Data pointsCovid tribulations for parents

Published January 24, 2022
A Peloton bike is shown on the showroom floor in Coral Gables, Florida. Reports indicate that Peloton Interactive Inc is temporarily halting production of its bikes and treadmills after a drop in demand for the products.—AFP
A Peloton bike is shown on the showroom floor in Coral Gables, Florida. Reports indicate that Peloton Interactive Inc is temporarily halting production of its bikes and treadmills after a drop in demand for the products.—AFP

Covid tribulations for parents

Millions of parents of unvaccinated children under 5 are stuck in limbo during a rise of Omicron cases in the US, forced to wrestle with daycare closures and child care crises as the rest of the world appears eager to move on. Tests are hard to come by. Daycare providers are strained. There are roughly 110,000 fewer people working in child care now compared with February 2020, according to research from the University of California, Berkeley. Vaccines, a key part of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, have proven difficult to get right for young children. While shots are already available for those 5 and older, parents of children 4 and younger may have to wait months more for a vaccine that works. With the challenges mounting, parents of young children have again found themselves sequestered at home, staring out windows, wondering anew if the world cares about the seemingly impossible balancing acts they are having to perform.

(Adapted from “No Shots, No Day Care: Parents of Kids Under 5 Stuck in Grueling Limbo,” by By J. David Goodman and Giulia Heyward, published on January 14, 2022, by The New York Times)

Value of informal economy

Pakistan’s informal economy’s size is estimated to be 56pc of the country’s GDP (2019 estimate). Its worth is calculated to be around $180bn a year, and that is a whopping amount by any measure. Despite the unpopular opinion of the policymakers regarding the losses to revenue because of the shadow economy, one cannot defy its role for providing a seedbed for enterprise birth and job creation for many skilled and unskilled labour. According to an International Labour Organisation report, “Of all the global working population some 3bn, nearly two-thirds (1.8bn) work in the informal economy. Out of these, the majority of informal workers are self-employed: 70pc of all informal workers in Sub-Saharan Africa, 62pc in North Africa, 60pc in Latin America, 59pc in Asia and 77pc in the European Union.” Worldwide interest in the informal economy which began at the start of the millennium has ignited numerous debates about its role in the overall economy.

(Adapted from “Pakistan’s Shadow Economy: The Impact Of Global Financial Crisis And Covid-19,” by Hudda Najeeb Luni, published in 2022 by PIDE)

The best job candidates are the best storytellers

A successful job interview hinges on a great story. Stop Googling “job interview tips” and master the skill of storytelling instead. A great story takes the audience on a journey. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end. The “before” version of you was met with a challenge that forced you to learn, grow, and ultimately do something differently. You made a decision you never would have made before. Sometimes you succeeded. Other times you failed. Either way, you walked away with a lesson. You survived a challenge and emerged as a more powerful version of yourself. Remember that we’re all human, and sometimes we don’t always slay the monster — that doesn’t mean we aren’t heroes. Telling your interviewer stories of both successes and failures will help you stand out as an emotionally intelligent and self-aware candidate.

(Adapted from, “The Best Job Candidates Are the Best Storytellers,” by Kelsey Schurer, published by Harvard Business Review Ascend)

Acting today for tomorrow

Companies that are acting on climate today are driven less by regulatory pressure itself (because it is not yet strong enough to change business models) than by the anticipation of that pressure and the need to be competitively positioned before it happens. Auto companies that have invested in developing electric vehicles (EV) have a significant advantage over rivals as sales of EVs start to take off. Utilities with more diversified portfolios that include wind and solar power are positioned to grow, while those that stick to generating power from fossil fuels will have to adapt or risk extinction. Competitor strategies can be a threat, driving fear of being left behind. They can also be opportunities to create the solidarity among companies that’s required in order to take on the costs and risk involved in the net-zero transition before being forced to do so. Future scenarios look more attractive when others in the sector have taken on the same burdens.

(Adapted from “To Transition to Net Zero, Model the Alternative,” by Simon Glynn and Simon Cooper, published on January 3, 2022, by MIT Sloan Management Review)

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, January 24th, 2022



Updated 19 May, 2022

To be or not to be

The same decision taken weeks or months from now will have far more devastating consequences.
19 May, 2022

Impact on Punjab

THE Supreme Court judgement interpreting the issue of disqualification of parliamentarians under Article 63A of the...
19 May, 2022

Forest fires

THOUGH spot and forest fires have become a perennial phenomenon especially in peak summer, the recent blazes —...
18 May, 2022

SC on defections

THE judgement is monumental and will significantly influence Pakistani politics for years to come. After a nearly...
18 May, 2022

Karachi blast

THE frequency of urban terrorism incidents over the past few weeks in Karachi should send alarm bells ringing within...
18 May, 2022

Threats to Imran Khan

IT seems there is never a dull moment in Imran Khan’s life. First, it was a cabal of local and international...