As most of you will be very aware, we are currently in the holy month of Ramadan, with Eid al-Fitr, or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, just around the corner starting 3rd May. Just beforehand, there’s Labour Day on 1st May, celebrating the achievements of the global workforce.
Naturally, Ramadan is a period of reflection for Muslims all over the world, taking their lives back to basics to understand their true needs, with Hari Raya being a celebration of sincere thanksgiving to God for the fulfilment of those needs.
The timing alongside Labour Day takes on, perhaps, a greater meaning this year as we emerge from the rigid SOP requirements imposed by governments during the pandemic. Recently in Singapore, the limit on group size was lifted, masks are no longer mandatory in workplaces, and as I write this, Malaysia is likewise preparing to relax rules around mask wearing, barcode scanning and return- travel PCR testing at airports.
As a global workforce, we have all grown in understanding on many levels. We’ve been forced to deal with working from home at short notice. We’ve been forced to juggle home and work life in the same place. At the time, with many around us losing jobs, we learned to be thankful for simply being employed. Sure, many of us may be changing jobs now as part of the Great Resignation worldwide, but it is with a better understanding of what we need in our lives – as we covered in the blog post on this topic.
We’ve also been very aware of the huge effort by essential workers and first line responders in dealing with the pandemic and trying to keep our countries functioning through what has been one of the most difficult times in living memory – Labour Day this year will certainly be a celebration of their achievements, but also an acknowledgement and thanksgiving for their personal sacrifices and hardships.
And let’s not gloss over that. It has been hard. Very hard.
Many of us all over the world have had to deal with the very sad loss of loved ones who succumbed to the pandemic. All of us will have experienced some friction at home as work collided with family and expectations of employers failed to keep pace with the reality on the ground. Many of us were alone for the period, which has been a mental struggle with the effects of isolation. And many people did lose their jobs and were forced to live off savings and to find new ways to make money to pay for their basic needs.
Of course, we are not fully out of the woods yet. China is currently in lockdown as the authorities there continue their zero-Covid policies – a situation that will continue to affect global supply chains. Covid may still resurface with new variants and there will certainly be bumps in the road – and not just from Covid, as global events such as the current conflict in Ukraine attests to.
But, perhaps most importantly, we have learnt to get back on our feet after being knocked down. Currently business is very strong across the region as well as globally. We’ve seen one of our most successful periods for the business over the last six months as people change jobs and employers look to expand again post-pandemic. The global workforce is coming back to life after what feels like two years of hibernation and the outlook remains positive for the next six months. And in job searching and hiring, a greater maturity has crept in. Job seekers are more mindful than ever about work-life balance, personal enrichment and development, personal skills gaps, and the core values of the business they work for. Likewise, employers are learning to better care for their workforces and to be realistic about circumstances when hiring (for example, not downgrading an application due to a period of unemployment over the last two years).
In the spirit of reflection, I’ve linked to a number of previous blogs from the last 12 months covering some of the topics mentioned. And in looking forwards, it’s clear we have a lot to be thankful for and to celebrate during this holiday period.
I wish you all a Happy Labour Day and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri for the upcoming holidays as we look forward to a productive and restorative rest of 2022.