Shortage of IT talents in Singapore despite abundance of jobs

There is an abundance of jobs in the information-and-communications technology (ICT) sector, particularly in areas such as virtual and augmented reality and data analytics.

However, there appears to be a shortage of talent here who are able to take on these jobs, according to a study by the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) Future Jobs, Skills and Training Unit. 

The report also outlined the term “jobs adjacency” — transferable ICT skills that can be used in roles outside the sector, said Todayonline in a report on Monday, May 22. 

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

The study found that the sought-after jobs in the sector were in these seven areas:

– Cyber security;
– User interface and user experience;
– Data analytics;
– Network engineering;
– Virtual and augmented reality;
– Artificial Intelligence 
– Digital transformation project management.

The study identified four transferable ICT skills that workers may use in non-ICT jobs, including those outside the tech industry: SQL, Java as well as the C and C++ programming languages. For example, those with SQL skills could use them in jobs such as management and business intelligence analysts or marketing managers. 

Social network analysis. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia
Social network analysis. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Retrenched workers who have these skills can be nudged towards such roles in other sectors, Patrick Tay, NTUC's assistant secretary-general and the FJST Unit director, told Todayonline. 

The labour crunch experienced by the industry is due to employers seeking experienced professionals with specialised skills. While institutes of higher learning have expanded their ICT syllabus to meet industry needs, there will be a "time lag," said Tay. 

The ICT sector is also still being hit by collateral effects from other sectors which are “consolidating and offshoring.” This include  oil and gas, and offshore and marine. Layoffs may continue, but noting the rise of digital jobs, Tay said any “digitally disrupted” sector, such as logistics and food and beverage, will require ICT. 

“There’ll be a sharp increase in demand for such services,” he said.