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.