SINGAPORE: Individuals who wish to pursue a career in infocomm technology (ICT) will now have greater access to skills and employment opportunities, under the Skills Framework for ICT launched on Friday (Nov 10).
The framework provides information on more than a hundred ICT job roles including data scientists and cyber risk analysts, relevant training programmes, as well as the key competencies and skills for ICT professionals.
It was jointly developed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore after consultation with more than 150 industry leaders.
Speaking at the launch of the framework, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said the demand for ICT professionals in Singapore is expected to grow.
“We project a strong demand for more than 42,000 ICT professionals over the next three years. Hence, we also want to ensure that Singaporeans are equipped with the relevant skills to benefit from these good jobs,” he said.
For example, Ms Joleen Goh, a business development executive at menswear brand Benjamin Barker, told Channel NewsAsia she felt the need to improvise and adapt in the face of a changing economy where digitalisation is taking the fast lane.
“I graduated with a degree in geography but ... it’s all about employability and trying to stay relevant in this society as well.
"If I get unemployed, I won't be left behind because I still have the relevant skills set," she added.
She said the Skills Framework for ICT had helped her select the right training programmes that will equip her with the required skills for her current job.
18,000 VACANCIES IN ICT SECTOR
There are 180,000 ICT professionals in Singapore, and about 18,000 vacancies in the industry. About half of the ICT professionals work in the ICT sector, while the remaining half is employed by other sectors. The ICT sector contributes about 8 per cent of Singapore’s GDP today.
“In resource-scarce Singapore, talent is the key driver of growth. This similarly applies to the ICT sector. The Government will do all we can to prepare individuals and businesses to harness the growth opportunities in the digital economy,” Dr Yaacob added.
Employers also benefit from the framework in terms of attracting, retaining and developing talent. For example, they are able to better design human resource management and development plans using the detailed skills information provided in the framework.
These employers will then be able to make better decisions as to where to invest their training dollars and strategise their talent recruitment, development and management.
Mr Dutch Ng, CEO at i-Sprint Innovations, said the main problem smaller companies face is attracting local talent in the cybersecurity space.
“We’re also competing with a lot of MNCs for the similar talent pool in the market, plus we need to find qualified candidates for the right suitable job or vacancy that we have. If the recruitment process is shortened, plus (if) we can provide the right training and the right skills set to the new candidate and existing candidates, then it will really save a lot of costs.”
Mr Tok Yee Ching, a threat hunter at Countercept, which specialises in defending organisations from targeted attacks, agreed with Mr Ng on the lack of talent on the cybersecurity front. He added that the framework could address those concerns.
"The Skills Framework is useful as well for mid-career changes who are very interested in these job roles and this will really help them build up themselves and make them more marketable for employers who are also looking out for these skills set."
Dr Yaacob also said that the framework is not only relevant for the ICT sector but it can be used across other sectors, such as retail, logistics and finance.
“It was designed to focus on the types of skills and competencies required for different ICT job roles, and is not biased towards specific technology tools. This ensures that the skills framework is relevant to ICT professionals across different industries.”
IMDA chief executive Tan Kiat How said: “Workers from other sectors can also leverage the skills framework to acquire the right infocomm skills needed to participate in an increasingly digitalised economy.”
The framework is also in support of TechSkills Accelerator - an ICT job placement initiative from Budget 2016, which has helped more than 16,000 professionals as of October this year.