Do companies in Singapore need more tech talent? Source: Shutterstock

Do companies in Singapore need more tech talent? Source: Shutterstock

Robert Half Chief sees demand for tech talent soar in Singapore

SINGAPORE understands the need to import talent.

For more than a decade, the country has been one of the most attractive destinations for high skilled talent looking to work overseas — and although the government has been closely watching its visa issuances, the country’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore understand that demand for tech talent is still high.

Hence, they’ve announced the Tech@SG program which aims to expedite the visa process for talent skilled in specific areas of technology.

“Our high-growth companies with technology needs will benefit from the expertise that global tech talent can bring. This is especially so for tech start-ups that require the resources to strengthen their tech capabilities and scale up more quickly,” Enterprise Singapore Assistant CEO Edwin Chow said.

To better understand the talent gap that companies in Singapore face, Tech Wire Asia spoke to Robert Half Singapore MD Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard.

“Recruiting within the fields of AI, cyber-security, and digital transformation is becoming increasingly competitive in Singapore as more companies are competing for a limited talent pool.

“Indeed, according to a survey independently commissioned by Robert Half, 84 percent of Singaporean CIOs say it is challenging to find qualified technology staff.”

The most “in-demand” jobs are analytical and data-driven in nature, according to the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide.

As awareness of cyber-security threats continues to rise alongside the introduction of new regulatory processes to combat these threats, there is a growing trend towards enhancing the ‘cyber-hygiene’ among businesses.

This is resulting in greater demand in the fields of cybersecurity, technology risk, and RegTech to comply with regulations and safeguard organizations against external risks.

In addition, the demand for data scientists has grown in line with the growth of big data, as companies seek talented data scientists with well-developed analytical skills, as well as business acumen.

Project managers also seem to have taken on a crucial role in leading and implementing short to medium-term IT projects.

Finally, software developers are a key staple of any organization’s futureproofing as businesses adapt their software to the changing needs of their customers.

“In a skills-short market where organizations are navigating growth in the digital era, securing skilled candidates is challenging when supply does not match market demand.”

Therefore, Imbert-Bouchard believes, while experienced professionals are in demand, companies are also looking to hire mid- and entry-level IT staff to further invest in professional development and upskilling – especially for the entry-level professionals – in order to meet current demand and drive future development.

Also, the Robert Half MD feels that efforts are being made to drive a future generation into the IT field, upskill the entry-level workforce, and reskill senior IT professionals with the aim of keeping workers at the forefront of technical advancements.

“According to a recent survey, promoting a career in IT to millennials is cited as the top initiative to alleviate skills shortages in IT, followed by increased in-house training of existing IT staff in more senior roles.”

The Singaporean government is also proactively working to train local talent, Imbert-Bouchard pointed out.

“Initiatives like the TechSkills Accelerator – part of the SkillsFuture program – or the newly announced Tech@SG pilot program have been developed to cultivate a workforce of technically skilled and digitally agile candidates that can alleviate skill shortages and support digital transformation nationwide.”

Imbert-Bouchard believes that the tech talent gap in Singapore is still huge, but new efforts are definitely expected to help bridge it and provide better support to companies pursuing digital transformation projects.