Venn, an online recruitment and talent discovery platform targeting Gen Y and Millennial employees, has launched in Singapore in partnership with global technology brands like Uber, Spotify and Dropbox.
Founded by ex-banker and Viber advisor Candice Aw, the Singapore-based startup aims to complement the traditional recruitment process by leveraging a matching algorithm powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that connects job seekers with businesses, while accounting for factors like personality, interests, and cultural fit.
Apart from submitting criteria such as skills and qualifications, job seekers are also invited to answer questions regarding their interests, personality, and career aspirations to enhance their profile and increase the possibility of a suitable match. Subsequently, they are matched to suitable openings from a curated list of companies via the algorithm.
Venn claims that this facilitates Gen Y and Millennials finding highly personalised career opportunities that may otherwise have been overlooked. Venn adds that clients such as multinational corporations (MNCs) Spotify, Uber, and DropBox are using it. More localised and regional enterprises like Carousell, Zalora, Paktor, Chope, Honestbee, iFlix, and Sephora have also adopted the app in their hiring process.
In an October 2015 interaction with the Singapore Business Review, Jaya Dass, Country Manager of Randstad (Singapore), explained: “There are currently about 1.2 million millennials in Singapore, representing 22 per cent of the country’s population, each with a different career outlook compared to the generations before them. They have higher expectations of themselves and their employers, seek greater challenges and place more importance on the type of work they do, with the majority (92 per cent) focusing on job content when looking for a new role.”
Speaking on the launch of her new venture, CEO Aw said, “Pain points I felt when I was looking for jobs is what sparked the idea for Venn. Traditional recruitment isn’t necessarily broken, but there are many ways it can be improved. The challenge of finding talent is real. Businesses are looking for more efficient, smarter, and innovative ways of sourcing and securing talent that matches their evolving needs.”
Launched online as a mobile-optimised web app, the company is in the process of raising S$500,000 in seed funding to drive recruitment, build out new product features, and expand to new markets across Southeast Asia including Indonesia and Vietnam. As more Millennials and Gen Y staff enter the labour market, there will be a corresponding rise in the importance of employer branding.
Increasingly, workers review a corporations reputation prior to accepting the job, while a Randstad survey indicates 96 per cent of job-seekers want to understand whether there is a good cultural fit. Beyond just money, many workers are seeking both rapid advancement opportunities and a challenging work environment – at least in Singapore – coupled with a company that has socially beneficial effects.
Its proprietary matching algorithm helps firms curate and select the best possible candidates from the pool. The focus on “soft skills” like desired work culture and personal career goals complement “hard skills” like education and work experience, which in turn increase employee retention and job satisfaction among new recruits.
Industries with the highest proportion of employers looking to increase headcount include technology, media, and advertising – three of Venn’s primary focus areas.
Aw explained: “You hear of companies and recruiters increasingly turning to social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Tinder — all in a bid to find the perfect candidate. We provide a way for businesses to fully showcase their employer brand and to establish themselves as an ‘employer of choice’. Our vision is to be a key partner for HR teams all across Singapore.”
With Singapore’s unemployment rate in Q1 2016 standing at 1.9 per cent, according to the Ministry of Manpower, skilled labour is in short supply. This has resulted in firms encountering difficulties in identifying and attracting talent. In addition, employers must content with job-hopping behaviour amongst Singaporean workers. Restrictions on foreign labour have also added to the pressures on employers.
In a survey conducted in Q3 2015, global recruiter Randstad found that 79 per cent of Singaporean millennials (those born between 1980 – 2000) are seeking opportunities to switch careers, with greater pressure on HR specialists to retain talent and keep up motivation. Correspondingly, a global study by PwC found that 25 per cent of millennials expect to have six employers or more during their career.