How An Australian Climbed The Nordic Corporate Ladder: Interview With Chee Yang

Updated: Mar 13

At Skillfugees, our goals include connecting with and highlighting not just companies walking the culturally diverse hiring walk, but also international professionals.

We had a conversation with Chee Yang, who started his career at EY in Australia as an intern in Tax Consulting and made his way up the ladder at one of the Nordic regions’ largest listed telecommunications companies, Tele2 as their Finance Project Manager.

Chee Yang has had the opportunity to live in more countries than one.

I was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and moved to Australia when I was 4. So, I’ve spent the majority of my life in Australia as an Australian Citizen. I’ve lived in Sweden for the last 5 years and finally, I’m a Permanent Resident. Now, I’m currently back in Australia spending quality time with my family.”

His professional background is an interesting journey of how he started at the bottom and is making his way up the corporate ladder. 

I started my career at EY Sydney, Australia in Tax Consulting as part of their Summer Internship program. I then continued to work as an Intern in Tax Consulting part-time during my final year of university. I then started as a Graduate in Audit within the Real Estate, Hospitality, and Construction sector at EY Sydney concurrently whilst completing my Chartered Accountants (CA) qualification in my early years as an Auditor. I left EY as a Senior Accountant after spending nearly 4 years there.”

Isn’t that impressive? There’s more, however, around this time, Chee decided to take a well-deserved career break to travel the world! 

After I returned to Australia I took the role as a Financial / Management Accountant at one of Australia’s largest diversified property groups, Stockland.” 

Looks like the travel bug bit Chee, because now he decided to make a move to Sweden to experience living and working abroad. 

I returned to EY in Audit, also within the Real Estate, Hospitality, and Construction sector in their Stockholm office.” 

He worked here as their Audit Manager for nearly two and a half years. 

“My next move was to one of the Nordic regions’ largest listed telecommunications companies, Tele2 where I worked as a Finance Project Manager implementing a new accounting standard across the listed organization.”

The core values at Tele2 Sweden according to Chee are:

Fearless - Dare to be unconventional. Make clear prioritizations. Execute fast.

Flexible - The world and our customers are constantly changing. So must we.

Open - Have no prestige and be honest with the facts. Good and bad.

Reliable - We deliver on our promises both to customers and colleagues.

Cost-efficient - Keep it simple. Keep it smart. Focus on things that bring value.

Chee has a positive slant towards diversity at a workplace. As an immigrant himself, he happens to be the walking, talking proof of it.  “I definitely believe diversity in the workplace is an asset. Organizations that don’t embrace diversity will struggle to stay competitive in an environment of disruption and innovation in today’s business / economy.”

According to Chee, a study by EY concluded that there’s a direct correlation between diversity in the workforce and corporate performance. 

“The study goes on to indicate that geographical distribution and cross-disciplinary focus are also important in addition to diversity. Diversity has to be managed appropriately in order to achieve the right results (i.e. “teams that possess three broad characteristics are more likely to achieve the high performance for which companies are striving: shared vision, the right mix, and commitment to quality and results).”

Chee also shares that a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial for any company that wants to attract and retain top talent.

“International professionals bring diversity from their different cultural and professional backgrounds. They bring a different perspective and add value by challenging the existing domestic work culture with their fresh perspective both from a cultural aspect and also a business process / problem solving perspective.”

Chee shares with us what he’s experienced at first hand. 

“There could be that initial challenge as an immigrant coming into a different work culture in a different country. But once I got over this, I felt I was able to add value to the organizations I worked for in Sweden. According to my Swedish colleagues, I brought this fresh perspective that they perhaps were not expecting.

We asked Chee if he had the opportunity to tap into the services of a Recruitment Company like Skillfugees, would it have helped him in some way?

“I really believe Skillfugees fills an important gap in the market in terms of integrating immigrants into the local work environment and culture. There is always this concern about the ability of immigrants to succeed in the local environment due to their varied backgrounds and the general fear of the “unknown” from employers” 

Chee shares that when he first arrived in Sweden as an immigrant, and even though he came from a first world country, with what he believed to be a decent education and solid work experience, he struggled. 

“I struggled to find a job for many months and I didn't understand why. I wasn’t getting the appropriate responses from the local companies/ roles I applied for and in some cases, I got no response at all.”

“That being said, after working in the Swedish environment for a few years, I definitely found it a lot easier to land my next job as compared to when I first moved to Sweden. I guess it helped that at that stage, I had already demonstrated work experience working in the Swedish environment. 

Chee believes that if we at Skillfugees can fill this insecurity local employers have with respect to immigrants’ experience in the local work environment, it would benefit both, the skilled immigrants and the companies in the local ecosystem looking to build a culturally diverse team. 

24 views0 comments