Upskilling as an Antidote to Career Scarring: Q&A with Japhet Lim, CEO of Reubiks

March 10, 20218:21 pm2596 views

Launching a career is a daunting moment, let alone doing it during times of economic uncertainty. Career ‘scarring’ is a phenomenon where college graduates who launched their careers during recession tend to experience higher unemployment rates and get lower salaries. Just like physical scars that can linger on one’s skin, so can career scarring leave an impact on one’s career even beyond the recession.

HR in Asia sits with Japhet Lim, CEO of Reubiks, to seek answer on what fresh graduates could do to minimise the effect of career scarring. Read on..

Question: Mr. Lim, career scarring is apparent, and sometimes inevitable, during a recession like today. How will this trend affect one’s career for years to come?

Answer: The most important impact, in my opinion, is that the current workforce and future graduates will have to learn skills that enable them to be entrepreneurs, even if they are looking for a job in a specific position. Scarring is the process by which salaries become lower and unemployment rates becoming higher. Therefore, I think that it is important to be able to function as an entrepreneur because future employers are not just looking for someone to perform an existing routine, but rather for someone who can invent new routines and come up with new frameworks. That is how I see career advancement in the future.

Question: In the midst of a pandemic, many talents might be ‘scared of being scarred’, even before they launch their career. What’s the best we can do to beat such anxiety?

Answer: There is no better way to beat the anxiety than to get out there, start the job-hunting process and really understand what the market wants. Very often, precious time is wasted talents over-analyze and speculate on matters which are beyond their control. Of course, I understand that uncertainty and potentially facing career scarring is something that nobody wants to experience. However, anxiety is caused by the perception that one is lacking or losing control and honestly, there is no better way to restore control than to get out there, do the job-hunting and secure as many choices as possible. In this context, time spent fearing the future and speculating without direction is counter-productive.

Instead, talents should learn from the rejections they face because each one will reveal what is lacking and talents should leverage them to improve, instead of focusing on their anxieties and fears.

Question: How has the COVID-19 situation resulted in the need for upskilling and reskilling? And what skills are most sought after?

Answer: If anything, COVID-19 has increased the speed at which people upskill and reskill. The context that COVID-19 has created, is a context that comes with great force and mandate. In the past, when the government offered chances to employers to allow their employees to reskill and upskill, those opportunities mainly came in the form of grants. Grants are optional, require strict administrative processes to apply and come at an opportunity cost because employees need to be trained. COVID-19 completely changed that. Suddenly, everything became mandatory and in this COVID-19 world, we would not be able to work, meet clients/colleagues or carry out daily operations if we do not digitize. Today, upskilling and reskilling to get a better grasp on digitization has become more of an essential need than an optional curriculum.

I believe that programming, project management and human relations management will be the top 3 skills that are most sought after.

Question: When it comes to choosing an online education marketplace for career development purposes, what should be the most important consideration?

Answer: The most important consideration is this- knowing the coach’s methodology and style. A lot of people tend to consider course outlines before the coach’s teaching style/teaching method. That is a common mistake because course outlines do not differ much from one course to the other, assuming both are geared towards the same subject/area of study. What can differ, however, is the quality and style of the coach. Therefore, it is vital to always ensure that the trainer and the coach’s style is completely attuned to your learning frequency.

Question: Reubiks, the mobile app that your team has been developing, how can it assist talents to become more employable?

Answer: Simple – the app offers skills which are in the areas of technology and interpersonal skills, both of which are within the sphere of what I believe to be the most sought-after skills in the future and right now. Moving forward, we are planning to have the Reubiks Mobile App offer blockchain-based certificates for each completed course. We believe that the certification will go a long way, aiding employees to become more employable.

Question: To encourage people dedicated to lifelong learning, what are some of Reubiks’ best features?

Answer: We have 2 key features planned, for now, to encourage people to engage in lifelong learning. Firstly, we have a personal growth chart that awards stars to each item purchased in each of our 6 non-academic and academic sectors including Wealth and Finance, Health and Wellness, Self-Motivation and Technology, Energy Harmonization, Interpersonal Relationships and Academics. With enough stars earned, the learner can exchange the stars for badges. These badges can be seen as badges of honour for users and some will be granted permanent benefits like 1% discount for all items purchased.

Another key feature we will introduce is the Scholar Credits system, which acts like Grab points, allowing users to exchange Scholar Credits for discounts for other items or the chance to attend new courses for free.

Question: Last question, why is it important for the current workforce to change their current mindset of potentially being “untrainable”? And how to push past this mental barrier and master a new skill?

Answer: For people of the current workforce who think they are “untrainable”, it is first important to understand why they feel that way. Reverse engineer the entire situation by first going to the root of the problem; understand why they think that way and often, they will find a way to push past their existing mental barriers.

In all my years of training, tutoring and entrepreneurship, most people have this invisible wall in their mind and this wall’s existence is further strengthened by social media. This invisible wall is the belief that they can never lead a certain lifestyle or become someone of certain affluence. It is first important for these people to know that every success story starts from humble beginnings. If they don’t start, they will never see the end and the best person to help them, other than trustworthy coaches, is themselves.


Japhet is the CEO of Reubiks Mobile who is passionate about entrepreneurship. Stood by education and learning, he realized that the education market was and still is, full of inefficiencies and people would spend so much money on courses but many did not learn as much as they hoped to.

When he discovered that learners simply had little choice to choose from as there simply wasn’t a single 3rd party platform where users could compare and contrast courses to choose the best one, Japhet founded Reubiks Academy, which began as a forex trading school for those wishing to learn. Fast forward to today, Reubiks Academy has now evolved to become Reubiks Mobile App, an online education marketplace for academic and non-academic courses, on a mission to connect students to certified tutors and trainers in the most transparent, accessible, and convenient way possible.

Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Content rights: This exclusive interview content is produced by HR in ASIA. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in this interview is prohibited. You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content.

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