Yesterday, Times of India (TOI) published an article saying that despite Singapore increasingly becoming a major technology and financial hub, it does not have enough talent (‘Singapore’s tech is booming, but it does not have enough talent‘, 16 Jun).
“The tiny nation of 6 million people now faces a big challenge – a severe shortage of technology talent,” TOI said, quoting Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
At a conference in May last month, Menon said that Singapore will have to rely on foreigners to fill the vacancies for technology jobs in the next few years so as to fill the gap.
“A massive digital transformation is happening in Singapore,” said Sai Sudhakar, CEO of Singapore-based Apar Technologies. “The government is the biggest spender on technology and is pushing the private sector to new age digital technologies to transform businesses, more so because of the pandemic”
“Global banks such as Citi, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse who have large operations here as well as regional banks like DBS are undertaking large transformation programmes for global rollouts while the marine and logistics companies which were lagging behind in automation, are also expediting their technology projects” he added.
Sudhakar said that while Singapore has skills in front-end development, back-end skills such as Java and .Net technologies are lacking. He said, “The core business systems still run on traditional platforms like Java where we can find some local talent but the demand is far higher than supply. For specialised skills such as block chain, data engineering and machine learning, the talent pool is limited. ”
For higher level skills such as block chain, data engineering and machine learning, the number of people is very limited. “Singapore does not have too many people experienced working on complex technology projects. What we do in collaboration with the Government is train them to bring them up to speed and supplement them with more experienced staff from countries like India” he said.
Apar is said to help companies in digital transformation and count DBS Bank, Axa and AIA among its clients.
Headhunting firm Randstad estimates that about 50,000 new technology jobs will be rolled out in the next few years in Singapore focusing on niche skills such as AI & ML, and data analytics. Demand, it says, far surpasses supply and the tech talent shortage is further exacerbated by global border control measures.
Edit: This article is updated with corrections from Mr Sudhakar on the quotes that TOI had published.