Virtual Job Fair for IBM Research Africa on Dec 5

The African continent accounts for 14 percent of the world’s population and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With a growth rate expected to average 7 percent annually over the next 20 years, Africa is poised to become a leading source of innovation in a variety of industries. With this growth comes many challenges spanning traffic congestion to the delivery of fresh water.

If you have what it takes to help solve these grand challenges, the IBM Recruiting team invites professors, scientists and qualified university students to participate in a Research Virtual Recruiting Event for several open positions at our new lab in Nairobi, Kenya.  The event will take place on 5 December and you can participate in several ways.

For details visit:



– Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection via Chris Sciacca, IBM Research Communications

Middle East and Africa Inspirational IBMers – Natasha Pillay-Bemath

This is re-published from an IBM series of articles called “MEA Inspirational Colleague Series”.  This series consists of interviews that profile successful female IBM’ers in the Middle East & Africa to demonstrate how global IBM’ers can relocate, live, and work successfully in this quickly emerging market.



Natasha Pillay-Bemath,
IBM Recruitment Leader, South Africa

Natasha is the Recruitment Leader for South Africa. She has over thirteen years of recruitment experience both as an agency Director and an in-house Manager. As a result, Natasha has learned to influence through expertise, embrace challenge, and help IBM’ers succeed, which is why she has been recognized as IBM’s MEA Inspirational Colleague for December, 2012.


1. When did you join IBM Middle East & Africa?

I joined IBM on April 1st 2012.

2. Why did you make the move from agency to in-house recruitment?

I wanted the exposure to a larger global organization, to expand my skill-set, and focus on my growth and development as opposed to spending another decade in local recruitment.

I also wanted to gain entry into a global organization and more importantly, on researching, I fell in love with IBM’s Smarter Planet. I am a “purpose” person and Smarter Planet resonated deeply with me. I felt like IBM would be a great platform for me to contribute towards South Africa and Africa. This is very important to me as I believe in South Africa, Africa, and its people and I believe it is my purpose to play a role in its development and success.

3. What does your role as South African Recruitment Leader entail?

It involves working with the recruitment team to acquire the best talent in the South African market. It also involves positioning IBM South Africa as the employer of choice in the regional employment market.

Recruitment plays a pivotal role to the organization’s performance and success. Indisputably, organizations are only as good as its people and Recruitment is instrumental in securing top talent. The Recruitment team and I are extremely passionate about this, our role and contribution to the South African operation.

4. Have you always lived and worked in South Africa?

Yes, I’ve always lived and worked in South Africa. I’ve lived in Cape Town, Durban, and now Johannesburg.

5. How have you found the experience working in what is widely regarded as a male dominated industry and a male dominated region?

I came from an industry (Agency Recruitment) that is predominately female. However, it’s been an interesting change. IBM South Africa is dedicated to female hiring and development and I’m looking forward to contribute to that. I think recruitment has an important role to play in acquiring female talent.

6. What are your pastimes outside of work?

I love reading books. I’m also lucky enough to have a four year-old son who I love spending time and playing with, which really helps me keep grounded and prevents me from taking life too seriously.

7. Do you have family living with you in South Africa?

I live in Johannesburg with my husband and my son. My parents and wider family live in Durban, which is a six-hour drive away.

8. How do you manage to juggle your demanding role, social life, and family commitments?

I think, at the end of the day, it’s about managing output at IBM. You need to focus on your deliverables, but IBM is flexible about how you do that so you can arrange your schedule accordingly and know that you will only be measured on output. IBM has definitely offered me the flexibility I need.

9. You’re bilingual – speaking both Afrikaans and English. Is this essential for employees considering a move to South Africa?

No, not at all. Its pretty standard that English is the first language so international candidates who are fluent in English won’t have a problem at all.

10. Finally, are there any recommendations you would make to female IBM’ers considering a move to the Middle East or Africa?

I would definitely say it’s the place to be. MEA has the focus, the challenges, and is at the middle of it all. It’s exciting to drive through these challenges and show people how it is done in a growth market. I’m very excited about South Africa, extremely excited about Africa, and know that it’s the place to be for my own growth and development.

South African Imbizo! – IBM South Africa and Its Leadership Team

by Natasha Pillay-Bemath

In this issue:

  • IBM South Africa
  • SALT – South African Leadership Team
  • Recruiting Team Looking for Candidates


IBM South Africa

IBM South Africa, operating since 2008, is a significant contributor to IBM’s MEA (Middle East & Africa) Region. 2012 saw the appointment of Abraham Thomas as Country General Manager. Mr. Thomas has brought with him not only decades of IBM experience, but also an infectious and powerful positive energy that has swept through Team IBM SA.

The team is determined to achieve its 2015 goals to be a stellar contributor for IBM. The African market is a major focus of IBM’s, and South Africa has the potential to be at the forefront of this next IBM venture.

IBM South Africa wordleOur three priorities to reach our full potential are:

  • Develop and grow our people
  • Bring value to our South African clients
  • Build a robust partner ecosystem

On the first priority – to develop and grow our people – we’ve done considerable work in a short time. Events such as Family Day and Heritage Day celebrations have helped to create and develop team bonds and team spirit:

Heritage Day


SALT – South African Leadership Team

SALT – the South African Leadership Team – was launched in mid-August 2012. Initiated by Mr. Thomas, its goal is to gear IBM South Africa for growth through the deliberate development of the Company’s leadership capabilities.

The initial sixty members of SALT were selected from across South Africa to grow their business acumen, actively team with colleagues, and ultimately help lead IBM South Africa to realize our Company and revenue goals. Candidates will graduate next year from this 12-month program, and then a new set of people will be chosen.


Recruiting Team Looking for Candidates

The Recruitment team in South Africa has a significant role to play in IBM South Africa’s growth and success. Our mandate is to proactively seek out South Africans, specifically previously disadvantaged individuals, and to secure them as IBMers. Team members include:

  • Busi Masango – Recruitment Partner for SWG, S&D, Sectors
  • Darryl Devar – Recruitment Partner for STG & GTS
  • Gavin Wood – Recruitment Partner for GBS
  • Natasha Pillay-Bemath – Recruitment Leader South Africa

The team has been actively hunting for candidates who have shown:

  • A track record of top performance.
  • The IBM Values and competencies.
  • A deep, sincere passion to contribute to the South African success story. This is critical.

African landscape w/ IBM logoYou can find our recruiting team on The Greater IBM Connection on LinkedIn.  Please connect with them if you feel you can be a part of our success story. And feel free to refer other South Africans that you believe can contribute the same.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Greetings from South Africa,
The Recruitment Team, South Africa

Returning to IBM – Advisory Software Engineer Heather Hwang

– From

Heather Hwang left IBM in California in 1995. That was a time, she recalls, when young developers were moving around in general, and that there was a lot of peer pressure to get out and try new things. Heather joined Oracle as a developer that same year, and from there built a career in companies ranging in size from very large and established to startup.

Eventually, Heather came across IBM again. She was approached by an IBM recruiter and asked to interview for a suitable role in her field. Heather says now that she jumped at the chance and maintains IBM was always a place she had wanted to return to.

IBM logo in white on blue backgroundThe workplace atmosphere and the culture of respect and fairness was something she hadn’t experienced to the same degree anywhere else. It was also a place where, she felt, you didn’t have to leave the company to experience new things.

“IBM is an ocean,” she says. “It’s a place where opportunities run deep, and the possibility to try new things – even change your career – is always there.”

Heather still feels that if you know what you want, and where you want to take your career, then IBM is the place to make it happen. It’s a place she says where you get treated like an adult, with the support you need to achieve just about anything.

Heather is now working for IBM GCG out of Beijing. “The growth markets are where the action is, and IBM is right at the heart of it.”