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 undoubtedly an exciting new world for those at the cutting edge of technological 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 domain expert in tech knows that this can change fast. Workplace futurist and author Alexandra Levit notes that technology teams could be those most at risk from automation if they do not sharpen key skill sets, “It’s about making sure you’re on top of where your industry is going,” Levit shares.
“Where you can’t go wrong is the human skill elements: making sure you’re strong in interpersonal conflict resolution, diplomacy, empathy, judgment, intuition, creativity and innovation. These areas have been very challenging for machines for some time now,” Levit adds.
“And where I don’t see people being as strong is in the Technology field: people who are techies have somewhat coasted in the last two decades – as they have skills that no one else has. Unfortunately, those people will be the first to be automated out of jobs. Not all of them, I’m not making a huge generalisation – but many of those who have not developed their interpersonal skills.”
2. Show proven skills in company complexity
Top technology candidates who are chasing a role in a multinational company environment must demonstrate project management skills and 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 have you know brands, the functions and the categories,” advises Estee Lauder Companies’ global CIO, George Kuan.
“It’s about finding someone who can navigate a complex matrix environment, meaning strong leadership in connecting the dots and strong communication. The type who can navigate through that is the person we’re looking for.”
3. Keep your eyes on the Technology landscape
In markets where candidates invariably have several new offers to consider, a significant push factor aside from salary lies the promise of exposure to new technologies.
As technology advances quickly, tech candidates keep themselves updated with the latest tech know-how in their fields. When considering new employers, they would look for those that allow them to keep themselves up-to-date with new tech knowledge. Typically hyper-aware of the dynamic market, top candidates looking for career progression would assess each company’s appetite for upcoming sunrise tech investments before considering new roles.
4. Are you ready for the swarm?
A 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 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 would 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 will be good for productivity, but I think it will be tough,” she predicts. “But at least if you’re in a bad situation, you’re also going to be out of it fast.”
5. Jump aboard the global fast-track
A global footprint, and the chance of a fast-track route, can be a significant incentive for technology candidates eyeing new employers.
One of Citibank Taiwan’s annual talent development programmes focuses on junior employees, providing them rotation opportunities in other teams or regions over a set period.
This program lasts for about one to two years, and participating employees can lead a project in another region. After that, they will have a performance review for the next step. This approach is mutually beneficial. Employees can learn new skills and understand how Citibank runs in other regions. It is an excellent opportunity for Citibank to push and develop its employees’ potential in a global 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 in which you will most thrive. “Make sure you know what’s important for you and what drives you,” advises Estee Lauder Companies’ global CIO, George Kuan.
“Having that motivation to do something will ultimately set you up for success. You’ll put the time frame around it. You will be sweating the details and worry about and be accountable for the outcomes,” George advises. “And you will want to make sure that your teams are driving to the same goal. So I think you have to know what drives you in terms of passion.”
Massive thanks to those who made Future of Technology happen: 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 Companies. Plus, huge thanks to PageGroup’s Technology team throughout Asia-Pacific, namely Anthony Thompson, Fiona Wen (Shanghai), George Kauye (Australia), and Olga Yung (Hong Kong).
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