Singapore, wrote Mr Avik Das, is not only one of the most important financial hubs around the globe, it is also becoming “an increasingly major technology hub” with many of the biggest global tech companies setting up camp.
He credits this to increasing foreign investments over the last 12 years, in addition to the wealth, location and business-friendly reputation Singapore already has.
“The country itself is on a massive digitalisation drive,” he added.
However, one “big challenge” that Singapore is facing now is a “severe” shortage of tech talent, Mr Das added, quoting Mr Ravi Menon, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), last month.
On May 4, Mr Menon underlined in a speech that the “competition for tech talent is economy-wide as more sectors embark on digitalisation” and added that there are not enough tech graduates to fill vacancies.
Because of the large demand and small supply of local tech workers, he added that “we have to continue to depend on foreigners to fill the growing vacancies for technology jobs over the next few years”.
Mr Das wrote, “It’s already turning out to be a blessing for India and the Indians, as top talent here gets great offers and companies in Singapore have set up offshore centres here.”
He added that the four-hour flights between the two countries are “a great advantage”.
And because of Singapore’s massive push towards digital transformation, with the biggest push coming from the Government, the salaries of Singaporean tech talents have increased significantly.
The writer quoted Ms Nupur Mehta, vice president and global human resources business partner at Nium, as saying that if a head of engineering used to earn between S$240,000 and S$280,000 in 2019, their salary might now be as high as S$350,000 to S$400,000.
Mr Das added that Singapore also lags behind in the number of people with higher-level skills in technologies such as blockchain, data engineering and machine learning.
“Singapore does not have a history of working on complex technology projects. We train them up to bring them up to speed and supplement them with more experienced guys from India,” said the CEO of Singapore-based Apar Technologies, Mr Sai Sudhakar.
As for Singaporean companies setting up offshore centres in India, this is also a win for the companies, as it involves lower costs.
The increase in the minimum salary requirement for expats in Singapore is an incentive for taking businesses offshore as well. The article quotes the CEO of specialist staffing firm Xpheno Kamal Karanth as saying, “As the closest base for tech talent, global enterprises serving Singapore will be seen setting up shop in India as nearshore and midway centres.”
Mr Das also wrote that an estimated 50,000 jobs in the tech sector are expected to be rolled out in Singapore over the next few years, most of which would require special skills in technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and machine learning.
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