Name : Glenn Chau
Position : Country Manager
W h e n w a s y o u r f i r s t v i s i t to Myanmar and how has she changed since then?
My first visit to Myanmar was in May 2012. When first I came here, there was no traffic. We did not have Junction City but it was a lot more peaceful. That was 6 years ago but since then, Myanmar has really developed and it is a good thing although we have more hustle and bustle in the city, a lot of crowds, a lot of traffic jams but it is good to see the city just developing in so many sectors. Larger shopping malls are coming up, with international restaurants coming as well. We see a lot more vibrant night life as well. Overall the city has developed so much more in many different aspects but I am happy that Yangon has retained the same culture that I have seen in my initial visit.
What are the differences between working in Myanmar and other countries?
Working in Myanmar obviously present some challenges. When I started working here in 2015, I faced language barriers. It is a little different communicating with Myanmar people from communicating with people from US and Singapore because we can have different sorts of communication styles. We have to learn a little bit local language as well.
How did you end up in current position?
Basically, when I was working in Singapore in 2014, I was actually recruited from my previous company for a business development management position to come to Myanmar. It was supposed to be a six month contract, a very short project but I ended up staying much longer. At the end of my contract with my previous employer, I got in touch with my current employer, GrabJobs. I think it is beneficial to stay in Myanmar to continue building that sector. I am helping people find jobs and improving the HR sector in Myanmar as much as possible.
Please explain to our readers about GrabJobs.
GrabJobs is essentially a mobile application. We work on all mobile devices including iOS and Android. What we do is essentially providing a platform for people to look for jobs throughout Myanmar. And also because we are operating in four countries, we actually enable users to find jobs outside Myanmar. Our headquarters is in Singapore. We also operate in Thailand, Philippines and Myanmar. Even though you are in Myanmar, you can find jobs in Singapore, Thailand and Philippines all through the application. Now GrabJobs is a little different from some of the other job websites because it is the first mobile platform for job searching. The benefit of this is we have a lot more functions we can integrate into it and a lot more interaction between employers and job applicants.
How would you describe your typical customer?
We have two types of customers. Our main customers are job seekers from fresh university graduates, entry level workers all the way to senior level management. So these are the main users we have in Myanmar. The other side of the business are the companies that we work with and the people who want to recruit job applicants. These range from all sorts of companies, big and small international and local companies.
How has the slowdown in economy affected your business?
We do not really see that much effects. In fact, when the economy slows down, people want to find work even more. Demand for new jobs go up. Demand for people working back into the workforce has increased because people are very uncertain about when they will see the economy improve. So people who have been staying at home for two to three years are suddenly looking for work and the number of people on the platform looking for jobs increases every single day. In addition, companies want to attract the best talent possible because of the uncertain economy. They want to have the best people, hence they are more aggressively looking for people within the GrabJobs platform.
What are your competitive strategies?
Of course, what we do is we develop more technological improvements. One of the things that we do is we helpthe companies screen the candidate automatically. This is something that we have that saves hours and hours of their time. The benefit of that is they can even recruit while they are sleeping because we have the systems to do it automatically. It screens all the candidates and it only allows qualified candidates to be sent to the companies. This is one of the biggest advantages that we have. In fact, we are always innovating. This is the biggest innovation we have since we have launched. It is a feature that employers just love because it saves so much time to do so many other things in every day time. I would say our competitive advantage is our willingness to continue innovating and to continue improving to serve these markets.
How do you usually promote your business?
We do it in a number of ways, obviously Facebook since Facebook is the internet in Myanmar. That’s the number one way we do it. We have partnership with some schools. What we do is we go to the schools, we present this application to the students. We tell them, “When you graduate, there are thousands of jobs opportunities waiting for you on the GrabJobs platform.” We also hold seminars for employers where we educate our clients to develop the HR industry. It is not just about promoting our application but we also promote the industry, with knowledge and best practices in order develop the HR industry. We want to share as much as possible with the HR community.
What are your future plans?
Our future plans are obviously to expand beyond the bigger markets in Myanmar. You know, the bigger markets in Myanmar are Yangon, Mandalay, Naypyitaw and Taunggyi. We want to expand faster. We want to go to areas where technology has not reached, for example, Kachine and Chin states. We want to expand it to give opportunities to these people who may not have this option at the moment. I am sure there are people in these areas who want to find work opportunities, but they just do not have online resource. So we want to promote this and provide this to these people as much as possible.
What is the trend on Myanmar job agencies heading?
Myanmar job agencies always go hand in hand with websites, we do not see ourselves as pure competitors to one another. We believe that services of this sector are always complimentary, for example for us, we do not take very proactive approach in reaching out the candidates. We let the applicants come to the company and also we leverage technology. In some cases, some people may prefer the other approach. They just want someone to do all the work, which is where agencies come in. It depends on which approach you prefer.
Do you prefer taking a more proactive approach as an employer or do you just prefer having candidates sent to you?
It still goes hand in hand and it depends on which approach you prefer.
What is the biggest challenge facing your business in the foreseeable future?
Obviously, it is trying to judge which areas to reach, markets apart from Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw. It’s no problem to judge these places because it is very accessible due to technology and internet connectivity has penetrated these markets. But we want to expand to other markets within Myanmar for example, Chin and Kachine states and they may not have the infrastructure developed yet for example internet penetration is a lot lower compared to the other states and because mobile applications obviously depend on a lot internet connectivity, we try to work against this. We are developing a little system called interview kiosks that is essentially a tablet that come with an internet connection. We want to place this act as many places as possible. Even if you do not have a phone or your own internet connection, you can go to these tablets with the GrabJobs application onto it. Users can go there, create their CV and apply for jobs with these tablets. Even if they do not have their smartphones and computers, they can do it. This is a project we would be launching soon.
If you could make a change to one government policy in order to ease the way of doing business, what would it be?
I would not say a change to government policy. One of the things I feel would be very beneficial is easier access of credit, especially for start-up businesses and SMEs because I know at the moment right now to obtain business loans there a lot of barriers and papers that must be done and sometimes the paper work and also the high interest rates get in the way. If there was a way for us to obtain loans a little easier and at lower interest rates, I think that would be very beneficial for the entire small business development in Myanmar.