How effectively is Singapore tackling its tech talent crunch?

We all live in a digital era today and it is clear how technology has assimilated itself in our everyday lives. While the banking sector may not be a pioneer in digital innovation, we are in the midst of experiencing a reshaping of the industry as technology drives this change. This is especially so in Singapore, from the emergence of new digital payment services to robotics and artificial intelligence.

What is propelling this change is down to one key resource – talent. However, the conundrum around tech talent shortage in Singapore is now a rising concern.  


Why are we facing a lack in talent especially within the tech scene?

Singapore is a knowledge-based economy with limited resources. As such, it poses a hurdle to regional and global expansion plans across various industries such as banking, financial institutions, large technology companies, and start-ups amongst many others.

In addition, Singapore’s focus on hitting its goals in transforming into a Smart Nation has led to an escalated demand in areas such as data analytics and cybersecurity. While job vacancies are expected to grow by about 33,400 by 2019, the supply of talent remains worrisome as the competition for tech talent for example, now stems from various sectors across the financial industry and tech scene.


What is Singapore doing to narrow the talent gap?

  • Attracting more Foreign Talent

In 2017, Singapore ranked the best in Asia in attracting and developing talent. It reflects not only its world-class education system but the adaptation and adoption of various skill-sets in this digital era.  The city-state also took 2nd spot, right behind Switzerland, on the Global Talent Competitiveness Index.

In the recent Budget 2018, there were renewing calls to loosen manpower curbs - specifically with the aim of bringing in highly-skilled tech talent to fill roles within data analytics, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

While this may be a viable solution, it could however also be deemed as a short-term solution. The likelihood of relocated talents moving to more attractive locations like the esteemed Silicon Valley remains inviting. Additionally, the tech labour shortage is not only a local challenge but a global problem where the Silicon Valley itself is no exception.

Hence, simultaneously nurturing existing and potential talents here in Singapore would supplement long-term goals.

  • Nurturing existing and potential tech talent

Singapore, being one of the most forward-looking in the area of technology within finance is now looking into various options to fill the gap. This includes the grooming of younger talent. 

Citibank was the first bank in Singapore to launch a series of multifunctional, future compatible skills-based training to provide for the rapidly transforming needs of the financial industry. The programmes covered skillsets of the following:

  • Process/UX design feedback

  • Customer journey design

  • Product suitability

  • Asset liability management

  • Cybersecurity

  • Fraud detection and prevention

This Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF) certified course will provide banking employees the foundational skillsets needed. This ensures that finance and banking specialists remain relevant, yet able to meet the evolving demands of its consumers.

The National University of Singapore, School of Computing is also collaborating with Standard Chartered Bank to tackle pipeline issues within Informatics and technology.

These initiatives would help to build a pipeline of talent as well as prepare the next generation of technology leaders for a career within financial services should they be interested.


What are the tech skills that are in demand?

Reported by LinkedIn, below are 10 tech skills of 2018 that are highly sought after:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing

2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining

3. Middleware and Integration Software

4. Web Architecture and Development Framework

5. User Interface Design

6. Software Revision Control Systems

7. Data Presentation

8. SEO/SEM Marketing

9. Mobile Development

10. Network and Information Security

The above skills are highly transferrable and applicable even within finance as the industry begin to pick up on its tech expertise. Thus, with more companies competing for the same skillsets above, demand for talents who possess them will remain high and salaries will also continue to surge.

However, it is pertinent to note that many of these talent are also looking for other incentives apart from monetary gains. To add on, the tech sector across all industries have been noted to have the highest turnover rates according to LinkedIn reports in 2018. It will thus require a lot more effort for organisations to review their employer benefits to not only attract but retain its employees.


The benefits of partnering with recruitment companies

The industry is undergoing a tremendous amount of change – jobs that exist now were not even in existence 10 to 20 years ago. Here at Huxley, we possess the niche knowledge and a robust understanding of the technological and financial market in Singapore. This has allowed us to guide organisations on their talent strategies and advise candidates on their career options alongside the transferrable skill-sets they may have.

This skills shortage will continue to be a bugbear within the tech and financial space and it requires continuous effort to embrace and keep up with these changes. To stay up to date with the current trends, we’ve also released our latest survey report on how the financial and tech sector in Singapore is looking to evolve, and you can read more about it here. Do also be sure to connect with me or follow us on our LinkedIn page for more updates. 

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