Meet Startup @TW

International demand high for Taiwanese engineers, says mit.Jobs

January saw a high international turnout at mit.Jobs’ networking event for engineers. With participants hailing from tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Singapore, Hong Kong, or Taiwan, the occasion had renowned companies and startups mingle with local talent, in the process not only exchanging name cards, but also ideas, insights, and experiences.

Attendance by senior engineers from Yahoo, Microsoft, Trend Micro, and MediaTek demonstrated the growing interest in Taiwanese graduates, with software engineers in particular being sought after.

International startups included, among others, instrument makers Digital Grid from Silicon Valley; concierge-service honestbee from Singapore; event organizers EventXtra from Hong Kong; and Taiwan's own diving computer manufacturer Deepblu, as well as AI-based trading service hiHedge. For these new teams in particular, mit.Jobs’ event provided an opportunity to find not just employees but motivated “partners.”

Soaring demand

According to mit.Jobs founder Reinhardt Lin, although "at least 80% of job seekers are engineers," this supply is currently outmatched by an extraordinary demand from big businesses and startups in Taiwan and abroad.

Lin points out that Taiwanese engineers are not just concerned about high salaries when job-hunting, but also care about the company’s vision and future career opportunities.

Moreover, being less affected by linguistic and cultural barriers, engineering talent often perceives working abroad as an attractive option.

But mit.Jobs also wants to connect startups with local talent. In preparation for the event, Lin’s team collected more than 160 resumes that were subsequently distributed to participating startups.

Lin notes that applicants were highly motivated during the event and in general expressed a “positive outlook.” As a result of this networking opportunity, over 70% of the attendees were invited to further interviews.

Partners, not just employees

For Deepblu founder Brad Chen, startups offer an excellent environment for ambitious talent. Says Chen, "in a startup, you have to be passionate and willing to challenge yourself.” He hopes that in the future, colleagues and companies will not only care about themselves, but grow together through shared projects. For Chen, identifying the philosophy of prospective partners is of utmost importance.

Codementor’s founder Liu Weiting stresses that Taiwanese engineers already tend to set their eyes on the international market, pointing out that "despite growing up in Taiwan, many are eager to go abroad as exchange students, with some even adding an “international outlook” column to their CVs."

Although Liu’s company’s headquarters are in Taiwan, they return to the recruitment platform’s Silicon Valley branch annually for a month to connect with investors. For engineers, Liu emphasizes, access to new challenges and an opportunity for personal development is crucial. Joining Codementor’s Silicon Valley team, for instance, would be an excellent chance.

HiHedge, which is currently cooperating with an accelerator in Singapore, has also set their eyes on motivated young graduates for their planned R&D headquarters in Taiwan. "In the field of AI, the technology is evolving so quickly that candidates with more than four or five years working experience could already be out of the loop," says the company’s founder Chia-chi Ku.

Taiwan’s young workforce is thus an ideal fit thanks to being highly skilled and up to date in regard to the latest AI technologies.

While the popularity of engineering in Taiwan has led to a wealth of talent, a look at the job market reveals plenty of demand that will only grew in the future. With many startups currently in the seeding stage, and closer cooperation with Hong Kong’s vibrant startup scene being secured amidst the finalization of the Innovation Technology Venture Fund (ITVF), prospects for Taiwanese engineers are extremely positive. Be it at home or abroad, they can be expected to make an impact.