September 28, 2019
Remarks by A/DDIR Dannielle Andrews at
the 1st Annual Talent Circulation Alliance Job Fair
September 28, 2019
My good friend Legislator Karen Yu, Industrial Development Bureau Director Lin, NDC Section Chief Liu, All Hands Taiwan Founders John, Danny and Sean, ladies and gentlemen, wu an!
I’m really excited to be here today to help kick off the 1st Annual Talent Circulation Alliance International Job Fair. Our huge thanks go to our fabulous partners All Hands Taiwan who have done all of the work to put together this event. The truth is All Hands Taiwan is doing both Taiwan and all of you a tremendous service to build up their network, host events, and create opportunities. And they are not doing it to make any money, but because they genuinely believe in the cause they are working for. It is very rare to meet such a group of highly-talented yet genuinely altruistic individuals, yet here they are. AIT is thrilled to have them as founding partners of the Talent Circulation Alliance, or TCA. Many years from now, when we look back on all of the great things that will come from TCA, we will largely have them to thank. Can we give them all a round of applause for everything they have done for us?
Just so I can get a feel for who I’m talking to, how many of you are foreigners trying to build their career here in Taiwan? How many of you are Taiwanese and have either worked or studied abroad?
My message for all of you today is simple: jiayou! Taiwan’s future depends on it making the transition to an innovation-based economy. Innovations arises best out of a diverse context. If everybody thinks and acts the same, not much new ever comes about. Each of you brings a unique set of experiences that enrichen the diversity of Taiwan’s workforce. It is from the interaction of these differences that new ways of thinking and doing arise.
Taiwan is also seeking to become a multicultural society. While I know it is a cliché we see on billboards, Taiwan truly is the heart of Asia. Here you find a little bit of China, a little bit of Japan, and little bit of the Pacific Islands, and yes, a little bit of America. All of you are part of Taiwan’s multiculturalism, and helping you succeed is how we help Taiwan’s multicultural experiment to succeed as well.
Earlier this year, AIT launched with the Taiwan Authorities the TCA. The TCA is a public private partnership that has two simple goals: facilitating the circulation of talent between Taiwan and like-minded partners, and cultivating the skills of the talent already here. If Taiwan is going to attract talent to Taiwan, it needs to make it a policy priority to help people like all of you succeed.
But we understand it is very hard. It’s perhaps easy to come here to teach English, but quite hard to find jobs outside of teaching English. Most of the resources are in Chinese, the corporate cultures are different, smaller companies don’t know the administrative processes for hiring foreign workers, etc., etc., etc. It’s very easy to get discouraged.
But I am here to tell you, don’t get discouraged, things are getting better and will continue to get better. Let me explain why.
First, there is a very close relationship between investment and talent flows. In our current knowledge-based economy, investment flows to where there is the most talent. By increasing the skills of the people already here, we make Taiwan a more attractive place for foreign investment, which in turn creates more jobs for the people here. At the same time, talent tends to follow the investment money. If one area is enjoying a significant increase in investment, talented workers will naturally follow. In this way, both investment and talent have an important, self-reinforcing dynamic.
In the last year alone, due in large part to the U.S.-China trade tensions, more than US$18 billion in investment has shifted out of China and back to Taiwan. That represents thousands and thousands of new jobs. Why are companies coming to Taiwan? Because it is a free society that respects the rule of law, and has progressive values, an open market economy, and a deep pool of talented workers. I understand close to 1,200 people have signed up to come to this job fair. Companies are coming to Taiwan for you.
Second, the government here in Taiwan genuinely does understand the problems and they are working hard to fix it. With us here today are three of your closest allies. The National Development Council is working hard to streamline the administrative procedures for bringing in and hiring foreign talent, including their recently launched “gold visa.” The Industrial Development Bureau is our main partner – and indeed sponsor – of the Talent Circulation Alliance, and they are supporting a whole host of programs aimed at talent circulation and cultivation, specifically with respect to internationalization of Taiwan’s workforce and digital transformation of its industry. And Legislator Karen Yu has been your champion in the LY, pushing forward legislation aimed at making it easier to attract and retain foreign talent. She has been an unfailing partner of the startup community, social entrepreneurs, and future women leaders.
Third, you have other allies you might not be aware of: The American Chamber of Commerce is working with the TCA to draft a White Paper aimed at identifying the obstacles to talent circulation and cultivation, and proposing solutions to these obstacles. We invite all of you to active participate in the White Paper process. All Hands Taiwan will be reaching out to you to collect your thoughts and opinions and ideas to help inform the White Paper. Microsoft, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and others are all developing publicly available toolkits to help Taiwan’s talent raise their skillsets. Groups like All Hands Taiwan and StartBoard and UBI Taiwan are all building powerful networks and gathering resources to make your situation easier.
And AIT is doing what it can by building a vast alliance of partners committed to the twin goals of talent circulation and cultivation through the Talent Circulation Alliance. We are working with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the National Development Council, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, the Ministry of Education, the Mainland Affairs Council, the Industrial Technology Research Institute, the Institute for the Information Industry, Taiwan Fulbright, other foreign missions, large corporations, universities, port authorities, you name it, all to help create more talent circulation and cultivation programs. Why are we doing this? Because we want Taiwan to succeed, and for Taiwan to succeed, all of you need to succeed.
So my advice to all of you is simple: keep at it! Never give up. If you can’t find a job, launch your own companies. Taiwan is a truly magical place, and everyone who comes here falls in love. Being able to stay here is hard, but you have friends in all of us who will do what we can to help you along the way.