SALT: Creating Futures in the Digital Space

Q&A with Bryan Corke, the new country director of Salt Malaysia on today's digital workforce
Bryan Corke Country Director Malaysia

LONDON-based digital recruitment firm, Salt, has acquired a stake in Font, a specialist marketing, creative and digital recruitment firm based in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Font plans to rebrand into Salt by year-end. Through this partnership, Salt now has a global reach with headquarters in eight countries and with more than 180 consultants worldwide.

SALT has appointed Bryan Corke, the new country director of Malaysia to help lead the transformation.

“I am very excited to be leading the charge and helping clients better manage an ever-changing workforce. We are the experts in our field. Our industry expertise will find you the right role, person or service in the evolving digital world,” he said.

“As a global brand, we are offering our employees and customers (both candidates and clients) a truly diverse experience in digital recruitment. This partnership is key to our vision; it reaffirms our position as a leading player in the digital recruitment market, globally. Beyond that, it aligns with our strategy of becoming a winning brand that is No.1 in America, EMEA and APAC for digital,” added Corke.

In this Q&A, we find out what sets Salt apart from other recruitment agencies — how employees can better equip themselves for a career in the digital world; and likewise,  how companies can brand themselves to attract better talents in this evolving landscape.

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Q: What sets Salt apart from other Job recruitment agencies?

We are a global organisation that connects people and businesses within the Creative, Marketing, Sales and Technology sector. We began as Salt Recruitment Group, formed in the UK, and ever since then we have grown our presence across Sydney, New York and Dubai.

At Salt, we see digital recruitment as a catalyst to enable businesses to win throughout their digital transformation journey. Be it a disruptive leader at the front, a consultancy managing a business through change, or a traditional business embracing new digital techniques, we are making a difference at every step of the client’s journey.

We partner with our clients to place not just the best talent but also create some of the most dynamic teams globally. That said, diversity is at the forefront of our business and paramount in everything we do, and that’s what differentiates Salt from its peers.

 

Q: What are your key roles and challenges as Salt country manager in Malaysia?

In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges is to align the needs and aspirations of digital clients and candidates. If I were to ask 10 people what digital means to them or simply to define digital, I would get 10 different answers.

Our aim is to be the thought leaders in this space; we want to be the go-to partner for digital insights and talent recruitment for our customers.

I have spent the past two decades in this industry delivering solutions and working across verticals — investment banking, government, energy, telecoms, engineering, media, marketing, sales and technology.

My key role is to continue Salt’s growth and reputation in the region as the No.1 digital recruitment provider, to match the right talent to the right opportunities across regions.

On a personal level, I have always been drawn to change and transformation.

I think today’s digital world is a magnification of the ‘dotcom boom’ circa 1999/2000,  and a major factor behind my move to Southeast Asia is because I believe that Malaysia has the potential to become the digital hub for the region, and I am very excited to play a part towards this.

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Q: Why is the digital space important in recruitment these days? Explain Salt’s focus in four key areas – Creative, Marketing, Sales and Technology.

Digital has touched all facets of business across industries in some shape or form, and it cannot be ignored. It is changing and shaping the way we do things, making us question how we can do things differently and more efficiently, and reaching the masses while at the same time customizing solutions for individuals. It has been growing in importance year on year, and businesses are at different cycles of adoption and evolvement.

Jacqui Barratt, APAC CEO of Salt once said: “Companies in Malaysia and around the world are facing a complete digital disruption – one that goes beyond technology roles, and into all areas of the business. Font’s partnership with Salt enables us to further strengthen skill sets within local firms, as well as work with local talent to adapt as jobs continue to evolve.”

Whilst attracting the right talent is key to building a successful digital workforce, there is so much more to be considered. It’s rare to find a ‘perfect’ candidate. We must consider what competencies are required as opposed to chasing a checklist of skills. We need to evolve as an industry in terms of training, mentoring, workforce planning, and retention. That’s a crucial role for players like Salt — to counsel and educate clients to think long term.

 

Q: Give some interesting examples of the latest job trends in the digital economy.

A lot of start-ups are attracted to Salt in search for the right talent. Salt has helped find the right set of developers and continues to partner with its founder for all their hiring. Companies such as MUSO, which is gaining credibility in their space rapidly, is working with us as they go through rounds of funding to assure their explosive growth. Their need for structured hiring is intense from senior hires to the bottom level of the organization. OfficeServe in the UK is searching for C-Level hires in their drive to become the leading provider of quick and healthy meals to your office. PixelBug, based in the Middle East, is one of the most successful startups globally that operates in the augmented reality space.

Finally, Salt has recently partnered with Aperto in Berlin (acquired in February this year by IBM IX). Aperto partners with multiple local providers, but also acknowledges the requirement for a wider geographic talent pool to draw from. Salt offers this through our eight offices and we expect candidates interest for digital roles in Berlin will be high in London.

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Q: How do you screen for talents? What qualifications and experiences are needed to succeed in the fast changing digital world?

Essentially, our screening of talent begins with understanding the needs of the market – both in skills and competencies.

Being a specialist with more than 180 consultants across eight countries working in this space, sharing and guiding the market means that we are constantly at the edge of what is happening. “Digital” is a broad term and given its underpins, almost any role demands a varied range of digital skills and abilities.

For instance, the skills you need to operate as a UX Consultant, will be different to those of an E-Commerce Manager, or Payments Specialist, however there may be common themes. We examine an individual’s experience, skills, and motivation to work in any role and organization. In addition to past experience, their ideal role, where they want to be, and any gaps that hinder them taking the next step.

This process is deep and thorough, to ensure that we not only get to the crux of the candidate and their goals, but to ensure this aligns with the client’s needs and long-term objectives.

 

Q: How can an employee equip himself for a career in the digital world, and how can companies brand themselves to attract better talents?

With the pace of change, every individual needs to demonstrate learning agility – the ability and desire to learn, and be resourceful, seeking out critical solutions. Look at the company you are working for, and ask yourself whether they are moving in the right digital direction to ensure that your skills have the opportunity to evolve.

One piece of advice I would give any job seeker or employee is to get yourself involved. Put your hand up for opportunities within your company. Do they run learning or sharing sessions that you can join, or do they run peer mentoring? Do what you can to get involved.

Look for courses externally that will keep you abreast of what’s happening. Join online forums, read blogs, join webinars and more – these things don’t cost a lot, but they can really help to keep you across the industry, and ensure that your skill set is current.

As companies constantly drive change, they need more people who can influence, guide and manage projects to deliver outcomes.

On the other hand, companies need to look at what they can do to retain their good performers and develop them. The ability to attract the best talent is critical for their growth and success. Employment brand starts from their attraction strategy and goes right through the entire employee lifecycle.

That said, the most powerful force you or brand advocates have are your existing employees. Word of mouth and referrals are powerful machinery to attract the best talent.

Your existing employees are the biggest brand ambassadors of your company, so make them the voice to tell the company’s story. However, digital doesn’t replace the need for great people skills, and we are seeing the growing importance of this, too. It’s my firm belief that people are the most important asset of any organisation – and we need to value and nurture them.





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