Eighteen years ago, Lucknow-born Deepali Chaturvedi moved to Singapore from London when her husband took up a job here. Not long after, she gave birth to a daughter. So, understandably, the psychology graduate who had previously worked with the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank organisation, in Delhi before her marriage was not really prepared to take up a job when a friend came with an offer.
He wanted her to set up an IT recruitment firm as an extension of a bigger recruitment company. It was a new field to her and she was reluctant initially but he persuaded her and told her to give it a try. His argument was that the two-year IT diploma she acquired and her psychology degree were the perfect match for a recruiter. And thus started her career in Singapore.
Ms Chaturvedi has not looked back. After spending seven years with her first company, she moved to BTI Consultants.
Today, she is the head of South-east Asia operations at Reed Specialist Recruitment, which is headquartered in the UK and has 400 offices globally. It specialises in helping firms recruit employees in the mid-management to senior management level and the areas of focus are human resources, finance/accounting, technology, engineering/oil/gas, supply chain, property and construction.
With her base in Singapore - Ms Chaturvedi set up its local office four years ago - the 43-year-old Singapore PR is responsible for expanding the company's presence in the Asean and India markets. She says that even though the economies of Europe and the United States are suffering, those in South-east Asia have remained relatively stable and upbeat.
"However, as would be expected, given the global volatility, both employers and employees are somewhat cautious, and tend to deliberate thoroughly when making hiring decisions or decisions to change jobs," says Ms Chaturvedi who sees more companies hiring workers on contract these days.
She adds that this is an effective solution for employers in times of economic uncertainties and is an alternative to sidestep directives of headcount freeze from global headquarters.
When asked whether Singaporeans are reluctant to take up overseas jobs, Ms Chaturvedi says that since Singapore offers its residents "a well-planned, safe, politically stable and vibrant living environment, it is only natural that its citizens and residents are reluctant to leave Singapore".
During her long stay here, she has "also encountered numerous Asian and Western expatriates who are averse to leaving Singapore to return to their home countries or relocate to other geographies".
She adds that this part of the world offers Indians exciting career opportunities whilst at the same time providing an attractive living environment and close proximity to India.
"Singapore being English speaking, friendly and inclusive as well as meritocracy-driven allows Indians to adapt and integrate well and minimise the sense of alienation that is sometimes felt in other countries," says Ms Chaturvedi.
Pointing out that Singapore offers one of the best environments in which to work and raise a family, she says she is living proof of it. And to give an example, Ms Chaturvedi related how, even though her husband's IT-related job with Estee Lauder takes him all over Asia Pacific, she manages to find time to hang out with her daughter Nikita, now 17 and starting her final year of school at United World College. They go cycling at the East Coast Park or visit museums and exhibitions.
Singapore being English speaking, friendly and inclusive as well as meritocracy-driven allows Indians to adapt and integrate well and minimise the sense of alienation that is sometimes felt in other countries.
- Ms Deepali Chaturvedi
biz matters: Deepali Chaturvedi (head, South-east Asia, Reed Specialist Recruitment)