life.
Knowing our own limits, do not over commit, but at the same time do not be too comfortable in your usual zone, always know when to challenge yourself.
The first day of a new job is always the trickiest. Your mind is flooded with self-doubt as you question your capability and self-worth from the smallest, “Am I dressed right?”, to the biggest, “Should I reply to this email thread?”. Everything we say and do during the onboarding process has an amplified effect, especially to ourselves and our mental state. New job anxiety has always been common, but it has also increased as we continue to navigate through a remote set up, which brings its own set of challenges.
Before we share how to shake off these nerves, let’s take a moment to celebrate your win! Whether you’re starting a new role fresh out of university, or if you’ve finally managed to secure a job following the great COVID-19 retrenchment, be proud of yourself for countering a challenging chapter in your life. Now for the next challenge – navigating a new environment, team, culture, dynamics, people and nuances. It takes an average of three to six months to really assimilate and feel at one, or at least a certain degree of comfort, with your new company and its building blocks.
As we continue to take precautionary measures, remote onboarding may not be the best arrangement, but it is conquerable. Hence the question: how do you handle remote onboarding anxiety?
Build A Routine
Everyone has their own routine that helps them start their day. Whether it’s a large cup of Joe to get your engine running or 15 mindful minutes of journaling, don’t compromise these moments of self-care. They ensure your balance, which you’ll need along with normalcy, to stay grounded as you settle into a new space and get to know new people.
Start Your Days Earlier
Starting your days a bit earlier during the onboarding process is a handy trick to help ease your anxiety and make time for your morning routine. Schedule at least half an hour, before starting your work day, to plan ahead and prepare – create to-do list or come up with questions for Google Meets. Adding a bit of structure while learning to adapt to new settings can do wonders!
Silence your imposter syndrome
Regardless of how much experience you have, it’s common for newbies to feel out of place. If you’re having concerns about your new role, reach out to a colleague who can help outline things more clearer. Sometimes we tend to be our harshest critic, so having a discussion with a third party can help you identify the areas you actually need help with and the areas you were just overthinking.
Learn to unread things
One of the key things that contribute to heightened anxiety during remote onboarding is the way we communicate. (The Microsoft Teams ringtone still haunts some of us!) Whether you are a straight shooter or a fluff master, there’s always a chance of having a misunderstood or misinterpreted conversation. One valuable trait, especially in a world of Google chats and Zoom calls, is to learn how to unread between the lines. That awkward silence during a call is more likely to be an Internet connection issue instead of your new colleague being cold.
Celebrate the small wins
Again, you’ve made it through the first hurdle and definitely deserve to celebrate! Yes, there will be many more to come, but instead of letting them pile up and get to you, relish in the small successes. Celebrate each and every hurdle you get through from day 1 till day 60. Then evaluate how far you’ve come and treat yourself!
With all that has been going on, it’s high time we practice acceptance and patience while embracing the process one day at a time. We wish you all the best for your remote onboarding process and hope these tips help smooth out any bumps along the way!
Nothing sparks creativity quite like boredom. When the Malaysian government announced the Movement Control Order (MCO) in March 2020, it left many people in a state of lockdown limbo. However, some good that has come out of it is that instead of (or in addition to) falling into a consistent routine of Netflix and napping, people across the country started to take up new hobbies and generate another stream of income by turning them into a side business.
GlobalData saw a boom in the e-commerce market since the beginning of the pandemic. Just scroll through TikTok for 10 minutes and you will almost certainly come across a video promoting a small business with the hashtag #smallbusinesscheck. For some, these new businesses have kept them afloat during the pandemic, while for others, it has offered encouragement to start their own side businesses.
From crocheting and tufting, to handmade soaps and candles, you can build a complete home business using your creative skills. Here are 5 ideas to get you started:
Who doesn’t love handmade jewellery? It makes a great sentimental gift for your loved ones. Since it’s small and lightweight, it will be easy to pack and ship if you sell it online. The materials you can explore include polymer clay, gemstones, leather, beads and more.
@anaisbeachLet’s make clay together <3 follow my Instagram & depop @ cosmiccowboyy to see more #smallbusinesscheck #smallbuisnessuk #fyp #foryou #4u #clay #rings♬ hey lol – khaleel
With self-care rituals on the rise, soap and bath products have been trending, especially from brands that are vegan and cruelty-free. You can make a basic bar of soap, or buy moulds and dyes to create different shapes and colours. Not forgetting, you can experiment with scents as well.
@shopaswell🧼✨ #soapmaker #handmadesoap #businesstiktok #smallbusiness #blackowned #entrepreneur #fyp♬ original sound – eilagardis
Crochet / Tufting
If you enjoy crocheting and tufting, you can start selling your very own crochet bags, hats or even stylish coasters online. Tufting rugs has become a trend on TikTok, too – you can buy tufting guns and supplies from Tuftinasia and start creating your own personalised rugs.
@boredlaricrochet bag process🧚🏻 #crochet#bag#crocheting#fashion♬ straight people are not allowed to use this audio – evelyn
@tuftinasiaNot ready invest in a tufting fun? #tufttheworld #tuftgal #tuftinggun #punchneedle #punchneedlelove #rugmaking #rugtiktok♬ SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS – Oliver Heimach
Similar to soap, you can also make candles in a variety of shapes, colours and scents. To house your candle, create a polymer clay tray to match.
@wildgingermyWe made candle today! ##fyp ##fypmalaysia🇲🇾 ##candle ##candlemaking ##candlebusiness ##smallbusiness♬ original sound – maddie <3.
For this side hustle, you can either create content for individuals and businesses, or design and sell your own customised Instagram post templates on Canva.
@oliviakelliherAnother side hustle ANYONE can do #canva #redbubble #quityourjob #makemoneyonline #passiveincome♬ Falling – Trevor Daniel
Happy creating and experimenting!
Premier global nutrition company, Herbalife Nutrition, unveiled findings from its 2021 Asia Pacific Young Entrepreneurs Survey today, which found that 79% of Generation Zs and Millennials in Malaysia aspire to have their own businesses.
Herbalife Nutrition polled 4,093 people in the Generation Z and Millennial (aged 18 – 40) groups to examine entrepreneurship trends across eight countries i.e. Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
“The survey uncovered many interesting insights about people’s attitudes and ambitions when it comes to entrepreneurship. According to the survey, Malaysia is one of the countries in Asia Pacific that has the highest percentage of people that aspire to have their own businesses, alongside Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. With the drive to have their own businesses, many people, especially the tech-savvy generation, can leverage the digital economy with the presence of technology during these challenging times – achieving their goals of following their passion, getting more flexibility in their jobs, having an extra income source, supporting their families and even changing their career. It is also important to note that self-made entrepreneurs are important as their businesses, no matter the size, can help to keep economic activities going while also aiding the country’s economic recovery,” said Steven Chin, Senior Director/General Manager of Herbalife Nutrition Malaysia and Singapore.
However, a desire for entrepreneurship does not mean respondents are jumping into it: the average respondent said they believe someone should have five years of experience before starting their own business.
Steven Chin added, “Being on your own comes with its own set of challenges and risks, but it also offers tremendous rewards. Many of us have dreamed about it, but few of us really take the leap, where nearly 8 in 10 Malaysian respondents feel intimidated by their lack of experience when thinking of starting a business. That is why it is important to pick up the right resources such as training and education, having a mentor and further financial resources to navigate in the world of business and improve their chances of success.
Aspiring young entrepreneurs believe their age will help their chances for business success
84% of Malaysian respondents believe that the best time to start a business is when they are still under the age of 40, with average prime age for starting a business at 27 years old. In addition, 45% of respondents believe that their age will help their chances of business success due to the following reasons:
- I’m better at adapting to new technology (69%)
- I’m more likely to embrace new technology (54%)
- More resources are available to me than to previous generations (45%)
Key reasons for entrepreneurship
When asked about the motivations for their entrepreneurship aspirations, the top reasons include following their passion (46%), wanting more flexibility in their jobs (44%), finding ways to supplement income from reduced job hours (43%), supporting their families (41%), and wanting a career change (39%).
Cost, lack of financial and market knowledge holding entrepreneur hopefuls back
Respondents said the main challenges to starting a business are the initial costs (43%) and lack of financing and market knowledge support (38%). 72% said now is the best time to start their own business but they are intimidated by their own inexperience (72%) and feel overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a business (72%).
Training, financial resources and mentors can boost success
Among the respondents who already started their own business, 59% said they are still open during the pandemic. They listed more training and education (58%), additional financial resources (55%) and having a mentor (49%) as factors that will help them be more successful.
The fourth annual Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia, the only movement of its kind to recognise and nurture the pipeline of young female talent across the region, in association with NTT, announced today 61 shortlisted finalist across 11 countries comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly revealed the enormous reliance on women at home and in the essential services and, as identified by the UN, it has put hard-fought gains for women’s rights and representation of women across all industries under threat. It is therefore more important now than ever to shine a light and recognise women’s leadership and nurture, develop and support female talent.
This year’s line-up is phenomenal, with candidates from all over the region and from truly diverse sectors. From business dynamos and entrepreneurs to athletes and academics, the women shortlisted work tirelessly to empower others, forge new paths and positively impact their colleagues, communities, and the world at large.
The number of nominations received – the highest since the initiative launched in 2018 – reflects the growing and diverse pool of female talent in the region, with shortlisted candidates from backgrounds ranging from astro-physicists to Olympic gymnasts, to human rights lawyers and architects.
The finalists from each category comprise:
Arts & Culture
- Nandini Balakrishnan (Malaysia)
- Adana Legros (Cambodia)
- Melissa Tan Li Hsia (Malaysia)
- Pamela Poh Sin Tan (Malaysia)
- Red Hong Yi (Malaysia)
- Angie Ang (Brunei)
- Sharlene Chan (Singapore)
- Imeiniar Chandra (Indonesia)
- Josefhine Chitra (Indonesia)
- Sharon Tan (Singapore)
- Sarah Voon Ruyen (Malaysia)
Community Spirits & Public Service
- Ruby* (Philippines)
- Sereyrath Aing (Cambodia)
- Thae Su Aye (Myanmar)
- Manoly Sisavanh (Laos)
- Jonia Leite Soares (Timor Leste)
- Maria Glorian Tomen (Philippines)
- Pratiwi Hamdhana AM (Indonesia)
- Amanda Cole (Indonesia)
- Tan Nini (Malaysia)
- Thyda Thaung (Cambodia)
- Abetina Valenzuela (Philippines)
Media & Communications
- Hou Hemmunind (Cambodia)
- Falencia Naoenz (Indonesia)
- Panha S. Theng (Cambodia)
- Benjienen Toledo (Philippines)
- Alice Yu Yuebo (Singapore)
Mentor (open to both women and men)
- Ireen Catane (Philippines)
- Duncan Hewett (Singapore)
- Konthea Mean (Cambodia)
- Mikaela Luisa Teves (Philippines)
- Ma Carmela Vilela-Toreja (Philippines)
- Phillia Wibowo (Indonesia)
- Nur Amalina Che Bakri (Malaysia)
- Grace Chong (Singapore)
- Maria Pilar Lorenzo (Philippines)
- Izreen Ramli (Malaysia)
- Jiraporn Sindhuprai (Thailand)
- Busayapa Srisompong (Thailand)
Property, Infrastructure & Construction
- Lim Wai Cheng (Singapore)
- Veronica Ng (Singapore)
- Chan Pichmonyka (Cambodia)
- Mei Tan (Malaysia)
- Quek Su Jun Edwina (Singapore)
Science, Technology & Digital
- Nur Adlyka Ainul Annuar (Malaysia)
- Regine Chan (Singapore)
- An Dongmei (Singapore)
- Irene Lock Sow Mei (Malaysia)
- Yi Lin Ng (Malaysia)
- Malypoeur Plong (Cambodia)
- Souphaphone Dangmany (Laos)
- Huong Dang (Vietnam)
- Louise Emmanuelle d.G. Mabulo (Philippines)
- Raudhah Nazran (Malaysia)
- Aida Zunaidi/Wei Qi Wong/Ming Chi Toh (Malaysia)
- Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (Malaysia)
- Bùi Thanh Huyền (Vietnam)
- Lao Khang (Laos)
- Jen Macapagal (Philippines)
- Nicole Tiamzon (Philippines)
- Qinthara Nabigha (Indonesia)
The winners of the Women of the Future Southeast Asia Awards 2021 will be announced on 6 October, 2021 at the awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel Singapore.
More details can be found on here.
Every year, on April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day is globally recognised by the United Nations to raise awareness on people with autistic spectrum disorders, including autism and Asperger Syndrome. Member States of the United Nations are urged to provide those on the autism spectrum with the assistance needed to improve their quality of life, so they can lead a meaningful life as an integral part of society.
Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is a developmental disability that affects the way people communicate and process sensory information. There is no single cause for it, and it varies from person to person in severity and combinations of symptoms.
This year, the theme of World Autism Awareness Day is “Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic World“. There is a severe underemployment of adults on the autism spectrum, and on top of these pressing discriminatory hiring practices, those who are employed face challenges in their workplace environments as they don’t provide accessibility for persons with autism or other disabilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only made these inequalities worse with the loss of hundreds of millions of jobs. To tackle this issue, the National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM) has just launched the world’s first Certified E-Commerce Specialist (CES) Level 1 Programme for youths with autism in Malaysia. The specialised training and internship programme aims to empower these youths with skills in digital marketing and E-Commerce, providing new career opportunities for the community.
Although the rate of autism is high worldwide, there is still a lack of understanding, leading to stigmatisation and discrimination, that tremendously impacts these individuals, their families and communities. NASOM is working towards achieving an inclusive society in Malaysia where people with autism can reach their full potential, participate in their communities and lead a meaningful life with dignity.
For anyone who loves fashion, shopping and experimenting with different styles, becoming a stylist seems like the ultimate dream job. We’ve always admired stylists and fashion designers because of their innate sense of how to create looks that complement their clients, as well as make them feel comfortable and confident. To round off our interview series this International Women’s Month, where we take a glimpse into the universe of creative women in Malaysia, we reached out to some of our favourite fashion stylists, Haida Yusof-Yeomans and Zulvanny Andiny. Read on to find out what it takes to become a successful woman in the fashion industry and how to take charge of your own destiny!
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What does a regular day look like for a fashion stylist?
Zulvanny: There’s no such thing as a regular day, I guess, haha. Everyday is different. The tasks might be the same though: we have client fittings, sourcing, meetings, shoots, pick ups and returns, and a lot more! Our days revolve around those activities.
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What made you choose this career path and how rewarding has it been?
Haida: The ‘path’ just sort of landed on my feet quite literally. I had no idea one could make a living from styling people, at that time as well – when I first started, stylists could only officially work behind the scenes and for magazines. I love the job as I love beautifying people.
Zulvanny: Passion and interest. Unlike some people, my interest in styling bloomed quite late – when I was in university studying science. It came from my liking of watching music videos and concerts, as well as my interest in pop culture as a medium to de-stress after studying. It just so happened that I took a chance to learn more about my interest, which eventually, and luckily enough for me, turned into a career. I gotta say, I’ve been really lucky to be able to turn my passion into a career, and it is indeed very rewarding. It gives me some sort of satisfaction when I know I did a good job on set or with a client. Of course there are days where it’s hard and exhausting, but in the end, you find yourself back at it again because it really is just something you like to do.
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What was your favourite styling job and why?
Haida: Working with Yuna for her ‘Forevermore’ music video was a memorable experience for me as she has a vision unique to her style. It’s a rarity for many celebrities to want to adopt their own heritage and identity in their look, since everyone looks solely to the West. She and her director-husband, Adam (Sinclair), were keen to listen to my suggestions to create the memorable looks in that music video. Plus, she is one of the most humbling people to work with and we share the same taste in style, which made her super easy to work with!
Zulvanny: It’s hard to pick one, really! I have a lot, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be styling Sophia Liana when she was competing in a televised dance competition last year. We did different looks with different themes every week for months. I gotta say, I was creatively challenged, but it pushed me to be better.
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How do you define a job well done? Since your styles and preferences may differ from your clients’, how do you approach that?
Haida: For me, it’s a combination, or partial combination, of positive reception from the masses, clients’ appreciation of the look you deliver, PR / designer’s approval and appreciation of the look you used from their collection, and most importantly, originality. I always make it a point to discuss or make sense of the client’s requests and to talk about what truly fits their own style – and is not copied from another person. This is especially important if it’s with a celebrity that has a distinctive personality or if they aim to project a specific image to their audience. The most iconic people are those who stick with their own sense of style and are immortal in people’s minds due to their unique sense of style!
Zulvanny: I guess you just feel it when you know you did a great job. I can tell from their gestures whether they are “feeling” the outfit or not. Me and my clients have close relationships, so most of the time, when they don’t feel comfortable or would prefer another style, I can kinda sense it or they would just straight up tell me.
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Tell us about the fashion landscape in Malaysia – what are your hopes for it?
Haida: Malaysia is slowly improving, but it will take a while until we can achieve fashion capital status. We have yet to appreciate the arts and starting a discourse on this is still unrelatable to the masses. I feel if schools start teaching kids that the arts are on the same level as other streams of education, we can advance further in the field and appreciate more talents – rather than having them move overseas to be recognized.
Zulvanny: It is small, but it’s growing. People are more open to different styles now and they are not afraid to wear them out. My hope is for Malaysia to be one of the fashion capitals.
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What makes a great stylist?
Haida: Someone who is incredibly resourceful, is able to compartmentalize the many tasks they have to manage in a day, and has a keen eye in fashion in general – not just following trends. A great stylist is also very professional in building relationships and strives to do things out of the box in developing their own unique signature sense of style.
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As a stylist, who are your idols?
Haida: I love stylists who push their boundaries. Ibrahim Kamara, Lisa Jarvis, Elisaveta Porodina, Robbie Spencer – all stylists / image-makers who are stuck to their own sense of style.
Zulvanny: I had a lot of idols growing up, but who had the biggest impact on me would be Raf Simons.
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As a business woman, what inspires you and what advice can you give?
Haida: My late mother, first and foremost, and my family. This might sound obnoxious, but it’s really my passion to shop and to see how people appreciate my finds is the most rewarding thing that continues to push me towards operating Hydefselections. I think if you truly love your work, it no longer becomes work, and it’s true when they say that passion indeed helps fuels you towards achieving your goals.
Zulvanny: Honestly, people whom I met along my career bring so much inspiration to me. I have met and am surrounded by many career women who are hustlers – they are amazing in what they do. Some even juggle being a mother, wife, and the breadwinner in their family – that motivates me to be better and go after my goals. My advice would be: keep hustling and don’t give up. Draw inspiration from your surroundings to motivate you (sometimes, something as small as a flower can bring so much inspiration) and don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Last year, since the pandemic first struck, almost 1000,000 workers were laid off in Malaysia. This has been happening everywhere around the world, with COVID-19 causing record unemployment rates. If you have just lost your job, or have been out of work for a while, we understand how terrifying it can be. It can also be discouraging to get back into the job market, especially with how much it’s changed. From shifting industry hiring patterns to fundamental changes to the way we work, it’s important to understand the current circumstances and be prepared for uncertainties in these times.
To increase your chances of finding a job in this environment, you must stand out. Although companies have started hiring again, their budget cuts mean reduced hiring – intensifying the competition. If you’re not confident about how you’re approaching your job search or the application process, you can always seek the help of a recruitment agency. These firms can help provide you with the necessary market information needed to look for a job, strategize your profile to appeal to employers, hone your interview skills and knowledge to prepare you for interviews, manage your salary expectations according to market information, and advise you on career moves that best align with your aspirations. Here are some tips from Jane Foong, a Recruitment Consultant (Language and Finance Shared Services) at HAYS:
What’s the most common mistake people make with their resumes?
One of the most common mistakes is over elaborating or under elaborating on their resumes. You should not try to copy out your current job description word for word, but instead state your main responsibilities and highlight your leadership experience and achievements. Remember that HR managers go through more than a 100 CVs everyday, so don’t be afraid to bold or underline your best achievements to get their attention.
How can candidates stand out from the rest?
A concise write up on your aspirations, key skills and achievements in your resume is key to appealing to recruiters. It is also important to research your company and even your interviewer’s background before your interview so that you can ask the right questions. Don’t forget to smile and have a positive attitude to leave your interviewer with a good impression!
What is the most important thing to prepare for interviews?
In this day and age where a majority of our interviews are conducted online, one of the most important things is to prepare the tools you will use. Whether that’s Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Bluejeans – try to play around with the software in advance. Always log on 10 minutes earlier to avoid any sort of technical issue. And finally, dress smart even if you’re just sitting at home!
How should a candidate negotiate their salary?
When it comes to salary negotiation, we generally recommend that our candidates ask for an adjustment of about 10-15% more than their current salary package, which includes any fixed allowance and/or contractual bonuses. But before a candidate starts negotiating their salary, I would encourage them to look at the company’s benefits, such as job security and career exposure, to inform their decision of how much they should ask for – sometimes other factors can make up for a salary that may not be as high as they may have originally wanted.
If you’re interested in working in recruitment itself, HAYS is hiring! They’re looking for young professionals who are interested in developing their careers in a fast-paced environment and learn about a spectrum of industries and sectors.
It’s been a devastating year for the restaurant industry, more than 2,000 eateries in Malaysia were forced to shut down permanently since the pandemic started. The entire service industry was thrown into a tailspin, but chefs soon came to realise that they were still able to work from home. Social media connected home cooks, and hobbyists, with the hungry and bored. The rapidly growing business opportunity was so attractive that every time you opened Instagram, a new home-based food venture would pop up. It was, after all, a fast and easy way to earn money during a time of job losses and pay cuts.
Our stay-at-home scrolling habits created an even bigger demand for delicious, and eye-catching, desserts. Even those with little or no experience in baking were able to cash in on their new MCO hobby. One of these successful passion projects is Nis.Bakes – an online dessert shop that offers simple yet unique flavours such as rose pistachio, earl grey, and maple cinnamon cupcakes and cakes. The founder, Enisa Farith, is a PR and Marketing specialist who simply wanted to recreate the rose pistachio tres leche cake from L’eto in London for herself, but it turned out to be such a scroll-stopping treat (now their signature cake) that others wanted a taste. She then went on to make an Instagram page for her decadent desserts, and the rest is history. Read on to see how you can also start your own home-based food business with advice from this new baker.
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How long did you start planning and researching before launching your business?
It was a very spontaneous decision. I reckon I probably spent about one week researching prices, sourcing ingredients, coming up with the brand identity I wanted to convey, etc. before launching it. I first sold the cakes to people I knew before advertising it on social media – after my fourth attempt at baking the cake, I didn’t have much time on my hands and couldn’t wait to bake all the basics before learning how to bake a cake, so I relied heavily on YouTube. Baking is really about understanding the science, so perfecting the cake came after many attempts.
How did you know what to price your products?
I visited and analysed my competitors’ Instagram pages to gauge a preliminary sense of pricing. I really had no clue in the beginning, so I also asked friends and family how much they were willing to pay. The ingredients I use as well are of premium quality and most are imported, so that resonated with the prices I introduced. And of course, I took into account the costs to produce the baked goods.
What challenges did you face starting a business during the pandemic?
It didn’t take very long for me to realise how competitive the F&B industry is; especially during the pandemic – when more home-food businesses are popping up. One of the main challenges is probably having to come up with a new flavour / dessert frequently and especially with my busy schedule, I knew I was going to struggle. Fortunately, Nis.Bakes is not your typical dessert shop, I knew I didn’t want to sell regular flavoured desserts such as cheesecake, Lotus Biscoff, chocolate – ones that other dessert shops have already excelled at making. Being a newcomer in both baking and in the online dessert industry, I knew I had to be unique to be distinctive, so I experimented with baking unconventional flavoured desserts and focused on perfecting them.
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How do you juggle running your own business and working a full-time job?
It is not easy; Nis.Bakes is a one woman show. Weekdays are the most hectic days, I come into work at 9AM, come home at 7PM, head for a quick shower and within 30 minutes, I’m in the kitchen baking for 3 or 4 hours. I take a limited amount of orders every week as a result of this, 15 orders max. Weekends are my off days, I’ve realised that those two days are important to recuperate and recharge. It’s definitely improved my time management skills, but what keeps me going is my customers’ satisfaction, it’s very rewarding and I don’t regret the decision of setting up Nis.Bakes. They are also very understanding of my situation and I’m extremely grateful for them.
What advice do you have for others looking to start their own home-food business?
Just go for it! There’s never a right time to embark on a new venture in your life. You will make mistakes along the way, but you’ll learn from it and continue to improve!
Nis.Bakes is currently on pause for a month or so, but they are looking for part-time helpers: drop them a DM on Instagram and let them know why you’d like to join their home kitchen!
I didn’t know I had impostor syndrome until I read about it recently in Ladies Get Paid by Claire Wasserman. I’m a DJ, which means that I only make up 10% of the overwhelmingly male-dominated industry. Can you imagine the amount of pressure we feel? We stick out like a sore thumb! Last year, on DJ Mag’s poll-based Top 100 DJs list, there were only 13 women (three more than the previous year), and the highest placing women, Nervo, were only ranked at number 20.
Even before I was a DJ, I noticed that only female DJs were questioned on their skills and abilities – “is she really mixing?”. Their sets were placed under a microscope, with many viewers waiting for them to make a mistake. She could play a flawless set, with a well-selected tracklist and the smoothest transitions, but sexist commenters (who don’t even know how to use a mixer) will still try to find fault in her – “why didn’t the crossfader move?”.
Here, in Malaysia, the scene welcomed me with open arms. I’ve been playing for more than three years now and have been lucky to not face any discrimination because of my gender. But, until I started working on my impostor syndrome, I still felt like I didn’t know how to DJ – after all those years and countless shows. My insecurity stemmed from not being taken seriously and being seen as an ‘influencer DJ’ – influencers who aren’t DJs, but are booked because of their high follower counts (see influencers getting hired as actors). To sum it up, impostor syndrome is feeling inadequate “despite evident success”.
My anxiety was really bad, I’ve experienced stage fright before, but the way I felt behind the decks was different. I’ve blanked out, I’ve looked down and forgotten everything, I’ve messed up because I was trying too hard not to mess up, I’ve even just hated it and couldn’t wait for it to end. Something that was once so positive to me started becoming negative fast – I began to dread performing and found myself constantly apologising after my shows, picking my own performance apart.
I now realise that I was unfairly looking at my own self under that microscope. My suffocating self-doubt came from what I thought others would think, as a result of systemic bias and exclusion. To be honest, it surprised me – I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum, but when it came to playing my own set, I would sabotage myself in a tireless attempt to prove myself. Now I want to share what’s been helping me overcome my impostor syndrome!
- Get to the bottom of it:
First, you’ve got to find out why you feel so pressured to prove yourself. Impostor syndrome is common among women and minorities, but it can also affect overachievers, and stem from trauma. Please remember that you are not alone and it is not your fault.
- Look out for it:
Notice when you start downplaying your efforts – who was there, what did you do, how did it make you feel? By identifying your self-doubt triggers, you’ll be able to stop yourself from spiralling.
- Write it down:
Organise your thoughts by writing all of these down – your self-sabotaging behaviours and the negative thoughts you have about yourself (writing can also help release these feelings). You’ll be able to understand your impostor syndrome better when it’s laid out in front of you.
- Reframe it:
Start looking at ‘failure’ as an ‘opportunity to grow’. Instead of wondering “what if it goes wrong”, ask yourself, “what if it goes right”. Even when it comes to feedback, see it as a way to improve rather than taking it personally and feeling criticised (I’m still working on this!).
- Set boundaries:
Stop over-apologising and over-explaining yourself! This comes from worrying that you’re doing something wrong. Honour what feels right to you not what you think is right for others. If you’re not wrong or to blame, be more straightforward and say “no” when you need to.
I hope this helps you understand your impostor syndrome better! You’re not going to overcome it in a few days, or even a few weeks, but by shifting your focus from the outcome to the process, you can begin to free yourself and take up the space you deserve. Don’t forget to own your worth and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished! You are more than enough.
You Goal, Girl!
Saturday, 27 March, 2021
Stitchworks, Level 3, Unit 3-9, KEDAI KL (MAHSA Avenue, Jalan Universiti)
12pm – 3pm
We’re ending International Women’s Month with a bang! For this celebration, we’re partnering with Stitchworks to bring you a fabulous vision board workshop to help you bring your dreams to life. In this intimate event, you’ll be able to network with other ambitious women and create an empowering vision board that will motivate you to reach your goals on the daily.
Here’s what your RM60 ticket includes:
- A welcome drink and snack box from The Cravesify
- A gift bag from Stitchworks and Wild Ginger
- A game of We’re Not Really Strangers pong
- Vision board supplies
- A chance to win a Stitchworks tote bag
- A live DJ set by Aidaho
Introducing your hosts:
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Hannah Nazasli, founder and designer of Stitchworks
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Aida Azrin, founder and editor of Wild Ginger
There are only 10 spaces available! DM Stitchworks on Instagram now for a ticket.
The event will strictly abide by social distancing guidelines.