Meet Jennifer, our new Digital Project Management Consultant in Singapore


Name: Jennifer Norman

Sector you recruit for: Digital Project Management

What were you doing prior to joining NAKAMA? Before Recruitment, I was working in the Advertising industry for about 4 years in total. The latter 2 years, I was an account manager on a global account for one of the worlds biggest airlines. There was quite a bit of travelling involved to and from the Middle East, Qatar where the clients HO was located. This was an experience in itself, discovering the culture and the work environment. My longest stint in Qatar was for 2 months, which really enabled me to dive into the work and living culture.  I worked in a very motivated, driven and crazy agency where the hours were plentiful and the work did not stop! A learning curve especially with it being my first role in Asia, enabled me to grow as a person and professionally, getting to know the industry inside and out!

Why did you choose to enter Recruitment? I love to work with people, establishing relationships, and the industry background aspect enticed me initially to try something new and after a few chats with certain people I was game for the new challenge.

What are you known for professionally? I would say I’m extremely organised. Some people would say I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I’m always on time, I hate being late!

Where can we find you when you’re not working? When I’m not working, and I’m not hanging out with my friends, you can find me either at at the gym or playing Gaelic football with people from around the glob and obviously the Irish community in Singapore!

What would be impossible for you to give up? Chocolate, hands down. I love Irish Cadbury chocolate!

What gadget can you not live without? Its not really a gadget but the Spotify app on my phone! I like to make my own playlist depending on my mood. I love to listen to music.

Do you have any special talents? No. Unfortunately I can’t touch my nose with my tongue! (like Nellie!!!)

What do you love about working in Singapore? I love the fact that every day (almost ) is sunny and you can leave the house without a coat! I love working with people from all walks of life and all over the world – its great to be able to build your network.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in Singapore? It may not be the coolest thing but the most fun I have had in Singapore has been a boat party around the island for my birthday!

What’s been your favourite thing about working at Nakama in your first week? Getting to know everyone in the office – fun and dynamic environment!

Jennifer is based in our NAKAMA Singapore office. She can be reached on +65 83714641 or


Meet Shuddha, our new Social Media Consultant in Hong Kong


Name/Title: Shuddha Dutta, Consultant

Sector you recruit for: Social Media and Content

What are you known for professionally?  I’m known to be very organised and I don’t really get stressed easily. I can remain absolutely calm under stressful situations, which I think is a valuable quality!

Where can we find you when you’re not working? I love the outdoors and I also enjoy photography. So when I’m not at work, I’m on a beach or hiking, as long as it looks nice and I can take pictures, that’s where you will find me.

Any secret/special talents? It’s not a secret, but I cook fairly well, especially Indian dishes such as biryani! I also love taking photographs, at the risk of sounding immodest, I take pretty good pictures!

What is your social media channel of choice? Instagram due to my photography hobby! I love taking and also looking at other photos.

What’s been your favourite thing about working at Nakama so far? People are friendly and helpful and I’ve really enjoyed that. They’ve made it really easy to settle in for me.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in HK? I just saw the last races of the season, which was a cool experience for me!

What do you love about working in recruitment? The opportunity to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds – culturally and professionally.

Shuddha is based in our NAKAMA Hong Kong office and can be reached on m: +852 94053120 or

Creating a high performance culture.

At the recent Vivid talks in Sydney I had the privilege of listening to a variety of industry experts talk about a range of topics, from the multi generation work forces that employers are now dealing with to leadership, C21 talent and culture. Speakers ranged from the engaging Dr Fiona Kerr, Paul D’Arcy and Rahaf Hafoish, to name a few. The emphasis on most talks that day was around leadership, change and culture going hand in hand.

This struck a huge cord with me especially, based on what we are doing at Nakama and being able to observe many of the organisations we work with. For our clients and for us, finding good talent is key and the word culture gets used a great deal. What makes a great culture? How do some organisations quickly align with a common set of practices while others don’t? Being a multi geographical organisation, how do we continue to coordinate and integrate efforts globally? We are well on the way to setting clear values, expectations and processes, but how does any organisation prevent them from falling behind, or in some cases, operating behind the curve every step of the way.

Leadership within an organisation is the driver for culture. What interests me is how and why some organisations and leaders are able to achieve significant and lasting performance that catapults them ahead of the competition (or falls flat). What is the criteria for success vs. failure?

One of our training partners has continued to do great work with us on what defines our Nakama culture. Most of you will remember the breakout session, looking at how we define culture as “the way things get done around here.” This drives behaviour and ultimately performance. If a business, no matter how large or small, is able to define and set very clear and aligned values and processes, it has been proven that it will consistently outperform those that cannot. That does not mean that we should not look to evolve. One of the take home points for any leadership group is that you need to understand what you need to do to stay relevant – when to pivot according to the environment you operate in.

So what does a business and leadership team in today’s environment need to deliver high performance? There are numerous opinions on this. The 4 that resonate the most with me are:

  1. We must understand that we don’t work the way we used to and that we need to lead and manage differently. The workplace is changing and that includes traditional business models. We are now in a commercial environment where adoptive leadership is increasingly important. Agile workplaces are quicker to grasp this than traditional business models.
  1. Businesses and leaders within must have the ability to identify and to let go of the existing behaviours and practices that are no longer contributing to success. Getting people to acknowledge and understand that certain ways of doing things are no longer effective and actually getting them to change is a challenge all businesses face. Businesses that get this right take the time to change behaviours that are no longer supporting the desired goals. A common failure is that management dictate change and this in nearly all cases leads to failure. It is a big deal for people to be comfortable with giving up the way they’ve always done things. Some take it as what they’ve been doing all along was wrong.  Fear is a huge factor: “I might not be able to succeed if asked to do things differently!” Most importantly, leaders need to be role models for the behaviour and expectations, as if they don’t, then nothing will change.
  1. The ability to include all relevant stakeholders in the conversation is key. You cannot build a culture that is not centred on a collective concept. Leadership within an organisation has a huge responsibility for developing and demonstrating the culture, however it is not all down to them. Stakeholder input is key and if you have an environment that develops trusting relationships then you have a much stronger chance of the collective contributing to, and creating, the culture.
  1. Last but not least, everyone needs to be able to take a long hard look in the mirror. We operate in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and the speed of business and change is moving faster than ever before. If you cannot take stock, pause for a moment to think and answer the simple or difficult questions, then you run the risk of continuing to do things exactly the way you always have. The challenges that businesses face now have changed and evolved over time, just as the culture of an organisation needs to. If you are able to pause then you are going to be far better positioned as an individual or organisation to identify the need to change or not, in order to keep pace with the market and drive results.

Leadership within organisations needs to navigate and change or overcome deeply rooted assumptions and behaviours within the environment that are preventing success. This can only happen if you are willing to take a long hard look in the mirror, ask the difficult questions and dig deep into what needs to change. That is the only way you can encourage people to let go of the traditional behaviours that, in many cases, no longer serve the purpose and goals of the organisation.

Rob Sheffield is Nakama’s APAC CEO and is based in Sydney.

Meet our new NAKAMA Consultant

Get to know Sarah, our new Consultant in Sydney!
Sarah King
Recruitment Consultant
Areas you recruit for: Sales, Marketing & PR
What are you known for professionally? Networking, Business Development and all round opportunist.
What do you have a knack for? Networking, Assertiveness & Creating Sales….So a psychometric test recently told me.
What would be impossible for you to give up? Blow Dries – The bigger your hair the closer you are to God.
Where can we find you when you aren’t working? Being a bedroom DJ, looking to headline in the kitchen later this year….Or of course having a Blow Dry.
What gadget could you not live without? Does a hair dryer count as a gadget?
What do you love about living/working in Sydney? London is hard to beat as it is undoubtably one of the best cities in the world…BUT you can’t go for an afterwork surf, coastal run, see dolphins or witness a shark alarm.

Sarah is based in our Sydney office. She can be reached on her mobile m: +61 (0) 412 277 135 or

Meet our new NAKAMA Consultant

Get to know Martyn, our new Consultant in Melbourne!

Martyn Tomczuk

Name: Martyn Tomczuk

Title: Recruitment Consultant

Sector you recruit for: Technology

What are you known for professionally? Customer service and putting my client/ talent needs before anything else.

Where can we find you when you’re not working? I’d like to think in the gym.

What would be impossible for you to give up? COFFEE!

Any secret/special talents? Coffee Connoisseur. I can tell you all about it.

What is your favourite app? Spotify or Instagram. Could never decide between the two.

Why do you love working in Melbourne? I love how it’s different from street to street and suburb to suburb. You can always find something to do, even when the 4 seasons happen in a  day.

Follow Martyn on LinkedIn or if you’d like to chat with him about a role or sourcing your team, email or call +61 (0) 499 248

Executive demand growing in buoyant digital industry

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Digital hiring activity is strong overall, but small shifts, such as growth in dedicated C-suite roles, are opening even more opportunities for recruiters, say specialists.

Slade Executive Recruitment digital practice manager Elizabeth Ebeli said the most growth in digital hiring this year is happening at an executive level.

“We are seeing a greater demand for heads of digital, and even roles with unique titles such as chief content officers, or… chief marketing officers now with digital expertise, and the big one being the emergence of chief digital officers, or CDOs. So more and more companies are recognising the importance of having a C-suite with a digital handle as well,” she told Shortlist.

“They’re recognising, as businesses digitally transform, the importance of having not just digital strategists in the office for an external purpose but also from an internal purpose as well: ‘how do we better improve and evolve our business?'”

Employers are still hesitant to recruit digital natives into leadership roles, however, said Ebeli.

“These organisations will be steamrolled by the digital tsunami if they don’t bring on board some of the best digital heads and upskill all their staff in digital capabilities,” she said.

Digital hiring activity is also shifting towards “micro specialisations”, such as digital analytics and mobile developers and designers, Ebeli said.

“[There’s] slightly lower demand in some areas of… user experience and user interface roles, only because they were very popular when digital was first emerging but now they’re really deep-diving into the micro specialisations. So those UX and UI roles are breaking up even further and into these areas where design and development is actually focused on the different elements, whether it’s Ruby on Rails [or] whether it’s JAVA PHP.”

Asia-Pacific CEO Rob Sheffield said Nakama Global’s local placement rate for the first four months of 2015 is 45–50% up on this time last year.

“It’s busy and all indicators point to this year being, from a hiring activity perspective, more robust than last year,” he said.

Clients’ requirements are becoming more sophisticated, however, which is driving particularly strong demand for big data and data mining skills, said Sheffield.

“Clients that were perhaps less technology and digitally-savvy or sophisticated [are] wanting to build that function into their organisations,” he said.

Another big trend driving hiring is the increased focus on automation and innovation, he said.

“Clients [are] going through large-scale digital change, hiring internal teams across the analytics, programmatics and program-management piece. [That] is considerably higher than it was,” he said.

New competitive forces coming into the market will only increase the spotlight on digital, Sheffield added.

“So, Amazon launching in Australia – you’ve got supply chain and logistic businesses and retail businesses, like the Iconic and [Australia] Post, who will be looking at that going, ‘how do we compete against the global market leader like that? And what’s our digital strategy?'” he said by way of example.

Recruiter competition increasing

A growing number of small recruitment companies entering the digital field has also put some pressure on margins, said Talent head of digital, Andrew Donald.

Often these are “one-man band or a two-man band” operations that have much lower overheads, so they can afford to compete on price, he said.

“There’s a lot of players that are reducing their margins to get the work but I think those are the organisations that don’t have the true relationships and the understanding of the market because they’re new players to it, so they have to lower their rates to get into it, as opposed to people that have those long-lasting relationships,” he said.

“So, for an example, I won’t work anything below 15%. That’s the line in the sand for me and usually I try and work higher than that.”

For employers, however, it’s a case of “you pay for what you get”, Donald warned.

“You get a lot of organisations where they’ll go out and they’ll have a meeting and they’ll go, ‘we’ve got X amount of work… [and] we’re going to go on price’. So they’ll go with a cheaper agency. The cheaper agency’s not always the best option. Sometimes they’ll tender, they’ll come back, they’ll go, ‘look, we’re still looking. The agency that we decided to work with at X% hasn’t supplied’.”

Temp driving employment growth

Job ad figures from labour market analyst HRO2 Research show hiring levels in April were 6.21 percentage points higher than the same time last year.

Demand for temps and contractors is particularly strong, surging 12.99pp since December and 25.95pp over the year to April.

Permanent hiring levels, however, are flat on this time last year.

Digital Job Index

London MD, Paul Goodship speaks to Recruitment Grapevine

Screen shot 2015-03-27 at 15.47.53

Our London MD, Paul Goodship recently interviewed with Recruitment Grapevine on hiring recruiters from competitors and the importance of developing & training of your own in-house talent. Read more by following this link.