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TransUnion is seeking niche talent to support its expansion from consumer credit data to information solutions

Published on Saturday, 16 Jan 2016

Since the global financial crisis swept the globe in 2008, banks and creditors have relied more heavily on credit agencies to make informed and objective decisions about who they lend money to. 

In light of this trend, global credit agency TransUnion is seeing more demand regionally and locally for its services as clients look for more customised solutions. As such, the company is in full hiring mode to meet this growing need. 

TransUnion Hong Kong has been managing Hong Kong’s consumer credit referencing system since 2003 and holds the records of over five million consumers in the city. In 2015, the company announced its expansion beyond its role as a traditional consumer credit data reporter to become an information solutions provider. It is developing customised data analytics tools for companies and consumers so that they can objectively make credit decisions. 

“The company as a whole is ready to grow beyond [being a] data solution company to becoming a leading risk information solutions provider,” says Lawrence Tsong, TransUnion’s Asia Pacific president. “Asia Pacific, particularly Hong Kong, is one of the major markets for this transformation journey.”

With these new objectives in place, the business is now seeking more manpower. TransUnion intends to hire across its departments, particularly in sales, IT and operations, as it completes a three-year upgrade to its global technology platform that is said to significantly bolster its data analytics capabilities. 

Furthermore, the company also intends to use Hong Kong as a hub for expansion to other markets, such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, bringing its customised and localised service to nearby countries.

“It’s a real transformation journey,” Tsong says. “We need to increase capabilities so, apart from beefing up the existing team members to continue to nurture what we call the organic business, we also need new talent to support the business growth.”

Tsong says that the company’s product team needs to be ramped up, and there is a need for big data analysts, data scientists and decisioning programmers, which, he concedes, is a tough to meet. 

“It’s a real challenge because ‘credit bureau’ is kind of a niche market industry and our sources of talent most probably are coming from multinational banks or leading local banks in Hong Kong where they do in-house analytics and decisioning,” he says. 

As such, the manpower search has been expanded to overseas markets to try and recruit from other countries, such as the US, India and also mainland China. However, finding people with the right fit remains a huge challenge. 

The company is also looking to significantly bolster its product and sales team. Tsong emphasises that the company is seeking candidates with certain qualities and skill sets to take on the role of sales leaders and become the “hunters and farmers” of the the sales management team. One of the key interview questions that candidates are typically asked is to list examples of previous experience in identifying a big customer and creating an opportunity out of it. 

“The hunters … do a lot of cold calls, identifying customers and sales opportunities, so skills like market orientation, being able to identify opportunities, and being able able to map out customer processes are very important to have,” he says. 

Tsong explains that TransUnion’s IT and operations areas are also going to be key areas for hiring as the company’s transformation will require a lot of software and hardware upgrades. 

“Our system operates on the Java platform, and then our decisioning solution and new product solution operates on the .net platform,” he says. “So we have all these IT people who were trained and recruited from the Java technology and we need to recruit people from .net as well to support the platform.” So that’s the kind of shift in terms of technical skills requirement.” Tsong says.  

While new hires are continually needed, Tsong says that they will not rush the process as they are looking for like-minded candidates who understand the company’s objectives.

“TransUnion is a performance-oriented company, so we need to care about the top and bottom lines; expansion needs investment, and investment also needs returns,” Tsong says. “We have a prudent recruitment strategy where the key is quality, not quantity. If the right candidate comes along and deserves more pay than the budget can afford, I would say ‘go for it’ because that person will be an asset to the company.”


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as From top to bottom.

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