I specialise in the recruitment of candidates into digital and emerging technology roles, primarily within Financial services. Specifically, anything related to digital product or customer journey: roles like Innovations Lead, Digital Product Owner, Service Design, or even the newest type of executives - Innovation Technologies Ecosystems and Partnerships
The beauty of working in digital is the great variety of products and applications you get to experience. Digital products are essentially any wireless application, platform or even its feature: be it a mobile application, CRM platform, chat bot, or an automation tool. Also, the people with such skillsets are highly transferable meaning they are not limited to only financial services but can also move across industries such as retail or ecommerce.
When I started recruiting in digital, I was initially working mainly on the commercial-side or client facing side, but because of how the requirements have evolved, we have seen that digital professionals are now required to have quite a high technology acumen and vice versa, people coming from development background, move on from coding to become project, product managers or DevOps Engineers.
One of the key skills to have is exceptional communication and interpersonal skills and stakeholder management capabilities to both technical and non-technical colleagues. Since they will be speaking to engineers and developers on a daily basis, they need to understand how to communicate and translate “technical lingo” to “plain old spoken language”, effectively if they want to progress their careers. They don’t necessarily need to code, but they need to understand how to execute the project, they need to understand what technology stack to use or how to translate the technical requirements to functional specs and vice versa.
Some professionals come from a very hands-on, technical background whereas some of them come in from the business side; but what they all need to have in common is a solid understanding of real-time application of innovation technologies. If you are somebody who can communicate well and have quite a well-rounded skillset then you are a valuable asset to a business and are more likely to stand apart.
You have to get creative when it comes to hiring for digital.
I would say for the digital product space, for Hong Kong in the last three years, and for Mainland China in the last five years, people transition quite a lot across practises. Some of the roles I’m working on, didn’t exist a few years ago, so there isn’t a massive pool of talent for employers to choose from, which is why we are seeing more people move from other disciplines in to the new roles.
What has been an interesting development in the last three to five years is the desire for individuals to invest more time in their own self-education. It is now common to see professionals devote considerable time in educating themselves more, particularly in the IT and technology space. It makes sense when you consider that the industry is so fast paced and moving, where the mantra is: stay ahead of the latest developments or fall behind quickly.
The volume of internet-based learning and streaming for online courses has expanded exponentially, making self-education a lot more accessible. This opens the opportunity for those wanting to make a switch from the tech-side to commercial (or vice-versa) as the material is now widely available.
Education and improving learning are no longer as inaccessible as it once was which means employers can now demand more specialist skills for their requirements. Because of this, the notable benefits of easily-accessible learning material are somewhat marred by the increasing requirements and demands employers place on hiring. I see more and more of our clients who are looking for that generation of talent who can seemingly do everything; from development, strategy, to delivery.