SINGAPORE: More than 12,000 information and communications technology (ICT) jobs are available under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to help boost a growing digital economy, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its latest jobs situation report on Tuesday (Nov 24).
Since 2015, 17,000 locals have joined the industry, and as of June this year they make up 71 per cent of the sector’s 190,200 workers.
These are individuals within sub-sectors such as telecom services and software providers, but does not include technology workers in other parts of the economy.
Between April and early November this year, more than 7,000 job seekers were put into jobs, traineeships, attachments, and training programmes - making the ICT industry the sector with the highest placements under the SGUnited initiative so far.
“While COVID-19 has disrupted the economy and labour market, it has also accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, leading to creation of new job roles and increase in manpower demand in ICT,” said MOM.
A total of 2,160 people secured jobs, of which 1,830 were professional, manager, executive and technician (PMET) roles, while 1,970 people were put into traineeships and attachments, and 3,060 people placed in training programmes.
At a press conference during her visit to technology firm Sea, the parent company of e-commerce platform Shopee, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said the nature of the ICT sector requires workers to undergo "intense training", which is why many of the placements are in attachments and training programmes.
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Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who was with Mrs Teo during the visit, said that Singapore has a "historical opportunity now to develop a new generation of companies".
While Singapore should still leverage on its "conventional competitive advantages" such as its political stability and skilled workforce, Mr Chan said the country can rely on its unique position in three areas.
These are: the Singapore brand, as consumers look for trusted products and services in healthcare, technology and finance; a place that transcends geo-politics and allows businesses to serve international markets; and Singapore's lack of a big domestic market, which companies have "turn(ed) into a strength".
By choosing to do business in the region from the start, these companies have built up "real, solid capabilities" to work at a global level, Mr Chan said.
In response to a question about homegrown companies that have set up their headquarters abroad and listed on an overseas stock exchange, Mr Chan said that it is expected that businesses with globalised operations will "distribute their footprints" worldwide.
But he acknowledged there are challenges with getting companies to list locally and said the authorities are working with the Singapore Exchange and other financial institutions on how they can improve this.
COMPANIES STILL HIRING
There are still about 12,000 jobs in the sector available, MOM said, adding that about 95 per cent of them are PMET roles, such as software developers and network engineers.
However, only about 30 per cent of the 12,000 positions are “tech-lite” roles - jobs that do not require a tech background or experience. These are roles such as digital marketing specialists and pre-sales consultants, which MOM said may “appeal more” to mid-career job-seekers.
The remaining positions would require a deeper level of technology skills, the ministry said.
In response to a question about the ICT industry's high barrier to entry, given that 95 per cent of the available jobs are PMET ones, Mrs Teo said this fact is precisely what makes the sector attractive and "feeds the aspirations of locals".
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The salary for the jobs range from between S$3,750 and S$6,000 for computer technicians, to between S$5,250 and S$7,500 for management and business consultants.
To expand the sector’s workforce, MOM said the Government will roll out at least 5,500 more job placement opportunities over the next three years.
It is also encouraging people to take up the attachment and traineeship openings in the tech sector, noting that there are still about 4,900 vacancies available in areas such as cybersecurity and UI/UX development.
On the educational front, admission into technology courses in Institutes of Higher Learning have gone up by 17 per cent over the last three years, with an intake of around 7,600 for the 2020 academic year.
This will help Singapore “maintain a steadily growing pipeline of quality talent in our workforce”, said MOM.
Over the next three years, there will also be an additional 750 places under the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) to help small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) reskill existing workers and address their manpower needs as part of the digitalisation of their business operations.