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

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.


Russia to send ‘Fedor’ its first humanoid robot into space

Updated 22 August 2019

Russia to send ‘Fedor’ its first humanoid robot into space

  • Fedor was to blast off in a Soyuz rocket at 6:38 am Moscow time (0338 GMT) from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome
  • Fedor is not the first robot to go into space

MOSCOW: Russia was set to launch on Thursday an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot that will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station.
Named Fedor, for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research with identification number Skybot F850, the robot is the first ever sent up by Russia.
Fedor was to blast off in a Soyuz rocket at 6:38 am Moscow time from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, dock with the space station on Saturday and stay till September 7.
The Soyuz spacecraft is normally manned on such trips, but on Thursday no humans will be traveling in order to test a new emergency rescue system.
Instead of cosmonauts, Fedor will sit in a specially adapted pilot’s seat.

The silvery anthropomorphic robot stands one meter 80 centimeters tall (5 foot 11 inches) and weighs 160 kilograms (353 lbs).
Fedor has Instagram and Twitter accounts that describe it as learning new skills such as opening a bottle of water. In the station, it will trial those manual skills in very low gravity.
“That’s connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher,” the Russian space agency’s director for prospective programs and science, Alexander Bloshenko, said in televised comments.
Fedor copies human movements, a key skill that allows it to remotely help astronauts or even people on Earth carry out tasks while they are strapped into an exoskeleton.
Such robots will eventually carry out dangerous operations such as space walks, Bloshenko told RIA Novosti state news agency.
On the website of one of the state backers of the project, the Foundation of Advanced Research Projects, Fedor is described as potentially useful on Earth for working in high radiation environments, de-mining and tricky rescue missions.
On board, the robot will perform tasks supervised by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, who joined the ISS last month, and will wear an exoskeleton in a series of experiments scheduled for later this month.

Robonaut 2, Kirobo
Space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin showed pictures of the robot to President Vladimir Putin this month, saying it will be “an assistant to the crew.”
“In the future we plan that this machine will also help us conquer deep space,” he added.
Fedor is not the first robot to go into space.
In 2011, NASA sent up Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot developed with General Motors and a similar aim of working in high-risk environments.
It was flown back to Earth in 2018 after experiencing technical problems.
In 2013, Japan sent up a small robot called Kirobo along with the ISS’s first Japanese space commander. Developed with Toyota, it was able to hold conversations — albeit only in Japanese.