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The Future of Technology: Advice for Technology job seekers across Asia-Pacific
Having reviewed the region’s key drivers of change for Technology leaders, and the best hiring advice in the discipline, it’s now time to review what’s in store for those seeking new job opportunities within Technology. While key roles for Architects, Project Managers and CIOs grace many of today’s jobs listings, what should Technology professionals look for in a role – and how can they ensure they don’t become victims of automation’s push along the way? Either way, from the project swarm to the global fast-track, it’s certainly an exciting new world for those at the cutting edge of technology change.
Expert advice for Technology job seekers
1. Staying alive: Survival of the people-driven problem solvers
Technology hiring may be booming now, but any followers of the discipline know that this can change fast. And indeed, workplace futurist and author Alexandra Levit warns that without sharpening key skillsets, technology teams may be those most at risk from automation: “It’s about making sure you’re on top of where your industry is going,” Levit tells Michael Page. “Where you can’t go wrong is the human skill elements: making sure you’re really strong in interpersonal conflict resolution, diplomacy, empathy, judgment, intuition, creativity and innovation. These are areas where for some time, it's going to be very hard for machines,” she notes. “And where I don't see people being as strong is in the Technology field: people who are techies have really kind of coasted in the last two decades – as they have skills that no one else has. Unfortunately, those people are going to be the first to be automated out of jobs. Not all of them, I’m not making a huge generalisation – but a lot of those who have not developed their interpersonal skills.”
2. Show proven skills in company complexity
Top technology candidates chasing a role in a multinational company environment must not only demonstrate project management skills – but also prove they are deft at mastering the layered web of tasks and discussions around today’s modern MNC: “The past couple of companies I’ve been to are extremely ‘matrixed’ environments. You know about brands, the functions and the categories,” advises Estee Lauder’s global CIO, George Kuan. “It’s about finding someone who can navigate through a complex matrix environment, meaning strong leadership in terms of connecting the dots and strong communication. The type who can navigate through that is the type of person we’re looking for.”
3. Keep your eyes on the Technology landscape
Michel Page Technology’s Shinjika Shukla notes that in markets where candidates invariably have several new offers to consider, a major push factor aside from salary lies the promise of exposure to new technologies: “Many are rightfully looking at what sort of technology landscape the employer is currently using: and what their vision is.” Typically hyper-aware of the dynamic market, top candidates assess each company’s appetite for sunrise tech investments in the near future. “Look for employers that will allow you to keep themselves up-to-date,” she advises. “Nobody wants to be stuck with one technology for very long: so every time we speak to candidates, they always ask, where is the growth, and what is the vision for this role?”
4. Are you ready for the swarm?
Within tomorrow’s company, the virtual, multinational, inter-discipline swarm team will become a key feature of project execution. “A swarm is a group that comes together for a short-term project and quickly disbands”, Levit describes. “I see these swarm teams becoming more commonplace. I'm on a swarm team right now for a client project where I've never worked with any of these people before – and probably won't again.” A typical feature of international contracting, swarms require you to develop a working rapport at pace: “You might not have time to sit down and figure out what makes them tick: you’ve just got to get right to it,” she notes. “Virtual teams come with their own challenges: then there’s the speed and the need to get results super-quick. There’s no sitting around.” While extreme agility is challenging for some, she enjoys the variety and pace. “It's going to be good for productivity, but I think it's going to be tough,” she predicts. “But at least if you're in a bad situation, you're also going to be out of it really fast.”
5. Jump aboard the global fast-track
Citi’s Vincent Lin says that a global footprint, and the chance of a fast-track route, can be a major incentive for technology candidates eyeing new employers. One of the company’s annual talent development program targets junior employees, providing them rotation opportunities in other teams or regions over a set period: “The program lasts for about one to two years,” he says. “They can lead a project in another region, and after that will have a performance review for the next step.” The accelerated approach can be mutually beneficial, he notes. “It’s good for employee motivation, and to appreciate how Citi runs in other regions – and is great for Citi to make full use of their strengths in a multinational context.”
6. Understand how your workplace DNA drives performance
Rather than trying to change to meet tomorrow’s demand, one of the keys to success is to understand your own machine, and articulate the conditions that you will thrive most in. “Make sure that you know what's important for you and what really drives you,” advises Estee Lauder’s global CIO, George Kuan. “Having that motivation to do something will ultimately set up you for success. You’ll put the time frame around it. You will be sweating the details, and will worry about and be accountable for the outcomes,” he advises. “And you will want to make sure that your teams are driving to the same goal. So I think you have to know in yourself, what really drives you in terms of passion.”
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Back to Tomorrow's Talent
Massive thanks to those who made Future of Technology happen: in particular those who’ve provide technology leader insights: Vincent Lin, Head of Technology Citi Taiwan, GCB; Joshua Xiang, CTO of one of China’s leading Fintech companies, Creditease; Alexandra Levit, futurist and workplace author of ‘Humanity First’ and George Kuan, Global CIO for Estee Lauder. Plus our huge thanks to PageGroup’s Technology team throughout Asia-Pacific, especially Anthony Thompson; Shinjika Shukla (Singapore); Fiona Wen (Shanghai); George Kauye (Australia), and Olga Yung (Hong Kong).