We talked to Wee-Tiong Ang of JobTech about transforming data into economic opportunities for everyone, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Wee-Tiong Ang: I am a father of two.
Social distancing during Covid-19 means more time at home with my family. And it means that I would need to balance supervision of children’s learning, family time, and work commitments.
When I work from home, I do not always have a lot of time during work hours. So it’s all about making the most of the time I do have by giving my children positive attention and turning everyday moments into quality time.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded JobTech.
Wee-Tiong Ang: I often tell people that I am one of the culprits who developed advanced learning models to help computers understand human behaviour and human-generated content in my previous life as a researcher at a Singapore research institute.
I had always wanted to use my inventions to understand labour market inefficiencies and to help people learn and future-proof themselves with the help of labour market and education data.
And so, JobTech is founded.
How does JobTech innovate?
Wee-Tiong Ang: Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum. We regularly engage with stakeholders to find out what problems they are facing and discuss the latest trends. Being close to our potential users definitely helps in sharpening our offerings to better meet their needs. Having said that, we are also aware that people have their own ingrained beliefs, or they might not know what they want. So, we have to be curious observers and ask the right questions.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Wee-Tiong Ang: We are a big labour data analytics company with the vision of transforming data into economic opportunities for everyone.
The pandemic has changed the future of work, and new HR trends emerge as the lasting effect of the workforce and workplace changes. Responding effectively to these HR trends can ensure that their organizations stand out from competitors. And this is where JobTech’s solution stands out.
For example, we collaborated with NUS on its career+ mobile app to boost career readiness of students through predictive analytics and skills visualization. In the latest set of enhancements, a Talent Future Index score provides a predictive perspective of the future outlook of demand for skills. This prepares students for skills projected to be in demand and addresses their vulnerability to future shifts in the job market. In addition, a Skills Graph visualization feature allows students to map out their skillsets and identify adjacent skills aligned to market demand.
I could have continued writing!
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Wee-Tiong Ang: Hah! Three things:
- Human relationship
- The thirst to learn and grow
- And not taking myself too seriously
As a co-founder and CEO, I do a lot of talking. But one of the most important things I can do is listen to the people around me. Hearing what people have to say, understanding where they’re coming from, and valuing their perspectives can make all the difference.
Second – Never stop learning. The easiest way to do this is to read regularly and surround yourself with a diverse group of people to learn from as many people that you can.
And don’t take yourself too seriously! This is something that is easier said than done!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Wee-Tiong Ang: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought home to managers that we live in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, but it would be hubris to think that specific tools or software can circumscribe the implications. I think people are now more aware of the need for tighter technology integration and business-as-usual (BAU) processes.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Wee-Tiong Ang: We are not looking at any specific companies – competition can come from Silicon Valley start-ups or new offerings from tech behemoths. This is where I think the focus ought to LIE – to Listen to our stakeholders to better serve their needs, to continually ITERATE and IMPROVE upon our core technology and offerings, and to EVANGELISE.
Your final thoughts?
To paraphrase a cliché, the current situation is as much an opportunity as a crisis. The adoption of certain business technologies would have been much slower if not for the imposition of social restrictions. And I believe that the momentum will carry through for use cases beyond remote collaboration and digital commerce, e.g., the use of AI for learning and organizational development.
On a more personal note, the pandemic has also reminded us all about what are the truly important things in life.