SINGAPORE: Consumer internet company Sea Limited has agreed to hire and train 500 Singaporeans in a partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), as part of efforts to provide job opportunities amid the COVID-19 economic downturn.
Sea, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is the parent company of e-commerce platform Shopee, online game developer Garena and digital financial services provider SeaMoney. Sea has 3,000 employees in Singapore.
Under the arrangement, Sea will hire and train 500 Singaporeans, comprising 400 entry-level and 100 mid-career (individuals with more than three years of working experience) job seekers, a joint press release between Sea and the IMDA said on Friday (Oct 2).
Trainees will undergo six months of training at Shopee, in areas such as product management, software engineering and user experience design, and they will have a mentor or project adviser from the same department.
All trainees will be paid a monthly salary while they undergo training, and “suitable” candidates who complete the training will be employed by the businesses entities under Sea, the press release said.
Lim Teck Yong, the head of regional operations and people team at Shopee, declined to reveal the salary range, but said that the company pays “competitive(ly), in line with the other fresh graduates”. He added that he hopes to keep all 500 as full-time hires if they perform well.
When asked about the type of people the company is looking to hire, Mr Lim described the ideal applicant as one with a "strong passion for e-commerce", and who has demonstrated a willingness to pick up skills in data or coding, even before applying for the job.
“We are still experiencing very strong growth in (the) e-commerce sector. And this strong growth is not just in Singapore, but across the region, across all our markets in Southeast Asia,” Mr Lim said.
“We recognise that during this difficult pandemic period, the job market is getting a lot more challenging. So we have taken the initiative to work with IMDA ... to see how we can provide jobs for the market,” he added. “I think it's important now that we provide jobs in the high value add sector, like in tech, where we can train them up for jobs of the future.”
The programme is expected to start before the end of this year.
The arrangement between Sea and IMDA is part of IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative’s Company-Led Training programme, where firms hire fresh and mid-career professionals and offer them on-the-job training.
Under the tie-up, Sea will receive subsidies for monthly salaries, training course fees and any overseas attachment costs.
The TeSA initiative was launched at the 2016 Budget with the aim of increasing training and placements for infocomm technology jobs.
Sea and IMDA said the partnership is the largest TeSA Company-Led Training programme by a Singapore-based company so far. The company had previously participated in the programme but on a smaller scale.
In response to a question on whether changes to foreign work pass rules will affect the technology industry, Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran, who was at the signing of the memorandum of intent between Sea and IMDA, said that the new regulations are about making sure Singaporeans are treated fairly.
Mr Iswaran said that technology companies are very willing to hire Singaporeans, but think their main challenge is finding those who have the requisite skills and willing to learn.
“That's why our work in what we are doing ... is key,” he said. “Because what that enables us to do is really develop that Singaporean core in the tech sector which is growing.”