You're hired! Thai startup fills gap in tech talent recruiting

The GetLinks logo is seen at the startup's office in Bangkok, Thailand November 22, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 28 January 2019
0

You're hired! Thai startup fills gap in tech talent recruiting

  • A Google and Temasek study from November predicts that Southeast Asia's internet economy will reach $240 billion by 2025

BANGKOK: When app developer Sattha Puangput was looking to move from a startup to a new role, he updated his profile on GetLinks, a website that pairs technology professionals with companies looking to beef up their tech teams.
Within days, he says, he was called to several interviews and eventually accepted an offer with hypermarket chain Tesco Lotus to develop Android software using Kotlin, a langauge based on Java that uses fewer lines of code and makes for more efficient app development.
Knowledge of new languages and programming tools helps build software faster and allows developers to easily work together.
Customers say what sets GetLinks apart is its focus on matching specific tech skills such as app development and programming languages like Flutter and Docker - not just general programming - to meet the needs of Asia's fast-expanding tech companies and also more traditional companies seeking tech talent that in-house recruiters are not able to find.
Chinese tech giant Alibaba, Thai conglomerate Siam Cement Group and Australian employment marketplace SEEK Group, participated in a funding round for GetLinks, headquartered in Bangkok, last year which raised "eight figures" in U.S. dollars, said the startup's co-founder, 26-year-old French-born Djoann Fal.
The funding will help GetLinks set up local offices in Indonesia, Malaysia, Shenzhen and Taiwan, Fal said.
Sattha, 30, says he looked at other job sites, but couldn't find companies that were looking for his specific skills.
"Usually, the (job) search is long, so I was impressed with GetLinks," Sattha said. "The offer was fast. There are good opportunities."
So far, three-year-old GetLinks has placed over 1,000 candidates across companies such as Tencent, Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank and Indonesia's travel startup, Traveloka, Fal said.
GetLinks is a "good model" for matching companies with candidates, but could face challenges if trying to recruit more seasoned executives, said Punyanuch Sirisawadwattana, a director with UK recruiter Robert Walters in Thailand.
Companies could lose good candidates when there isn't somebody in between to work out a solution on sensitive matters like salary that require a "soft skill" to negotiate - something technology cannot immediately address, she added.

TRADITIONAL COMPANIES
Still, the explosion in demand for tech skills in Asia should serve the website well, Fal said. "The digitisation that we saw in Europe is basically happening now," in the region, he said.
Chinese tech giants and regional startups like Grab and Go-Jek have been expanding aggressively in digital payments and e-commerce, pushing up demand for progammers, designers and digital marketers.
A Google and Temasek study from November predicts that Southeast Asia's internet economy will reach $240 billion by 2025, a fifth more than a previous estimate in 2016 because of increasing mobile connectivity..
Tencent-backed Sea, best known for its game publishing business, has used GetLinks to recruit.
"The good thing about this system is that we can look at candidate profiles and contact them directly," said Anyarin Teerachawansith, Sea Thailand's head of people search.
Sea has placed more than 10 people across its Thai operations using GetLinks, including full stack developers and search engine optimization experts. However, Anyarin said the company mostly still recruits through its own network, referrals and headhunting agencies.
GetLinks charges companies 15 percent of the candidate's first-year salary or a monthly subscription that ranges from $1,000 for two hires per month to $10,000 for unlimited hires.
Traditional companies scrambling to invest in digital transformation and technology find GetLinks useful, Fal says.
One such company is Thailand's largest industrial conglomerate, Siam Cement Group, which started its own digital initiative in 2017.
"We were new and wanted to get into the market," Joshua Pas, Siam Cement's director of Digital Transformation and Corporate Technology, told Reuters.
The unit hired people through its own recruitment team, but also found its technology head through GetLinks, Pas said. So far, GetLinks has placed over 20 positions across the company.
The commercial partnership worked so well that the century-old company's corporate venture arm, which Pas also heads, invested in the startup because the search for talent "is a bottleneck" and demand will grow.


WWWorries? Inventor of Web laments coming-of-age woes

Updated 12 March 2019
0

WWWorries? Inventor of Web laments coming-of-age woes

  • Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN as a software engineer when he invented the hypertext-transfer protocol
  • He hopes countries can make the web available to more citizens

GENEVA: The inventor of the World Wide Web knows his revolutionary innovation is coming of age, and doesn’t always like what he sees: state-sponsored hacking, online harassment, hate speech and misinformation among the ills of its “digital adolescence.”
Tim Berners-Lee issued a cri-de-coeur letter and spoke to a few reporters Monday on the eve of the 30-year anniversary of his first paper with an outline of what would become the web — a first step toward transforming countless lives and the global economy.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, plans to host Berners-Lee and other web aficionados on Tuesday. “We’re celebrating, but we’re also very concerned,” Berners-Lee said.
Late last year, a key threshold was crossed — roughly half the world has gotten online. Today some 2 billion websites exist.
The anniversary offers “an opportunity to reflect on how far we have yet to go,” Berners-Lee said, calling the “fight” for the web “one of the most important causes of our time.”
He is convinced the online population will continue to grow, but says accessibility issues continue to beset much of the world.
“Look at the 50 percent who are on the web, and it’s not so pretty for them,” he said. “They are all stepping back suddenly horrified after the Trump and Brexit elections realizing that this web thing that they thought was so cool has actually not necessarily been serving humanity very well.”
The anniversary is also a nod to the innovative, collaborative and open-source mindset at the Geneva-based CERN, where physicists smash particles together to unlock secrets of science and the universe.
As a young English software engineer, Berners-Lee came up with the idea for hypertext-transfer protocol — the “http” that adorns web addresses — and other building blocks for the web while working at CERN in March 1989. Some trace the actual start of the web to 1990, when he released the first web browser.
Berners-Lee reminisced about how he was really out to get disparate computer systems to talk to one another, and resolve the “burning frustration” over a “lack of interoperability” of documentation from disparate computing systems used at CERN in the late 1980s.
Now, the hope of his World Wide Web Foundation is to enlist governments, companies, and citizens to take a greater role in shaping the web for good under principles laid out in its “Contract for the Web.”
Under the contract’s sweeping, broad ambition, governments are supposed to make sure everyone can connect to the Internet, to keep it available and to respect privacy. Companies are to make the Internet affordable, respect privacy and develop technology that will put people — and the “public good” — first. Citizens are to create and to cooperate and respect “civil discourse,” among other things.
To Berners-Lee, the web is a “mirror of humanity” where “you will see good and bad.”
“The Contract for the Web recognizes that whether humanity, in fact, is constructive or not actually depends on the way you write the code of the social network,” he said.
Some tough regulation may be necessary in some places, in others not, Berners-Lee said.
On one issue, he’s insistent: “Net neutrality — strong regulation,” Berners-Lee said, hammering a fist on the table. He was alluding to a principle that anyone with an Internet connection should have equal access to video, music, email, photos, social networks, maps and other online material.
Berners-Lee said the web has created opportunity, made lives easier and given the marginalized a voice, but “it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit.”
Ultimately, his “Contract” proposal is not about “quick fixes,” but a process for shifting people’s relationship with the online world, he said.
“It’s our journey from digital adolescence to a more mature, responsible and inclusive future,” he wrote.