Buzz from the Devex Career Forum in Manila

Devex Editor Rolf Rosenkranz with David Sutherland, chair of the International Care Ministries during an on-site interview at the Devex Career Forum 2014. Photo by: Wilson Q. Tan/Devex

The increasing appetite of donors and international development organizations to strike up local partnerships has added an interesting but challenging dimension to recruiting and job hunting. For recruiters, the big question is how to find a good pool of local candidates with the expertise and experience they need and at the same time possess an international perspective; for local experts, how to gain access to job opportunities that in the past would normally “be reserved” to expatriates.

For the first time, Devex is bringing its flagship career forum to Manila. The event is designed to gather together recruiters from leading development organizations and technical experts who want to gain practical advice for their career development.

For those who won’t be able to attend the Devex Career Forum in Manila, no worries — Devex will report about the buzz from the event. Stay tuned to this page.

1:00 — 2:00 PM UTC: Keep current: Finding your place in the next wave of global development. Photo by: Devex

1:00 PM UTC: International organizations are engaged in a talent war for the best and brightest local staff in Asia. Participants at Devex’s first Careers Forum in Manila stressed how top international organizations like RTI or Engility are hiring less and less expats, but a UNICEF recruiter said they are still necessary in some senior positions, especially in challenging environments like the post-typhoon Philippines.

READ: The local talent war is on in Asia-Pacific

“Expertise will still be needed, but it will be increasingly local... and that is what development is all about.”

— David Spiro, RTI International’s Asia regional office director
2:30 — 3:30 PM UTC: A special breakout session. Photo by: TANZICT Project / CC BY-NC-SA

3:00 PM UTC: Career opportunities for innovators are “out there,” according to Andrew Baird, program area director for workforce and economic opportunities at RTI International. He mentioned making a search of U.S. federal government solicitations, and the results page showed more than 400 opportunities with the term “innovation” and about half of those actually require innovation-related professional services.

“Innovation is not a buzzword — it is an imperative.”

— Earl Valencia, president and founder of IdeaSpace
3:45 — 4:45 PM UTC: A special breakout session. Photo by: Devex

4:00 PM UTC: Shana Montesol Johnson, executive and career coach behind Development Crossroads, pointed out that those who feel uncomfortable with networking — often also the ones who think networking is "yuck," one of the words that came up when she asked the audience to write down words that come to mind when they think of "networking — could reframe the way they think about networking and connect with people in ways that are authentic to them. Attending lectures, writing guest blog posts and having one-on-one lunches are just a few ways people could network outside of an official networking event.

Johnson also noted that the goal of a brief introduction or an elevator pitch — another phrase that usually makes people feel uncomfortable because of its sales undertones — should be to open a conversation, and not necessarily “sell” oneself for a job.

Participants got the chance to practice Johnson's tips during the session as a way to prepare for the networking reception to be held after. At the end of the session, Johnson held a raffle for a free one-on-one coaching session with her.

Stay tuned to this page, read more on our Storify page and tweet #DevexForum!

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