Solving the global skill shortage the smart way

Earlier this year we became the first company to hire a refugee directly through the Talent Beyond Boundaries initiative.

A new year means new beginnings, fresh ambitions and exciting possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead. For some people that might mean a change of job, moving house, finding a hobby or traveling the world.

But for our newest recruit, the new year signals the start of something particularly life changing.

Tarek Mulla is a charismatic young man, and an experienced and talented software engineer.

This week Tarek will join our team in Melbourne, Australia, as a software engineer after impressing us with his personality and CV via remote video interview.

Nothing unusual there.

But Tarek is also a Syrian refugee who’s seen the life he knew destroyed by the ongoing and brutal civil war in Syria.

Since fleeing Syria, he has spent the past several years in neighbouring Lebanon but given the conditions was unable to build a stable life there.

His move to Australia to join our team is a particularly significant one because he’s the first refugee candidate in the world to relocate for work through Talent Beyond Boundaries - an initiative which connects refugees with international job opportunities through engaged employers.

Solving a critical humanitarian and economic need

It’s shocking to realise that there are vast numbers of talented refugees just like Tarek who are stuck in places where they cannot legally work. While at the same time, companies around the globe are experiencing skill shortages - particularly businesses like ours in the IT sector who seek high quality engineers.

With talent shortages expected to affect the future of the world’s largest economies in the coming years, developing new and creative solutions to address these shortages is an economic imperative. It makes perfect sense that the global refugee population should be part of the solution.

By linking refugees with countries and companies that need their skills, Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) is forging a sustainable solution for refugees to rebuild their lives while boosting the global economy. This could be life changing for tens of thousands of refugees and their families, and fundamentally change how the world responds to refugee crises.

Casting a wider net in the search for talent

We began working with TBB ultimately because it’s the right thing and the smart thing to do. We cast a wide net locally when looking for people to join our team. Through the TBB program we’ve been able to include in that net an even wider pool of high quality potential candidates who go through the same recruitment and selection process as any other candidate would.

We began working with Talent Beyond Boundaries ultimately because it's the right thing and the smart thing to do .

With the potential for positive outcomes for both businesses and these individuals, I’m convinced this will become a solution with which organisations will increasingly seek involvement.

Breaking down barriers

I’m proud to say that we’re the first company to hire a refugee directly through the initiative and I want us to be the first of many.

I’m also proud that we have been able to do this for Tarek and hugely grateful to the people from the TBB and Iress teams that have worked tirelessly together to make it happen (with visas to approve, it hasn’t been straightforward or quick).

I'm proud to say that we're the first company to hire a refugee directly through the initiative and I want us to be the first of many.

I’m so confident that this is the right solution to a real problem, that we’re working with TBB to employ other refugees with the right skills in our other offices around the world. I hope we’ll soon be seeing more make the same exciting move that Tarek has.

Changing mindsets and lives

Stories like Tarek’s provide us with a valuable perspective - both on the lives of others and on our own lives. There is more to life than work, but I think it’s a good place to start.

Quite unexpectedly, this initiative has had a profound effect within Iress. It’s brought our team closer together and received wonderful support from our people across the globe. I’m delighted we can take a lead in helping to change both mindsets and lives.

Tarek arrived in Australia last month to a very warm welcome (watch the video from Talent Beyond Boundaries to see his emotional arrival at Melbourne Airport) and we’re looking forward to introducing him at Iress and making him feel at home.