gradsingapore's Employer Soundbites aims to share quick thoughts from employers on current industry trends, hiring insights and useful tips for fresh graduates looking to kickstart their career on a high note.
About the Interviewee
Trina has over 15 years’ experience in finance with a strong interest in technology, commodities and social impact activities. Having completed a myriad of transactions on behalf of a range of investors including Wall Street's blue chip financial institutions right down to high net worth individuals, she has a clear understanding and perspective of investors' needs and requirements.
Her experience in creating her own startup has enabled her to see life through the lens of an entrepreneur. This, coupled with her role as a senior member of a fast growing fintech, has afforded Trina a unique and invaluable appreciation for board room dynamics and value creation at every level.
Trina is a global citizen, having lived in London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. A motivated self- starter, she has a natural curiosity for finance, the impact of technology on today's world, and socially meaningful investments. Trina holds an MBA from INSEAD, a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and is a Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder.
What are some of the main reasons behind Singapore’s high job vacancy when it comes to tech talent?
There’s a high demand for jobs linked to digital technologies, partly due to the rapid digitalisation many companies underwent during Covid-19.
According to the Ministry of Manpower, job vacancy rates for technology is on a steady uptrend at 7.7%, including roles for software, web and multimedia developers, systems analysts, and network, communications and infrastructure managers. Exacerbating this is competition from tech giants into Singapore on top of more than 1,000 tech start-ups already present.
Yet, despite the demand, a gap remains in the market for tech talents as many companies struggle to find the right fit for these roles. Many of them require specialised and technical skill sets, such as coding and engineering, while others find that employees leave for more lucrative job opportunities.
In your opinion, what are the valuable skills tech students need to be equipped with by the time they graduate?
As a tech unicorn, we're always on the lookout for software and web development engineers as well as systems analysts. We work closely with many businesses in the financial services sector, so we also keep an eye out for those with a finance or a business analytics background as well.
Equally important, we're also looking for candidates who have soft skills such as the ability to communicate clearly and succinctly, are adaptable to new situations, who can learn from criticisms and are problem-solvers.
These soft skills complement hard or technical skills and help young graduates work well with others in teams in their future workplaces.
What are some initiatives Advance Intelligence Group has implemented to attract talent?
People-centricity is one of our core company values and we place an emphasis on creating a sense of belonging for our global workforce. A diverse and inclusive workforce allows everyone’s unique voices, regardless of who they are or what they do for the business, to be heard and understood.
We have taken steps to integrate diversity, inclusivity and belonging (DIB) into our everyday work through a new framework that encourages fair hiring and promotion, as well as strengthening our policies around anti-harassment, unconscious bias and equality.
- Employees are encouraged to actively engage management on topics of concern, with regular check-ins with Human Resources VPs, Quarterly Town Halls, and employee resource groups (ERGs), such as a wellness group that organises activities like yoga sessions that encourage employees to take care of their health and wellness
- We also believe in the importance of upskilling for our existing pool of employees by providing opportunities through Advance Academy that offers structured training across all levels to improve knowledge and career skills, including free LinkedIn Learning courses for all staff, inviting external speakers to discuss in-demand topics as well as organising regular Lunch and Learns by internal subject matter experts
How can job-seekers tell that the companies they’re interviewing at have placed priority on diversity and inclusion?
Job seekers can find out if the company offers inclusive benefits and policies, for example, flexible working arrangements for childcare and caregiving obligations of aging parents. They can also find out if the company has publicly shared their DIB commitments, and if so,
- What topics are covered, how are these conducted and how have these impacted the company’s culture?
- How can employees share their feedback if there are any issues of concern and how has the company responded to them?
- Are there any training and learning opportunities that are focused on inclusivity? E.g. for managers to be better equipped to cultivate an inclusive environment
Other than that, they can probably tell during the interview process itself, e.g. any female/diverse managers/leaders during the interview stages.
What are some challenges that you feel graduates here need to take note of when they start working in a tech industry?
The tech industry is very fast-paced and things are constantly changing as new ideas and innovations are being developed.
While companies such as Advance Intelligence Group provide training opportunities for employees at all levels, it is important that graduates themselves remain adaptable and open to learning and exploring new things, as well as upgrade their skills whenever they can.
They should also read widely and be well-informed especially on macro news of the world/economy + industry. This would help inform them, for example, if their demands are unrealistic or the industry is facing headwinds.
What are some tips you would give to tech graduates to quickly excel in their first job?
Be open and ask questions! It's inevitable as a graduate that there are many things you don't know, but the more you ask the more you'll learn. There are always people around who are more than happy to help if you approach them.