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The Role of Fate in Leading Your Career Path

Chan Yung Phang leads SHL’s professional services team in China. In this blog he shares his experience on the role of fate in shaping his career path.


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I first heard of SHL years before I worked for the organization in Asia. While studying in the UK for my two master’s degrees in psychology, I heard frequent references to the company in my reading and lectures. SHL kept on coming up, whether it was its psychometric tools being mentioned in occupational psychology literature or discovering that various renowned psychologists had been involved with SHL over the years.

Fate seemed determined to bring me and SHL together. After graduating, I moved back to my native Malaysia and applied for a job I saw advertised working in SHL’s Singapore office. At first, I heard nothing back, but then during a holiday in Singapore, I received an email from SHL’s HR department asking if I could come for an interview. It seemed pre-destined, so I went straight out and bought a suit. I went to the interview the next day and a week later I was offered the job.

I spent four years with SHL in Singapore before I was lured away by a job offer with an executive search firm. But even as I was saying goodbye to my SHL colleagues, I had a suspicion I would back.

Nowhere else does assessment like SHL. It is focused, very scientific, maybe even a bit nerdy. But that is what attracts a lot of people to the organization. As consultants, we are motivated by knowing that what we do is technically sound and ringfenced by serious research—our confidence is rooted in science.

Nowhere else does assessment like SHL. It is focused, very scientific, maybe even a bit nerdy. But that is what attracts a lot of people to the organization.

Two years later, when I was alerted to a senior role with SHL’s professional services team in Shanghai, I did not hesitate to apply. It did not take much to decide to rejoin the business. When I arrived in China, mentally I felt I had never left SHL. It felt familiar, even though I was working with a different team in a different country.

I now lead SHL’s professional services team across China, with much of my working life taken up with travel between offices and cities, delivering projects, supporting and developing staff, implementing training, and running assessment centers. It seems overwhelming, but I feel that time on the road is necessary in my role as a leader.

Being a manager, you need to know what is happening on the ground and in the market. Leading a team means I have to think on a larger scale now—how can I engage and motivate them? Have I set up the system so they can learn and thrive? Am I doing a good enough job for them? —every year, I think about what I can do differently to build with pride on the success we have had before.

If you are an occupational psychologist, SHL is the ideal place to deepen your experience and apply your expertise. It is a strong brand in our profession with products based on science and rigor.

Look out for your next career opportunity at our SHL’s Career Page!

headshot chan yung phang


Chan Yung Phang

Chan has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology. He began his SHL career working as a consultant in its Singapore office, then worked for two years consulting at an international executive search firm in Singapore. He returned to SHL in 2017, joining its professional services team in China, which he now leads.

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