Singapore faces talent crunch as tech giants scale up By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the town skyline in Singapore

By Chen Lin and Aradhana Aravindan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – At least three recruiters method Singapore-based software program engineer Xiao Yuguang each day with job affords.

Demand for Xiao’s abilities has soared since he graduated in 2014 with a pc engineering diploma however now he simply ignores the affords, having not too long ago joined TikTok proprietor Bytedance after a number of years with Southeast Asia’s Grab.

“It’s not like I want to change jobs frequently,” mentioned Xiao.

Singapore is aiming to turn out to be a regional tech hub however faces a extreme talent crunch as extra corporations transfer in, interviews with greater than a dozen recruiters, firms and employees present.

China’s Tencent, Bytedance, U.S.-based Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:) and unicorn Grab and Sea Ltd are amongst firms increasing in Singapore, fueling a battle for tech talent within the city-state, the place the jobless charge had reached a 16-year excessive on account of a coronavirus-induced recession.

“Certain member companies have been expanding their operations … and looking to hire more data scientists, more coders,” mentioned Lei Hsien-Hsien, chief government officer on the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

“So the demand is very strong but the supply is relatively weak, which then slows down some of the expansion plans.”

Up to 500 new tech vacancies are posted every week on job websites, in line with NodeFlair, which helps rent for Bytedance and Sea’s e-commerce enterprise Shopee.

The info communications sector would want one other 60,000 professionals over the following three years, cupboard minister Vivian Balakrishnan mentioned in June.

In response to a Reuters question on the determine, the communications ministry mentioned in mid-September there have been almost 10,000 tech-related job postings on a government-run careers portal and one other 6,800 jobs and traineeships can be created by June 2021 by trade partnerships.

Border curbs as a result of coronavirus and tighter overseas employee insurance policies are delaying abroad hiring, exacerbating the scarcity, some headhunters mentioned. Some tech professionals can command pay will increase of up to 30% once they swap jobs.

“It’s not sustainable,” mentioned Daljit Sall at recruitment agency Randstad, who expects salaries to even out as soon as borders reopen and as the talent pool develops.

The authorities has been re-training hundreds of individuals with tech abilities whereas the consumption for IT programs at Singapore faculties has risen 17% over the previous three years to about 7,600 for the 2020 educational 12 months.

‘SMALL ISLAND’

Singapore, an Asian base for a lot of multinationals and banks, has for years had a decent labour market and the nation of 5.7 million individuals doesn’t but have the capability to shortly match the tech abilities and expertise the trade wants.

“There are a lot of tech companies coming in and it’s a small island,” mentioned Raagulan Pathy, head of enterprise Asia Pacific at Zoom, which plans to rent a whole lot of engineers.

“The simple maths of it means that at a certain point you are going to run out of talent,” mentioned Pathy, including that Singapore’s programme for allocating visas for overseas employees was pragmatic.

For now, the labour crunch doesn’t appear to be placing anybody off. The Economic Development Board (EDB) is getting wholesome curiosity from international tech firms eager to increase operations, it mentioned.

“We constantly seek to ensure companies who set up here have access to a strong Singaporean workforce complemented by a diverse foreign workforce,” mentioned Managing Director Chng Kai Fong.

The EDB has numerous programmes to bridge the abilities scarcity together with one which helps tech firms herald talent from abroad and a brand new work visa for top-tier tech executives.

The work visa, launched this month, has prompted many enquiries, recruiters mentioned. But it’s restricted to 500 contributors and has strict standards.

Companies are discovering methods to manage. Shopping rewards platform ShopBack resorts to reallocating workload to its present engineers to satisfy new calls for.

Fintech agency Nium’s 250-strong engineering staff is in India. Its 13-strong staff of product managers is being doubled in Singapore, CEO Prajit Nanu mentioned.

Singapore’s open financial system was hit laborious by the pandemic, airways and tourism particularly, and former Singapore Airlines (OTC:) flight attendant Alloysius Lee is grateful he determined to check knowledge analytics.

“I feel lucky … I spent the past few years learning and picking up a new skill,” mentioned Lee, 32.





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