KBTG Vietnam spearheads gender inclusivity in technology

December 21, 2023 | 12:14
(0) user say
In the rapidly evolving, male-dominated technology industry, KBTG Vietnam – the local technology arm of KASIKORNBANK (KBank), one of Thailand's leading commercial banks – stands out not just for its technological innovations but also for fostering a culture of female empowerment and leadership.

A favourable environment creates conditions for development

Cao Ngoc Hoang Van, a software engineer, and Pham Thi Thu Suong, an advanced software engineer at KBTG, are testaments to this progressive approach.

Van's foray into fintech at KBTG was met with the dual challenges of keeping pace with rapid technological evolution and thriving in a competitive corporate environment. "Navigating through the demands for high performance and innovation at KBTG has been both challenging and a significant growth driver," Van shared.

Van explained how the organisational structure at KBTG is uniquely designed to foster teamwork and individual growth. "In our team at KBTG, which consists of over 30 people, we are organised into smaller units of about 5-6 members each, focusing on different projects," she said.

Highlighting the flexibility in project assignments, she added, "An interesting aspect of our work culture is the flexibility it offers. If I find another project more intriguing and suitable while working on one, I can easily discuss it with my manager for a swift and reasonable adjustment, all without the need for extensive approval layers or paperwork."

Van continued, "The managers here are keen on ensuring team members learn and grow in the most conducive environments. The talent pool at KBTG is remarkable, with many skilled individuals. The culture of paying it forward and coaching is a standout feature here. The buddy programme is specifically designed to foster knowledge sharing between experienced and less experienced team members."

"Having been part of the team for about two months, I've found that my colleagues are incredibly supportive and instructive, offering guidance without any reservations or discrimination against new members."

"The significant presence of female leaders in key positions at KBTG is particularly inspiring. It demonstrates that a technology-centric environment can maintain gender diversity, which encourages female developers like myself to fully commit to our work," Van continued.

"Seeing women in leadership roles here at KBTG is not only inspiring but also a testament to the company's commitment to gender equality," she stated, appreciating the merit-based progression system that promotes fairness and opportunity.

KBTG Vietnam spearheads gender inclusivity in technology
Cao Ngoc Hoang Van, a software engineer at KBTG Vietnam

Parallel to Van's experiences, Suong's journey at KBTG encapsulates the triumphs of a female leader in tech. Leading a team for KBank Vietnam's internet banking app, Suong embraced the demanding project as an opportunity to deepen her expertise and explore new technological horizons.

"The project’s high standards and complex requirements have been a motivating challenge," Suong explained.

She reflected on the gender dynamics in the tech field, recognising the underrepresentation and biases but remaining determined to break these barriers.

"My journey has been about overcoming challenges and serving as a role model for other women in tech," she asserted. Suong also emphasised the importance of work-life balance, a key aspect of KBTG's supportive culture.

"KBTG's respect for personal time allows me to maintain a healthy balance between my professional and personal life, a rare attribute in this industry," she noted.

The company’s commitment to continuous learning, evident through various workshops and training sessions, keeps the team at the forefront of technological advancements.

"A distinctive feature here, setting KBTG apart from other companies, is the transparent career roadmap provided to each employee. Career advancement at KBTG is entirely performance-based, ensuring a fair and meritocratic system for all,” she added.

KBTG Vietnam spearheads gender inclusivity in technology
Pham Thi Thu Suong, an advanced software engineer at KBTG Vietnam

This approach, as Van points out, not only promotes fairness but also motivates employees to perform at their best consistently.

Encouraging women to demonstrate their capabilities

The two talented female engineers also share their perspectives on the pathways to success and empowerment in a field traditionally dominated by men.

Suong said, “Recognising your value and capabilities is crucial. It’s vital for female engineers to understand their strengths and areas for growth. Coupled with an unyielding spirit of learning and curiosity, this self-awareness forms the bedrock of a successful career in technology.”

"It’s equally important to stand up for yourself. In a field where women can be outnumbered or overlooked, asserting your ideas and contributions is essential. This doesn’t just mean speaking up in meetings; it's about actively seeking opportunities, taking on challenging projects, and making your presence known," Suong advised.

The choice of workplace plays a pivotal role in career trajectory. Finding an environment that nurtures and allows for equitable learning and advancement is paramount. A supportive workplace is not just about having a good team or a fancy office. It’s about the culture of the organisation. At KBTG, the culture promotes diversity and offers robust mentorship and growth opportunities, which are crucial factors that significantly influence one’s ability to thrive.

Van also highlighted the importance of mentorship and networking, “Seek mentors, both male and female, who can guide you through the industry's intricacies. Networking within and outside your organisation can open doors to new opportunities and insights. It’s about building a support system that encourages and challenges you.”

Both engineers also acknowledge the positive impact of the cultural similarities between Thailand and Vietnam on their professional experiences at KBTG. "The shared cultural values have made the transition smoother and fostered a friendly yet professional environment," Van commented.

Suong noted, "These similarities enhance our coaching methods and team dynamics, making it easier to collaborate and learn from each other."

KBTG Vietnam spearheads gender inclusivity in technology
Teamwork is a crucial factor that helps colleagues bond and understand each other better

In a sector traditionally skewed towards male dominance, KBTG is forging a new paradigm, highlighted by the achievements of female engineers like Van and Suong.

At KBTG, the success stories of female engineers are not just exceptional achievements. They're a reflection of the firm’s progressive approach in a traditionally male-dominated tech industry. By placing talented women in roles where they can excel and lead, KBTG is not just advancing its operational goals, but also championing a more inclusive and diverse technological environment.

KBTG has been honoured as the Best Company to Work For in Asia for four consecutive years, an award voted for by HR Asia, which is perhaps the most compelling evidence of KBTG's commitment to creating an internationally standardised, professional working environment that remains friendly and comfortable.

KBank in Ho Chi Minh City increases capital to over $285 million KBank in Ho Chi Minh City increases capital to over $285 million

The KBank branch in Ho Chi Minh City has announced that it has received approval from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to increase its capital by more than 2.5 times, from $80 million to $285 million.

Competition heats up for acquisition of Home Credit Vietnam Competition heats up for acquisition of Home Credit Vietnam

KBank, KB Kookmin, SCB X are shortlisted into the next round of acquisition of Home Credit Vietnam, one of the leading consumer finance companies in the Vietnamese market.

By Luu Huong

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional