A commitment to equal opportunities has driven Joelle Pang to develop an employment platform primarily aimed at helping blue collar workers find jobs.
What’s your story?
My personal mission is to enable creation for contribution to communities. I believe there is a power in all of us to create, and my tool of choice is technology. Leveraging technology for good has led me to FastJobs, which is a mobile-first job platform that connects low-wage workers to meaningful employment opportunities. My experience comes from being in technology start-ups in the e-commerce, recruitment, mobile and on-demand space, which includes founding 2 startups (one of which I’ve exited), and I was recently recognised as ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Women in IT Asia Awards in 2019.
What excites you most about your industry?
FastJobs Asia is a blue-collar focused job platform, with a vision to create equal access to job opportunities for everyone. Through FastJobs Malaysia, I am able to play a part in connecting low-wage job seekers to meaningful employment opportunities through hiring innovation and leveraging technology.
Today’s pandemic-challenged times present a meaningful opportunity to work with growth-mindset employers still looking to hire to keep their operations running or are continuing their business expansion plans. FastJobs’ role here is to leverage technology to enable jobseekers to continue getting connected to meaningful employment despite the very real challenges and restrictions.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I would like to think that I am paving the way for women in technology and leveraging tech for good by demonstrating entrepreneurship with strong track record through the various startups I have founded or helped to drive growth for. What pushes me is the impact I can create as General Manager for FastJobs Malaysia, a blue-collar workforce focused mobile recruitment platform with the aim to remove or reduce the disconnect between employers and jobseekers, by simplifying the hiring process for employers and alleviating the pains of jobseeking for the semi-skilled and low-skilled jobseekers, which constitute 76% of Malaysia’s workforce.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
I have learnt the art of building businesses from just an idea through my time as a technology entrepreneur, where startups grow at lightning speed. Honing the skills to develop scalable business frameworks, coupled with a natural curiosity I had for localisation has enabled me to be a regional business developer/launcher for several startups that have given me the opportunity as a Singaporean to work in markets like Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong, to name a few. My most useful skill still lies in repeatedly executing business frameworks effectively, and in a manner that empowers the lives of communities we impact.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
As an entrepreneurial individual, I have spent a lot of time and energy thinking about and chasing after “the next big thing”. The best piece of advice given to me is to flip the equation around, and to think about what was that one problem I was willing to dedicate my life’s work to solve. For me, it is to reduce inequality. While I can’t solve this on my own, I make sure that the work I do positively contributes towards creating a more equal world, which is why FastJobs, as a Southeast Asian-centric blue-collar job platform, spoke to me.
Who inspires you?
Brene Brown! Her message on vulnerability, courage, shame and daring to lead has been a great inspiration for me as a female leader in the field of technology. Brown’s definition of a leader as “anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential”, coupled with the light she has shone on the power of empathy and vulnerability has enabled me to define and gain confidence in my own style of leadership in a way that embraces my strengths, in an industry comprising of mostly male leaders and role models.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
To say that last year (2020) has been a challenging one for many would be an understatement. Looking back, I now better understand the essence of Winston Churchill’s quote, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” While we’d never wish a pandemic of this scale upon anyone ever again, I’ve learnt the importance of taking the time to take stock of the post-traumatic growth, and just view our own journeys from the perspective of how much we have grown from the past year, and to place those learnings into our toolkit for use at a later time.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Referencing the advice Sheryl Sandberg received from Eric Schmidt: “Get on a rocket ship. When companies are growing quickly and they are having a lot of impact, careers take care of themselves… If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.”
I have had a couple of opportunities in my career to “get on a rocket ship” and had allowed good logic to get in the way of getting on. Looking back, there are occasions where I wish I had gotten on either of those rocket ships and landed on a different destination.
How do you unwind?
I love the concept of discovering hidden gems, even in my hometown Singapore, so in spite of not being able to travel, you’d still find me hunting down hidden coffee joints with rumoured good coffee, or grabbing a drink at a speakeasy bar. Food is a big thing for me as well, as I believe that the best conversations happen over a good meal with great friends.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
FastJobs’ vision as a non-executive job platform is to create equal access to job opportunities for everyone. In the midst of innovating to stay relevant during the pandemic, I realised a huge opportunity to reposition ourselves as more than just a platform for jobs, but as a platform to enable blue-collar workers, which make up ~75% of the Malaysian workforce.
We now work with companies and partners who offer complementary products and services, such as micro-insurance and lending, etc. who are looking to reach out to our 1.5-mil jobseekers, so as to invite them to access to enhanced financial well-being.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Coming off from a challenging year, the book I’d recommend is definitely “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. Given the increasingly volatile world we are living in, there is a pressing need to exercise courage. However, courage requires us to embrace vulnerability – something that has been often thought of as a weakness. This book encouraged me to find the courage to embrace that vulnerability and engage people and situations with my whole heart, even if that seems scary and difficult. It means that I am able to build more meaningful relationships with family, friends and those within my organisation.
Shameless plug for your business:
FastJobs Malaysia is a tech-driven job platform which connects Malaysians to job opportunities by combining both technology and industry insights for entry-level and non-executive employment. Our vision is to provide equal access to job opportunities for everyone by innovating recruitment through simple, effective, and fast solutions.
Since its inception in 2017, FastJobs Malaysia has registered over 1.5-million Malaysian jobseekers on their mobile app and web platform – providing free, simple and instant access to thousands of jobs. Over the years, we have worked with category leaders across industries such as F&B, retail, hospitality, and recruitment agencies to fulfil their hiring needs.
How can people connect with you?
Connect with me on linkedin.com/in/joellepang/
Let’s exchange stories on Clubhouse @miss_pang
Or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if talent and recruitment is also your lifeblood!
Social Media Links?
Download FastJobs App on Android and iOS
Website - https://www.fastjobs.my/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/fastjobsmy
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/fastjobsmy
Twitter – https://twitter.com/FastJobsMY
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.