The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus is causing a lot of uncertainty as it spreads across the globe. But one thing that isn’t uncertain is the global trend towards digitalization. And the pace of digitalization is particularly fast in Asia given the improving infrastructure, high mobile phone penetration rates, and increasing consumer spend across the region. This coupled with the current global pandemic, means that many online businesses including delivery companies, remote technology, ecommerce and streaming services are all seeing increased demand. Whilst this may be a spike given the current climate, it could also lead to a long term shift in consumer behaviour, and organisations are accelerating how they mitigate their risk in the medium to long term.
Disruption has been the buzzword for a little while now, and with good reason. We are regularly being disrupted in all facets of our lives and across all sectors. From ride-hailing (Uber), to films (Netflix) and banking (Revolut), no business is safe from digital disruption.
Whilst this is displacing some skills, talent remains vital to these companies and it’s becoming increasingly imperative that we spend more time searching for the right people, in the right way. The recruitment process has always been very transactional, simply slotting people into roles like commodities, but we need to rethink the way we find, place and nurture talent.
Tech/Digital talent is becoming increasingly hard to find. These skills are in hot demand as the transformation escalates. Our everyday lives are growing more digital every day from paying bills, transferring money, investing, watching movies and shopping. The digital eco-system is growing fast, spawning new startups and tech ventures.
This has created a tech talent crunch that won’t be resolved anytime soon. We appreciate this first-hand at GRIT. From fintech to medtech, everyone is seeking the best tech talent. This isn’t just limited to start-ups and digital players, traditional businesses also need similar talent as they go through their own digital transformations. From banks to telcos, digital transformation is happening all around us, as more functions and services are taken online.
Success attracts success. As Singapore puts itself on the global map in terms of unicorns like Grab and Lazada, more tech start-ups want to be part of this eco-system. Its tech sector is growing rapidly – for example the local fintech sector has seen investments more than double last year to $1.2bn. Other tech sub-sectors like medtech and logtech (logistics technology) are also growing fast. Singapore wants to be a global digital hub and is well on its way to the status.
Silicon Valley may still be the spiritual home of technology firms as the HQ of Google, Facebook, Apple and Netflix, but Singapore definitely punches above its weight for its small size. Many of the world’s tech giants have their Asian headquarters in Singapore. But the problem we have here is a much, much smaller pool of talent to call upon.
Not only is Singapore home to major global tech companies but is also plays host to some homegrown tech giants and unicorns like Grab, Lazada, GoJek and Garena. There’s a significant amount of venture capital and private equity money flowing into Singapore to fund tech start-ups. It’s an exciting place to be. But it also puts an incredible stress on the supply of tech talent.
To attract and engage this urgently-needed talent, companies need to be creative about how they source. They need to be open-minded and have a strong clear employer proposition in order to attract and retain the best talent. GRIT Search has been launched to help organisations achieve this and to help the best talent find the right company to work for. It’s about building careers, not simply filling jobs.
GRIT is part of the solution, but as this demand continues to increase, Singapore has to look at how the local workforce builds these skills and how talent can be retrained. The challenge around aging populations is well publicized, but also represents a huge opportunity for experienced, motivated talent to be retrained and bring value to these organisations. This is where the Governments and Corporations need to work together to find solutions that are put into practice. It also requires companies to have an open mind when it comes to hiring talent. Of course the path of least resistance is to hire a square peg for a square hole, but they are many examples where talent has been hired for their passion, perseverance and commitment and then brought even greater value to a company. In the current environment companies have to rethink how they hire talent for the long term.
Grit is one of the driving forces behind personal success. The idea behind it comes from psychologist Angela Duckworth, the world’s leading expert on grit. Grit is about passion and sustained persistence applied towards a long-term objectives. GRIT is also the name of our firm, which specializes in digital, technology and transformation talent and applies a talent first model.
Talent is vital to start a business, expand a business and support it as it scales up. So it’s logical to have a talent first approach and executing it at all times. Some people talk about putting talent first, but not everybody does it. Many don’t actually know how to do it. But in this landscape of constant disruption and the need for innovation, your talent is your biggest asset.
We leave you with a quote from Terence Mauri, a global expert on disruption and the author of “The Leader’s Mindset: How to Win in the Age of Disruption:
“Disruption happens at the intersection of customer pain points and broken business models, so ask yourself if you’re ready to disrupt or to be disrupted.”
No matter how good your business idea, or how strong your business is right now, if you don’t have a clear vision, effective execution and the right talent on your team the outcome is likely to be the latter.
At the beginning of 2019, I decided to do something I had always wanted to do, but had been a bit fearful. It was a skydive, my first. It was terrifying, but exhilarating and fortunately I landed safely! It’s now something that I would recommend to everyone if they get the opportunity.
This year, I’m going down a similar track in taking some risk, leaving the comfort of a salaried role and launching GRIT. I am hoping for a similar outcome to the skydive, and I am passionate, excited and obviously feeling a little trepidation that I’m sure all startup founders can relate to.
I’ve been fortunate in my recruitment career to work for two very good companies surrounded by some great people that were hard working, values driven for the most part and who really want to make an impact. I feel it’s now time to take the best of what I’ve learnt over the years starting with GRIT.
So, why the name GRIT? It actually came to me after I read Angela Duckworth’s book where she outlines from her research that success comes from passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. I feel this is apt from a career standpoint as talent will get you so far, but hard work, resilience and the ability to consistently overcome obstacles can lead to true success. Hence, welcome to GRIT Search.
At GRIT Search we specialise in Digital, Technology and Transformation and have several fundamentals that the business will revolve around. We want to make a difference through high quality service, specialisation, giving back to the community, consultation and utilising technology to improve our offerings to both our candidate and client community.
At GRIT we operate a talent first model. This means what it says. The talent we represent comes first. Unfortunately we won’t have the capacity to work with every person looking for a role in the market, but we aim to work with the best talent in our core areas, because we fundamentally believe that by putting them into roles with high quality companies will enable these businesses to grow faster and create greater opportunities for wider pools of talent down the line.
One thing I’ve learnt is that pure transactional models in recruitment are short lived. They commoditise talent, they don’t give the best service levels to clients and they fundamentally can fall short of the Values a company can claim to represent. GRIT is a relationship-focused business. We want to build quality consultative relationships with the talent we represent and the organisations we work with. This means we will not always say what you want to hear, but we will consult and challenge to get to the best possible outcome for the talent and the organisation. We are looking to the long term and recognise for long term success for all parties, relationships need to be nurtured and ultimately founded on trust.
DUTY OF CARE
GRIT has a duty of care to the talent we represent. This doesn’t simply extend to our service levels, but also extends to the clients we work with. We will do our best to ensure that we place talent into organisations that are genuinely Values driven and that have a culture where they invest in and value their employees. At GRIT we only want to work with these types of organisations, as our service doesn’t simply extend to placing someone into a job, it’s to help someone build a career.
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
GRIT is in the business of finding career opportunities for talent in this area. We live and breathe in this space to ensure we can offer the best advice to help both talent and organisations achieve the outcomes they are looking for. As a business ourselves, we are obsessed with looking at how we can utilise technology to improve our product and solution offerings for the talent and organisations that we work with. We want to continually innovate to find ways to advance the industry as we know it.
VALUES & CSR
Values sit at the heart of GRIT, as does our objective to truly support CSR programmes and support communities that need it. With this in mind GRIT has committed a proportion of all revenue generated to go into a fund that will support these initiatives on an active and ongoing basis. We want to be an employer of choice offering the best culture, development and exciting careers for talent that want to work in this field as we look to be the market leader in Singapore and then across the region.
GRIT is very fortunate to have a number of industry leaders who are extremely supportive of what we are aiming to achieve, have invested in GRIT and who will advise on an ongoing basis. It’s now time to put this plan into action and work towards the Vision. If you are interested in being part of this journey please do reach out for a confidential discussion.
If you are a talent operating in this area and feel we may be in a position to help you please get in touch. Similarly, if you are an organisation looking to hire in this area we would love to speak with you.
Finally, whilst talent alone can open amazing opportunities, I’ll leave you with Angela Duckworth’s words:
“In the long run…grit may matter more than talent”.