Claudia Tan tells us all about her time at Hydrogen and how she thinks the gender gap is closing in Asia.

Happy three year anniversary Claudia! Tell us a little bit more about what your role as Client Services Manager involves.

As the title suggests, I work very closely with our clients across Asia, but mainly in Singapore.

More recently, my role has evolved to look into what we call ‘flexible manpower solutions.’ I’m helping to develop consultancy solutions that give the clients we partner with more taxable manpower.

Our end goal is to deliver a solution that powers clients’ projects with niche resources that will be re-sized for their current growth stage. My role includes speaking to our clients, understanding where they are in their growth phase, working with them to understand their growth strategy and catering to their manpower solution needs and aligning people that will be fit for purpose at that particular stage. 

I get to work with a wide range of different clients across financial services institutions and banks. My background is in technology and a lot of our clients are technology services companies. For example, this could be system integrators or solution consultancy companies that are in search of manpower, often at very short notice, to help complete projects. 

How has your role evolved in the time you’ve been at Hydrogen?

Even just in the last three years, recruitment has changed from being more transactional to more about crafting tailored solutions for the client. It’s becoming less frequent that our clients require one-off contractors and instead they’re looking for a whole team of people to come in and work on a particular project.

This has allowed my role to evolve to look at developing these solutions so I can spend more time understanding what our clients need at a specific point in time and then work with them to provide that solution. The great thing about this is it that it gives me the opportunity to work even closer with our clients.

What do you value most about Hydrogen as an employer?

For me, Hydrogen stands out because of the way the company embraces change and how ambitious it is to move forward. As an organisation, we’re always trying to find ways to be better and improve what we do and how we do it. One of our brand values is to be ‘wildly ambitious’ which I think sums up the Hydrogen spirit so well. 

Also, I think that the flexibility that Hydrogen gives its staff is great. For me, being a woman and a mother, I appreciate the way my boss helps empower me to manage my time. 

Your three most memorable moments at Hydrogen?

  1. An overseas trip to Hong Kong a couple of years ago where we met a client for some very intensive meetings. To help build our relationship with them, we had to understand the challenges they were facing and work out a plan to allocate the resources they needed in order to be successful with their goals. I always find trips like this interesting because you can really get under the skin of the clients challenges.
  2. Working on a particular project that had a very hectic schedule. Because of the intensity that this project required, we had the opportunity to spend a lot of time on-site so that hiring managers could individually tell us about their requirements. It was really exciting being in the clients’ environment, experiencing their pace and truly understanding how they operate. 
  3. The flexibility given to me for my maternity leave. Especially because in a sales-led industry such as recruitment, lots of women find the idea of maternity leave quite daunting. Before I left, I had so much support from my wonderful team when it came to the handover. Even now, having just returned from a 16 week break from my job, the support I’ve received is amazing. 

Gender diversity is a hot topic. From conversations with your clients, what do you see happening in this space at the moment in Asia? How are companies and leaders working to improve gender diversity?

I’m really pleased to see more and more businesses formally recognise diversity as something at the top of their agenda. It’s also good to see a growing number of organisations appreciate the unique challenges that women face in the workplace. 

Time is always an issue which is something I’ve come to realise since becoming a mother myself.  Balancing your time between work and home and being a good mum is hard. The fact that more companies are starting to understand this and are working closer with their employees to provide support and awareness is such a good thing. Employers are introducing flexible work arrangements which help their staff to manage their own time and be more productive.

Some of our clients have also been running great awareness campaigns and have set up support groups, especially in the ‘Women in technology’ space. These conferences are designed to drive more conversations between women with similar experiences as well as educate businesses on how to adapt and improve their gender diversity. 

I can see there is a definite change in mindset towards the concept of female leaders in Asia. Gradually, more and more women want to own and take on the responsibilities of being a business leader or a senior manager. For example, last year here in Singapore, Halimah Yacob was named our first female president. This is great as it inspires women to achieve more.

Do you have any advice for other women looking to succeed in the recruitment industry?

I think the landscape is definitely more positive for women in this industry now, as there’s more of an open culture. 

My main advice to women looking to pursue a career in recruitment would be to step out and actively go and talk to and meet with clients. Relationships are key – instead of sitting behind a phone, meeting with people face-to-face is the best way to forge strong relationships. Perhaps more so here in Asia, I think a lot of women tend to be happy just being behind a desk. That’s not going to cut it in this industry however, you have to be out and about, meeting your clients.

What’s next for you? What are your future goals and ambitions?

Since having my second baby girl four months ago, my husband and I feel we have now completed our little family. So I’m now thinking ahead and feel like I’m moving into a new phase of life. Perhaps it’s a little too soon to think about retirement, but financial freedom is something I am striving towards, so that we have more time and flexibility to achieve what we want.

I want to push myself to do more and take up new hobbies too. I actually just bought a new car but haven't got my license yet, so one of the next things on my-to list is to pass my driving test.

From a career perspective, there is so much more I want to look at in terms of building new solutions for our clients, to help them bring about the next change of technology wave that we are riding on right now. We’re facing a big problem here, where many Singaporeans are being retrenched or displaced out of their jobs. I want to see what advisory solutions we can offer our clients to look at how to encourage this displaced group of people back into the workforce. There are lots of opportunities to help and advise our clients in this way and I can’t wait to work with them to achieve this.

 


About Claudia

Claudia-Tan
Claudia Tan
Client Services Manager, Asia, Hydrogen Group


Claudia designs and delivers end-to-end recruitment solutions for the technology & IT industry, including Retainer/Contingency Search, HR Consulting Solution, Mapping, Market Research information and Managed Services. She has extensive experience in contingency recruitment for various technical roles (Infrastructure/Software Programming/Consulting/etc.) at executive level in Banking/Commercial/Telecommunication fields. She also has strong local expertise with an ability to advise on relocation, salary benchmarking, employment pass application steps and other relevant recruitment issues in the Singapore market.