From Brazil to the Philippines
Silvia Quirino joined Robert Walters in 2011, following almost five years of working in finance. After six years working in our São Paulo office, Silvia joined our Philippines team. We asked Silvia to share why she made the move and what it’s like to work in our Manila office.
Why did you decide to move internationally?
I was looking for new ways to challenge myself in my recruitment career when Kevin Gibson, the CEO of Latin America Robert Walters, recommended that I explore working at other Robert Walters offices overseas. Having worked in various offices himself, he encouraged me to look for a career abroad to gain a variety of experiences.
I loved the idea as recruitment work changes based on the market and the people, and going overseas would help me expand my perspectives.
What attracted you to working in the Philippines?
I spoke with people from several different offices and they were all great, but the opportunity at Robert Walters Philippines really stood out me. I had heard that the economy in the Philippines was rapidly growing with an influx of multinational corporations and foreign companies and was excited by the number of learning opportunities available there.
How did Robert Walters support your move abroad?
Robert Walters was incredibly supportive throughout the entire process. When I was exploring my options, I was able to connect with various country heads to find out more about each office and position.
After showing strong interest in the Manila office, I was invited to visit the Philippines with my husband so we could make a more informed decision. Toby Fowlston, the CEO of Robert Walters Asia Pacific, emphasised the importance of making the decision as a couple and I really appreciated that.
I also received a lot of support both before and after my move. The company helped me with my visa application as well as setting up a local bank account and telephone line. In addition, Robert Walters provided me with a month of temporary accommodation in Manila so I would have the chance to learn more about the city before finding a place that suited my needs.
How would you describe the culture in our Philippines office?
The local culture in the Philippines is really friendly and family-oriented and it’s no different at the office. We’re all incredibly ambitious people and we believe that strong teamwork is crucial to us achieving the success we are aiming for. There’s a lot of friendly competition between teams and it spurs us on and keeps us motivated. We are all independent individuals, but, at the same time, we are a family and we help each other grow by sharing information, feedback and encouragement.
How did you find adapting to working in a different market?
Coming to the Philippines has opened my eyes to a different side of recruitment. The candidate market in the Philippines is very competitive, so I’ve had to adapt how I approach my work as a recruitment consultant. For example, I focus more of my efforts on building a strong pipeline of candidates to ensure we can help our clients find the right person quickly.
Additionally, as the Philippines is increasingly becoming a shared services hub, I’ve had to learn about the local market quickly so I can advise hiring managers who may be located overseas and less familiar with the market. It’s challenging, but I enjoy every minute of it.
What advice would you give to someone interested in making the move overseas?
I would encourage people looking for a move to be open-minded throughout the entire process. The first step is to understand what’s missing in your career and what you need to grow. After that, explore all of your options – not only the common big cities, but also the smaller, less popular ones. Talk to people, hear about the opportunities and challenges in each location before making your decision. You may be surprised at what you find.
I never thought I would move to the Philippines but I can see now that it was exactly what I needed to further my career. Since I’ve moved here, I’ve not only been able to rebuild my connections and network, I’ve also been given the opportunity to build up my team. In addition, I qualified for our global incentive weekend trip in Las Vegas. Each year, top performers are rewarded with a trip to a luxurious location. It was a moment I was extremely proud of and I can honestly say it’s been the time of my life here in the Philippines.
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