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Yvonne Tay-Corbett - a Young Gun of New Zealand’s recruitment industry

April 17, 2020

If Yvonne Tay-Corbett has her way, she will leave a lasting legacy in New Zealand’s tech recruitment industry.


She may be one of the younger brigade herself, but the Manager of Technology at Robert Walters Auckland is focused on ensuring the industry does more to help tech graduates coming through the ranks.


Which is why, for the past two years, she has organised a “hackathon” to expose the next generation of top tech talent to potential employers.


Hackathons are events at which talented people come together in teams, usually with others they don’t know or haven’t worked with before, and work on an assigned real-world problem by brainstorming concepts and finding solutions.


They then pitch their ideas and solutions back to potential employers or judging panels.


Despite being regularly used in the tech industry, the hackathons Yvonne organised in 2018 and 2019 were the first for the recruitment industry in New Zealand, and possibly the world.


The programs, which resulted in dozens of graduates finding jobs, saw 28-year-old Yvonne named the 2019 Rising Star at the New Zealand RCSA Awards.



“I first floated the idea of holding hackathons because I believed we weren’t investing in grads,” she says.


“I saw hackathons not as a way of making money but as a way to put something back into the industry.


“I would approach employers and they would say ‘we would love to employ grads but there is so much time involved in recruiting them’, ‘we don’t have any programs in place’, ‘there’s so much paperwork involved’.


“Despite the fact they are the future of the tech industry, we just weren’t investing in them“I said to them ‘if I do this, will you support me and get involved?’.


“They did and it was really cool.”


The daughter of Chinese-Malaysian entrepreneur parents, Yvonne was taught the benefits of having a strong work ethic from a young age.


“Nothing was handed to us as children and as the offspring of a migrant family we had a lot of support, but also high expectations,” she says.


“We also had to learn the New Zealand culture, how things are done, how people work.


“So I was very determined and independent from a young age. Essentially I had to build a life here for myself and stand on my own two feet.”


Yvonne came to the recruitment indus