SINGAPORE: Property portal 99 Group - which operates several brands including 99.co - intends to hire about 100 tech employees over the next 12 months, as it looks to accelerate innovation in the real estate industry, the company on Wednesday (Sep 2).
The company, which also operates iproperty.com.sg and rumah123.com, said the move will boost its efforts to develop the "next wave of tech innovations" as property hunting increasingly shifts online.
99 Group is looking for people such as front- and back-end engineers, app developers, product managers, UX/UI designers and data analysts, it said.
99 Group said that COVID-19 has hastened the need for digital transformation in the property buying and selling process, noting that it has seen a surge in listings with rich contect such as videos on its platforms.
The real estate industry, like many others, has taken a hit because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Show flats and house viewings - considered core essential activities for the property sector - were not allowed during the "circuit breaker" period, significantly affecting sales transactions.
Without their traditional marketing tools, property agents pivoted to virtual sales galleries and house tours.
“COVID-19 is a game changer. As an increasing portion of the entire home search and purchase process shifts online, our platform has facilitated many transactions through tools such as live video viewings. We are leveraging tech to deliver an even more convenient and trustworthy property hunting experience,” said 99 Group's CEO Darius Cheung.
In addition to boosting its tech team, 99 Group has also hired tech veteran Shivkumar Krishnan - who has previously worked at Microsoft, eBay and Grab - as chief technology officer.
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The company's hiring plans come amid an uncertain job climate and rising retrenchments in a weakened economy.
Singapore's overall unemployment rate rose to 2.9 per cent in the second quarter, the highest in more than a decade, as retrenchments more than doubled and total employment declined amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in July.
Last Wednesday, Information and Communications Minister S Iswaran said more jobs will be created in growth areas such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence as Singapore accelerates the creation of jobs in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and across the economy.