Top cyber security trends and jobs in Singapore
The cyber security Singapore market appears to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15% in 2021 and is likely to reach $889 million by the end of 2022. Ensuring Singapore’s stature as one of the world’s leading financial and investment hubs, as well as the security of its financial services and technology sector, the role of cyber security is expected to become even more pronounced moving forward.
As the regulatory, commercial and reputation risk of cyber security issues in Singapore continue to grow, organisations must implement a robust cyber security framework consisting of policies, procedures, and best practices to ensure identification, protection and detection of cyber security threats to adequately respond and recover from any cyber security incidents.
Singapore’s journey to become a Smart Nation
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister and Minister-In-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative once shared that “Cyber security is absolutely essential if we are to become a smart nation. You can’t have electronic medical records, financial technology, large databases with information that could be abused or misused, and you can’t afford a breach of privacy. So the way I look at it, cyber security is the flip side of the coin of being a smart nation.”
As a result, various key government cyber security efforts have been enacted across Singapore through the last five years to tackle our increased vulnerability to cyber threats including:
- Singapore’s investment in cyber security as part of $2.82 billion worth of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tenders;
- New cyber security bill tabled in 2017 as part of the updated national cyber security strategy stakeholder consultation which was released in the second half of 2016
- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the National Cyber Security Strategy document in October 2016
- Publication of the MAS Outsourcing Guidelines with a guiding principle for banks to manage outsourcing arrangements as if the services were conducted in-house
Nonetheless, the ongoing pursuit to become a Smart Nation calls for collective effort from not only the government but also the support from financial institutions, tech behemoths and our growing start-up scene.
We had the chance to speak to Anca Pop-Luiza, Senior Consultant from the Huxley Singapore team who shared first-hand insights on the trends she is experiencing with her clients and candidates as well as what she is noticing from the ground.
Below are some of the trends Anca has shared that you can expect to see:
Influx of tech giants to establish regional headquarters in Singapore
Despite the pandemic, Singapore had experienced a technological boom in 2021 with many new international software & internet companies moving here or looking to grow their existing security teams.
The Chinese technology giants have also set their footprint in Singapore to open their regional headquarters here which contributed largely to a rise in demand for talent including a range of junior to mid-level job roles such as Security Engineers, Pen Testers, and Cloud Security professionals.
Greater demand for cyber security projects with consulting firms
The big four accounting firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – have consulting arms which mainly liaise with banks and other financial institutions in Singapore have noticed a spike in demand for cyber security projects. This trend is contributed by the rise of new regulatory requirements and compliances that are driving companies to improve their cyber security departments.
And because of this increase in projects pulled in, these consulting firms are finding it increasingly difficult to source for professionals that possess the aptitude and skills to fill the necessary gaps. This has also significantly resulted in increased costs given that there is an upward pressure on salary packages in order to remain competitive to attract the best cyber security talent in the market.
As such, it is also key to embed retaining strategies that are not just monetary benefits to stay competitive. For instance, with flexibility and remote working becoming a norm, it might be worthwhile to examine your work-culture and environment that can foster these requirements which also contribute to work-life balance.
Updated National Cyber Security strategy in Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has called for an adoption of cyber security standards across IT supply chains, which stressed the incorporation of security considerations throughout the system’s life cycle.
Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS shared that “MAS is paying close attention to the rising occurrences and severity of ransomware and IT supply chain attacks globally. These attacks have led to massive financial losses and disruptions of essential services.”
Thus, the adoption will include the implementation of zero trust security principles and architecture to tackle advanced cyber threats and IT supply chain attacks.
Anca also shared with us that “2022 is expected to come with new regulations from regulatory bodies across the APAC region. ITGRC roles seem to be a continuous focus for companies that are part of regulated industries. However, risk in cyber security is still a valuable skill that seems to be an in-demand requirement even in departments outside of ITGRC. Since Q4 of 2021, we have already begun to see an increase in demand for Data & Cloud Security professionals. This is also contributed by the growing Offensive Security space that has been picking up speed in 2021 which would not slow down going into 2022.”
Are you looking for cyber security talent in Singapore?
Anca shared that “Software and internet companies are hiring aggressively with greater demand for talent with specialised technical skills. The growth of the Information Technology Governance Risk and Compliance (ITGRC) space across Asia Pacific is noticeable and this was contributed by the rise in new regulations being applied not only locally but regionally.”
The MAS is constantly updating its Technology Risk Management Guidelines for cyber operations and Singapore is constantly in need of talent who are specialised in this space to keep up with changing guidelines. Ultimately, with stiff competition for this market and very limited talent, companies will need to find ways to retain their talent and below are some suggestions:
- Provide internal mobility opportunities (i.e working on different projects across different teams to increase exposure and experience)
- Enhance efforts to cultivate work-life balance and flexibility
- Adopt a contract work model if you require specialised talent urgently
- Relook at your compensation and salary packages
- Acknowledging that there is a significant gender gap in the cyber security sector which can result in a lack of development work done relating to cyber threats for females
The significant gender gap in cyber security has resulted in a lack of gender perspectives and therefore the development of frameworks that fail to identify and respond to cyber threats faced by women and girls. Singapore could investigate a gender analysis of the norms on responsible state behaviour within the cyberspace, which could provide guidelines for a more gender-aware approach in any implementations and accelerate efforts to eliminate harassment and crimes in the cyberworld.
Cyber security jobs in Singapore
Below are some of the top latest roles in demand within the sector:
- Collaboration Tool Tech Lead
- IT Risk Management Officer (AVP)
- IAM Engineer
- Penetration Tester
- SOC Lead
- Application Security Engineer
- Security Engineer SIEM
- Cloud Security Engineer
- Cyber Auditor
If you wish to find out more about talent trends and other market updates within cyber security, or may be a cyber security professional who wish to find out more about different career options please reach out to us via the form below and a dedicated specialist consultant will be in touch with you.
Alternatively, you may also stay up to date with the latest news by following us on our LinkedIn page. If you are looking to get support on hiring within this space, do check out on our specialisms here.