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
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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.


SpaceX launches first satellites for Musk’s Starlink Internet service

Updated 52 min 52 sec ago
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SpaceX launches first satellites for Musk’s Starlink Internet service

  • The rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about 10:30 p.m. local time
  • The Falcon 9 was due to release its cargo of 60 satellites into orbit about an hour after Thursday’s launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: High-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX company launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on Thursday on a mission to carry the first batch of five dozen small satellites into low-Earth orbit for his new Starlink Internet service.
The rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about 10:30 p.m. local time (0230 GMT Friday), marking a milestone in a global enterprise aimed at generating cash for Musk’s larger ambitions in space.
The launch came a week after two back-to-back countdowns for the mission were scrubbed — once due to high winds over the Cape and the next night in order to update satellite software and “triple-check” all systems.
The Falcon 9 was due to release its cargo of 60 satellites into orbit about an hour after Thursday’s launch. Each one weighs 500 pounds (227 kg), making it the heaviest payload for any SpaceX rocket to date.
Those satellites are designed to form the initial phase a planned constellation capable of beaming signals for high-speed Internet service from space to paying customers around the globe.
Musk has said he sees the new Starlink venture as an important new revenue stream for his California-based Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, whose launch service income he expects to top out at around $3 billion a year.
Speaking to reporters last week, Musk said that makes Starlink pivotal in helping pay for his larger goals of developing a new spacecraft to fly paying customers to the moon and for eventually trying to colonize Mars.
“We think this is a key stepping stone on the way toward establishing a self-sustaining city on Mars and a base on the moon,” said Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur who is also chief executive officer of automaker Tesla Inc.
At least 12 launches carrying similar payloads are needed to achieve constant Internet coverage of most of the world, Musk said. Starlink is only currently authorized for operations in the United States.
Musk faces stiff competition. In February, Airbus SE-backed OneWeb launched its own clutch of satellites, while LeoSat Enterprises and Canada’s Telesat are also working to build data networks.
In each network, the tiny satellites orbit closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites, a technological shift made possible by advances in laser technology and computer chips.
Musk said SpaceX would begin approaching customers later this year or next year. As many as 2,000 satellites will be launched per year, with the ultimate objective of placing up to 12,000 into orbit.