Singapore Foreign Tech Talents Challenges – A Closer Look

by | Jun 30, 2021

For a long time, Singapore has relied on foreign professionals to supply the insatiable demand for talents of tech startups and multinational technology brands based in the country. However, due to recent events like the sudden surge in tech talent demand, the COVID lockdowns, and new foreign worker policies, SG has seen a few setbacks in tech hiring. 

Some argue that the situation has raised operational and HR-related concerns among companies and employers. Others, on one hand, firmly believe that it’s about time for Singapore to focus more on its local pool of IT and tech talents. 

Previously, we have provided a bit of an introduction to the looming tech talent problem in Singapore due to new employment regulations. Our colleague, Alan, shared about the divided opinion of the public as well the government.

Meanwhile, in the discussion below, we will give you a closer look at the tech talent issues, and their potential impacts on companies and talents. 


What’s the Singapore Tech Talent Market Like Today?


Singapore has successfully established itself as SE Asia’s most prominent technology hub. Despite its relatively small workforce, Singapore takes great pride in the quality of its talents.  

More importantly, the government has been very active in supporting school and university initiatives to help train total newbies to becoming tech and IT leaders in and out of the country. 

However, there’s no denying that the country’s current tech talent pool size isn’t enough to meet the market demands, especially as more tech giants move their Asian HQ in SG

As of writing, thousands of positions in various companies and government organizations await to get filled. And the best part is that 90 percent of them are for permanent status, according to Ravi Menon of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

But again, there’s a massive gap between the available talent pool and the market demand. 

COVID, EP Pass Updates and Increased Tech Talent Demand

It’s worthwhile to note that the tech talent crunch in SG has always been a problem. If you do a quick search, you’ll find discussions of SG’s tech talent problem even before implementing the new EP pass regulations. 

It has noticeably become worse as the country (and the rest of the world) suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some note that the pandemic has resulted in the drying up of startup talent pools as talents shift to international companies that offer remote working options. 

Hopefully, in the next few years, we see improvements like introducing new policies focused on providing tech visas for non-residents. 

Companies and tech vendors, with the help of government initiatives, can also put more resources into the upskilling professionals within the organization. 

This way, the current IT and tech (or even the non-tech inclined) professionals can obtain the necessary competencies needed to climb up the corporate ladder. 

Until then, we can only hope for the best, especially for smaller companies who struggle to compete in sourcing top talents in technology and IT. 

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How Will the Foreign Talent Crunch Problem Affect Employers?


The talent gap in tech doesn’t just impact the country’s economy and foreign talents’ chances of landing a job in SG. Instead, it also puts a strain on employers, especially smaller firms or startups. 

Many tech startups all over Singapore share their sentiments concerning the additional financial burden of hiring new talents as they struggle to compete with larger-scale companies like Google or Zoom Video Communications.  

This increases the tech talent market competition, pushing startups to level up their recruitment game or perhaps rethink their entire hiring process. 

For example, instead of using the old-school “plug and play” method where employers hire a candidate with a specific set of skills, it might be better to provide training opportunities to existing staff and encourage them to take on a high-level position.

Sourcing Tech Talents for Singapore Based Companies


Indeed, it would take years and a good set of tech work visa policies and upskilling initiatives to turn around the tech talent problem in SG. Nevertheless, we expect to see a brighter future for tech employers and employees as the country transforms into one of the world’s biggest and busiest tech centres. 

Need help in finding tech talents for a Singapore-based company? Even with the limited talent pool due to the new foreign workers’ policy, you can count on Datasearch Consulting to lend you a hand. 

While the talent market has undoubtedly become more competitive for both recruiters and HR professionals, we remain dedicated to connecting our partners with the right tech or IT talent. Connect with us at Datasearch Consulting for more information about our recruitment solutions for tech companies and functions

George Mikhail is the Director – Technology & Data at Datasearch Consulting, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in the Cyber & Cloud Technology sectors

You can download their FREE comprehensive guide on “The Complete Guide to Hiring Fintech & Data Talent – 5 Proven Steps to Secure the Best Candidates Possible” Alternatively you can view the Datasearch Consulting website or contact them directly on for a more detailed discussion.

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