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Remote working jobs on the rise in SEAsia

The shift online throughout Southeast Asia has brought about an evolution in how brands communication with their consumers. LinkedIn’s data shows a 48% increase in companies posting on the platform in June 2020, compared to a year earlier.

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Photo by Andrew Neel from Unsplash.com

In 2020, we saw unprecedented changes in the workforce. Some organizations streamlined their business functions, causing layoffs. Others revamped, and we saw that there was a rising demand for professionals with a diverse skills set. As we started working remotely, we saw a rise in demand for digital and soft skills. We also saw that employers had shifted from hiring based on credentials, and to hiring based on skills held. We saw professionals themselves take note of these trends and seek to reskill or upskill.

But what will 2021 bring? And what kinds of trends can we expect to see? To help workers in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, navigate the workforce in the new year, LinkedIn has identified  the fastest growing job categories since the onset of COVID-19, the top 15 jobs on the rise in Southeast Asia (including Philippines) and the skills required for them.  

Frank Koo, Head of Asia, Talent and Learning Solutions, said: “This list of jobs on the rise demonstrates that there are still opportunities for job seekers with a range of skills and experience. By adopting a lifelong learning mindset, and being open to picking up new skills through various courses — for example, courses on digital skills or soft skills — workers can prepare themselves to take up these emerging roles.”

For the full list of 15 jobs on the rise in Southeast Asia, refer to this report.

One common and overarching trend we have noticed among almost all the roles on our list is that most may be conducted remotely.  Globally, remote job opportunities on LinkedIn have increased four times since June. Professionals with digital skill sets will find themselves at an advantage in seeking employment opportunities within these fields. 

Other key trends we observe include: 

#1: Consumers in Southeast Asia have gone increasingly digital 

COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital platforms in the region. Technology has allowed people to work, stay connected to their loved ones and fulfill their daily needs like groceries, from the comfort of their own home. In fact, 1 in 3 of digital service consumers in Southeast Asia were new to the service. And more importantly, 94% of these new digital users are likely to stick with the service moving forward. As a result, we expect that the demand for workers with tech skills will remain, from specialized engineers, to cyber security talent and data analysts. 

Relevant jobs:  Data analyst roles, software and technology roles, cyber security roles, technology and engineering roles 

#2 Brands have found new ways to connect with consumers, leading to a rise in demand for digital marketers and content creators 

The shift online throughout Southeast Asia has brought about an evolution in how brands communication with their consumers. LinkedIn’s data shows a 48% increase in companies posting on the platform in June 2020, compared to a year earlier. This has led to growth in demand for digital marketers — professionals who seek to engage consumers effectively online, and digital content creators — those who are able to produce entertaining content across a range of channels.

Relevant roles: Digital content specialist roles, public relations roles, digital marketing specialist roles

#3 E-commerce boomed in 2020, leading to a rise of various sectors

In 2020, while online travel and transport services suffered, e-commerce, online media and food delivery services surged. The roles created by this boom do not require traditional educational degrees, or advanced technological skills. The rise of e-commerce, for example, is fueling more demand in logistics for warehouse skilled talent. And it is these roles that may be filled by professionals of varying skills and experience. In fact, globally the majority of people who fill these roles often come from non-emerging jobs.

Relevant roles: E-commerce roles, customer service roles, supply chain roles, business development and sales roles,

#4 Traditional roles have evolved, as a result of COVID-19

In 2020, we saw jobs that were traditionally conducted in-person evolve to be online. For example, we saw a growth in digital lending, education and HealthTech services. This is unsurprising, as 70% of Southeast Asia is now online. Those in these sectors, and beyond, need to have mastered the basics of technology, from communication tools, to social media platforms and basic office software. With these skills, workers will find that more opportunities will open up for them.

Relevant roles: Healthcare and medical support roles, healthcare and medical frontline roles, education roles, finance and insurance roles

To adapt to the rapidly changing job landscape, professionals will need to proactively pick up new skills required for these emerging roles. LinkedIn has various tools and resources to support professionals including:

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E-commerce retailers can save money by considering pick failures at stores

While warehouses are built for efficiency in picking, packing, and shipping items, pick failures are much higher in physical stores that are not designed for these purposes for several reasons (e.g., customers moving inventory without tracking, delivery receiving and recording errors, issues with labeling, theft).

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The share of e-commerce retail sales has grown steadily over the last decade. This trend has been driven by retailers with traditional brick-and-mortar stores adopting online channels to connect to customers. In a new study, researchers explored the world of omnichannel retailing — the merging of in-store and online channels in which customers can select from a combination of online and physical channels to place and receive orders.

The study examined top U.S. retailers’ use of omnichannel ship-from-store programs in which retailers use store inventory to deliver orders to homes instead of using a dedicated warehouse or fulfillment center. For the first time, the study incorporated the possibility of fulfillment attempts at stores to fail and identified how such retailers can adopt a policy that leads to significant savings when these effects are considered.

Conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Onera, Inc., the study is published in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

“The rising trend in e-commerce has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with online sales jumping from 11.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020 to 16.1 percent in the second quarter,” says Sagnik Das, a former Ph.D. Candidate in Operations Research at CMU’s Tepper School of Business, who led the study. “In omnichannel fulfillment, retailers attempt to minimize costs while fulfilling orders within acceptable time periods.”

Das and his colleagues focused on single-item orders. Typically, online orders are sent to a favorable sequence of locations to be filled in order. Failed trials (i.e., when orders are not filled) are sent to stores later in the order for further attempts until the process reaches a time limit.

“The problem of multistage order fulfillment is an interplay of pick failure — that is, the likelihood that orders will not be filled due to unavailability — at the stores where they may be shipped from, walk-in demand at the stores, and associated shipping costs,” explains R. Ravi, Andris A. Zoltners Professor of Business, and of Operations Research and Computer Science, at CMU’s Tepper School of Business, who co-authored the study.

As stores become an integral part of retailers’ fulfillment strategy in omnichannel ship-from-store programs, the high rate of pick failures at stores becomes a considerable factor in fulfillment costs. While warehouses are built for efficiency in picking, packing, and shipping items, pick failures are much higher in physical stores that are not designed for these purposes for several reasons (e.g., customers moving inventory without tracking, delivery receiving and recording errors, issues with labeling, theft).

Researchers modeled the problem as one of sequencing the stores from which an attempt is made to pick based on anticipated pick failure and ship an order in the most cost-effective way over several stages. To identify the best solution to the fulfillment problem, they modeled pick-failure probabilities as a function of current inventory positions and the result of other online order fulfillment trials.

The study used data on actual orders from several top U.S. retailers that worked with an e-commerce solutions provider to optimize their fulfillment strategies. Researchers proposed three order fulfillment models: one in which physical and online demand were both sparse, another in which physical demand was dense, and another in which both demands were dense. They extended the third model to also incorporate order acceptance decisions along with sequencing the stores from where they are filled once accepted.

By enabling retailers to incorporate the probability of pick failure in their order management systems for ship-from-store programs, the study’s proposed online order-acceptance policies saved omnichannel retailers as much as 22 percent. Specifically, they identified the optimal sequence of stores to try the accepted orders to minimize costs; one of the policies also uses these downstream costs to determine when to shut off the online channel for selling certain items based on current inventory availability levels.

“Our study demonstrates that modeling pick failures along with their interaction with selecting and shipping costs is an important component in optimizing ship-from-store fulfillment costs for large retailers,” says Srinath Sridhar, Chief Technology Officer at Onera, Inc., who co-authored the study.

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Choosing a lucky CEO means bad luck for the hiring company

Sometimes CEOs happen to attain outstanding performance thanks to events beyond their control. Firms that subsequently hire them pay them more and experience declining results, according to a study.

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Seneca, the Roman stoic philosopher, wrote that “luck does not exist.” Modern managerial studies take the liberty of disagreeing. Luck exists in the form of events that are beyond the control of CEOs and firms alike. Movements in oil prices and the business cycle (e.g., variations in GDP growth, and employment rate) that boost the market value of firms are a couple of examples.

A recent study by Mario Daniele Amore (Bocconi University, Milan) and Sebastian Schwenen (Technical University of Munich) found that choosing a lucky CEO means bad luck for the hiring company.

Good luck allows CEOs to “shine” in the labor market, making them more likely to leave their firm. “The hiring companies, though, are not perfectly able to separate out luck from task performance in their candidate pool,” Prof. Amore explained. “Therefore, lucky CEOs are likely to possess greater bargaining power vis-a-vis new firms’ shareholders, and thus gain benefits in the form of higher compensation and more attractive job assignments.”

Using a sample of S&P 1,500 US firms from 1992 to 2018, the authors found a positive association between a CEO’s luck at the departing firm and the level of pay at the new firm. Specifically, this larger pay is mostly made of non-cash compensation items like stocks awards and options, rather than salary and bonus. More interestingly, lucky CEOs were observed to move more swiftly to new firms and to have a shorter time-spell between CEO jobs.

Authors also observed that the increase in lucky CEOs’ bargaining power especially occurs in less competitive industries.

Unfortunately, incoming CEOs’ luck is also associated with a subsequent decline in the performance of the hiring firms. In particular, the performance of firms that hired low-luck CEOs gradually improves, whereas the performance of firms that hired high-luck CEOs experiences a moderate decline.

What is worse, luck may induce an attribution bias: high-luck CEOs, or the boards that hire them, misattribute luck-driven performance to observed individual actions, with the consequence that lucky CEOs will likely implement at the hiring firm the same corporate investment policies they implemented in their former companies, irrespective of their real effectiveness.

“Luck increases the attractiveness of CEOs in the managerial labor market of less competitive industries, bringing about higher bargaining power of lucky CEOs to transit swiftly and earn more. Nevertheless, appointing a lucky CEO is associated with poorer company performance and slower growth,” Professor Amore concluded.

Mario Daniele Amore and Sebastian Schwenen wrote “Hiring Lucky CEOs”, which was published in The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

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Purpose beyond profit: How brands can benefit consumer well-being

I a brand adequately addresses moderating factors, the potential benefits to consumers and marketers are considerable. These factors include consumer trust, brand authenticity, brand credibility, commitment to purpose, consumer-value congruence, and brand-purpose proximity.

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Researchers from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University published a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Psychology that offers fresh insights into “brand purpose” and its potential benefits to consumers.

The article, “Conceptualizing brand purpose and considering its implications for consumer eudaimonic well-being,” is authored by Patti Williams, Jennifer Edson Escalas, and Andrew Morningstar.

In response to industry reports, apparent consumer demand, and high-profile calls from top executives including BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink, brands have publicly begun pursuing purpose beyond profit. Brands in a wide variety of categories have sought to define, articulate, communicate, and act according to their “brand purpose.” 

The authors define brand purpose as a brand’s long-term aim central to “identity, meaning structure and strategy” that leads to productive engagement with some aspect of the world beyond profit.  

This research team explores the different types of well-being consumers may experience by engaging with brands they believe reflect their own values. Specifically, they focus on eudaimonia, a feeling of fulfillment resulting from living a meaningful life, contributing meaningfully to society, and acting in alignment with moral virtues.

Their framework cites five mediating factors that affect the relationship between brand purpose and consumer well-being: consumer purpose, meaning and significance, self-acceptance/achievement of true self, positive relationships, and other-praising emotions.  

The article suggests that, if a brand adequately addresses moderating factors, the potential benefits to consumers and marketers are considerable. These factors include consumer trust, brand authenticity, brand credibility, commitment to purpose, consumer-value congruence, and brand-purpose proximity.

While consumers may gain a vital sense of well-being; marketers, may secure positive brand judgements, brand loyalty, and brand evangelism.

“The ultimate goal of our review,” the authors write, “is to guide future consumer psychology research into brand purpose, a concept that we believe may have a transformative impact on business, consumers, and society.

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