Dr Austin Tay



I used to believe that, like professions such as lawyers or accountants, being an IO psychologist, you stick to what you know – assessment and development centres, psychometrics and competency modelling. But with the work environment changing, an IO psychologist needs to also learn to adapt to new requirements. Take, for example, most of the IO psychologists are in one way or another involved in assessment work (executive assessment) for selection, development or recruitment. This, of course, becomes an easy route for ‘rogue’ practitioners to infiltrate into this form of consulting work. With the advent of new psychometric tools in the market (some taking only 2 days to be certified by the service providers), everyone is now doing assessment work. It is infuriating because, with such an ease of certification, the market is full of so-called ‘experts’ in behavioural profiling. Allow me to digress here a bit.


I remember I attended a session organised by a non-profit organisation, which was involved in research sponsored by some of the banking organisations, here in Hong Kong, where it shared their research finding on Asian Talent. The research was skewed and some of the findings were contradictory and needless to say, the sample, as you might have guessed, was not random but suspiciously tied to the organisations sponsoring the research. The appalling fact was that the panel of experts they had, to present the research, was a mixed bag of HR and a consultant (who called herself a behaviourist). While I might not be known as a behaviourist, my professional learning did teach me to discern good research from a flawed one.


So with rogue practitioners who are now experts in what IO psychologists do as our bread and butter, we are in an even more crucial time where we need to diversify what we do. Not a drastic move to suggest one breaking bad like Walter White, but to look at something that is going to compliment the work you are presently doing but able to disassociate yourself from the rogue practitioners. I, therefore, implore all practising IO psychologists to start looking at how they need to equip themselves to cater to the needs of their clients. A recent article by FT on how psychologists are advising people on how to deal with their finance (http://on.ft.com/1gWkD81) is encouraging.


This I think is definitely an area that is closely related to what an IO psychologist is trained to do. If you feel that additional qualification is needed, a Masters in Counselling might be appropriate. Whatever you decide to do to expand your repertoire of services, remember it is crucial that you must have the credentials to do so, be relevant to the evolving working environment.

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