S’pore’s IT sector continues to hire as new jobs exceed cost savings

Disclaimer: The opinions below are solely those of the author

Parliamentary debates in Singapore are often a source of valuable information, as the questions asked tend to be answered with real numbers, providing an objective view of the situation.

In one of the most recent responses to a question posed by Ms Hee Ting Ro, Labor MP on the employment situation in Singapore’s information and communication sector and how business digitalisation can affect local people’s jobs, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) highlighted recent trends.

There are 128,900 locals working in this sector from March 2022, but what I think is more notable is the new employment rate.

Between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, there were 260 retrenchments in the industry for 6,800 new jobs – or 26 times the number of people laid off. In addition, the number of vacancies has also increased, from 8,400 in September 2021 to 10,800 six months later.

That’s more than 10,000 jobs in a sector that currently employs about 130,000 people and employs almost no one.

Even when we consider the hundreds of high-profile retrenchments at Shopee, Crypto.com or Coinbase (among many others), they are still pale in comparison to the thousands who find new IT jobs elsewhere.

All of this should come as no surprise, as consumer companies tend to get news, IT leasing is not limited to Silicon Valley wannabes.

For example, despite global scandals, the oil and gas industry remains strong and continues to add more IT staff in Singapore – mainly developers and network administrators – according to GlobalData’s Job Analytics database.

Image Credit: Foreign Technology / GlobalData
Oil and Gas Rentals Singapore
Image Credit: Foreign Technology / GlobalData

Re-employment as a whole is the highest since 2015

The situation is good, not only in the ICT field, but also in the market as a whole, with 71.5 per cent of those who have lost their jobs being able to find new jobs within six months – the highest number in seven years, according to official Ministry of Manpower data.

Christopher Bosseggs, former country director of Tesla Singapore / Image Credit: LinkedIn

So Tesla jumped back. After making headlines for the eviction of her country in Singapore just a year after hiring him, Tesla is back with several job offers for professionals in many fields.

The company is not technically qualified to work in the field of IT / ICT (despite all the innovations it produces), but what it shows is the rationalization of expenses and the prioritization of the appointment of specialists over managers.

Although I will not go into the details, it is quite certain that the pay package for a head of state in a trillion-dollar company will have to be large – quite possibly so much so that they can now hire several people for the cost of one leader ( in a market that is still relatively small) for the company).

The loss of one person is a gain for seven new employees Tesla is looking for its offices in Toa Payoh.

Remote work is not for everyone

Meanwhile, with the country abandoning almost all pandemic restrictions, the number of vacancies offering remote jobs in Singapore has dropped by 25 percent, according to the recruiting giant. In reality.

Remote jobs in reality
Image Credit: Indeed

This can be a problem for many, especially young workers in technology companies or technology-related roles, for whom workplace flexibility is such a transaction breaker that they consider changing jobs if their employer does not offer the option.

In general, however, with the labor market still favorable for employees in Singapore, it seems that they will take the lead as talent-hungry companies adjust their working conditions to get the best people before anyone else catches them.

But what’s really important is that digitization does not eliminate work, it rather creates more of it.

This brings me back to the original questions posed to my mother in Parliament. One of them showed a general concern that the standardization and rationalization of spending in the IT sector would make some people redundant, which would eventually lead to a decline in employment.

The truth is that there is still a huge gap in the IT talent that companies deploy, including those that never make the news.

The current crisis and post-pandemic readjustments have forced companies to invest more in IT solutions, making them more resilient in the long run. This is especially evident in a country that does not have an abundance of cheap manpower, such as Singapore. Companies can not only throw more people into a problem – they need solutions that make them more productive.

This is just another lesson for the pandemic: Excessive dependence on people creates strategic problems when they are unable to go to the office.

At the same time, however, it means that people can do more – even outside the office – when they have access to the right tools. And someone has to deploy and maintain it, hence the growing need for IT staff across the economy.

After all, the era of fully autonomous AI is not near, and all this technology must be operated by someone, and that person will get the job.

Exhibited Image Credit: Singapore Institute of Technology

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