GetLinks: Responding to WEF and the Human Capital Crisis

GetLinks was invited to attend the World Economic Forum on September 11-13 in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was an eye-opening experience for us as a fast-growing startup. Today, we are proud to announce our new mission statement as well as our commitment to tackling the human capital crisis head-on.

GetLinks was born in 2014 to solve a problem: how can we better connect people, namely developers, designers, digital marketers and investors to build new things and establish a Silicon Valley here in Asia? We’ve realized this problem is not nearly big enough.

Since our inception, we have produced hundreds of community-building events, created our own tech talent hiring platform and closed our Series A funding round from Seek group and Alibaba. We’ve gone from 3 to 115 people in size and now have operations in 4 countries across Asia. Cause for celebration, right?

Put the cork back in the champagne. With every year that we grow, it becomes increasingly clear that the human capital crisis could cost us not only our business, but regional prosperity.

 

Learnings from WEF

The World Economic Forum provided us with a unique vantage point to learn about the most pressing issues facing the world. For top business leaders, political leaders, economists, celebrities and journalists, digital disruption, 21st Century skills and the future of work itself were high on the agenda. Here is what we learned:

  • We’re unprepared for the future of work
    All 10 ASEAN country leaders shared their urgency to up-skill workforces to meet the demands of the labour market. The future of jobs is deeply uncertain, with the working-age population across Southeast Asia increasing by 11,000 people daily – expected to grow at this rate for the next 15 years. Simultaneously, many existing jobs will be substituted by intelligent automation and AI. How can we offset digital disruption and bridge the skills gap?
  • The economic cost of gender inequality
    The Asian Development Bank estimates that currently less than half of women in Asia are in the workforce compared with 80 percent of men. McKinsey Global Institute shared that Asia Pacific alone could add US$ 4.5 trillion to their collective GDP in 2025 by advancing women’s equality. That’s equivalent to adding an economy the size of Japan each year. How can we help create a better more inclusive and prosperous tech sector?
  • We need a new entrepreneurial spirit
    We got the entrepreneurial feels when Le Hong Minh, Co-Founder and CEO of Viet Nam’s first tech unicorn, VNG group shared on stage: “Don’t do the normal stuff. Because the future happens with something that today you think is magical, something that today you think is unimaginable.” The so-called “ASEAN Way” must become more entrepreneurial.

Since 2016 GetLinks has partnered with Thailand’s National Science Technology Development Agency (NSTD) to support Thailand’s startup ecosystem. We have also partnered up with Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), driving their tech and connecting Thai tech talents with opportunities across the region at Digital Thailand Big Bang 2018.  But we can go further.

Being at the World Economic Forum and understanding better the human capital and digital disruption challenge facing South East Asia only exposes the fact that GetLinks can and must do more.

GetLinks Chairman and Co-founder Keenan Kwok

 

A Bigger Problem to Solve

We have had to look inward, conducting a series of workshops with all our teams to find out who they think we are, what we do and why do we do it. What this revealed to us, aside from some hard truths, was how important social impact is to our people. Many of our teams believe we are changing people’s lives, that GetLinks can help transform the future of work.

We decided we need to make changes to our mission, to our values and culture.

  • Introducing our new mission

    Our mission must grow to match the scale of the challenge we face.

    “Bring Humanity to Technology is our new mission statement. We believe that in a rapidly changing world where every industry and every sector is powered by technology, we must empower people – not replace them. How will we achieve our mission?

 

  • Building an Adaptive Talent Community
    We will strive to create what we call an “Adaptive Talent Community” in Asia, a 21st Century Workforce, by investing in the following areas:

Jobs – Connecting skilled talent with employment opportunities to power Asia’s rapidly developing technology sector
Skills – Supporting the development of Asia’s tech workforce through the training and development of skills
Mobility – Seamlessly facilitating the movements of skilled talent between key Asian technology markets to meet the market supply and demand
Community – Developing hyper-localized operating hubs across 11 key markets, bringing together all key stakeholders of the technology community; Government, Universities, Partners, Investors, Talent, Companies

Launching Humans of Tech

We will launch a content platform called Humans of Tech to shine a light on the tremendous diversity across the tech industry. We will use storytelling to inspire behavior change, encouraging more people from a range of backgrounds to join the tech world, creating a more inclusive tech sector.

 

 

If you would like to explore partnerships to help realize our mission and vision, you can reach out to Keenan Kwok at Keenan@getlinks.co and Adam Sharpe at adam@getlinks.co.

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