Singapore Technology Industries’ Talent Crisis and Recruitment Strategies

by | Oct 29, 2021

During these days, no matter where you are, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has enormously made changes to our daily lives. Same goes for businesses, who have adjusted as restrictions were placed to prevent the spread of the outbreak. As a result, parts of the global economy have come to a halt – affecting different industries such as airlines, restaurants, retail industries and more.

As we move forward from the current situation, it wasn’t exactly the same for the technology industry. With businesses accelerating to their digital transformation, the global IT industry shifted into a high gear, accommodating sudden demand for remote working and collaboration solutions.

According to Techwire Asia, Singapore, as an emerging regional technology hub in Asia, tech firms seem to be facing a chronic talent shortage due to heavy demands in technology jobs as startups and technology giants are moving into the island. Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said the pipeline of local tech graduates wasn’t enough to fill the vacancies and foreigners are needed to fill Singapore tech jobs crunch.

However, with the current pandemic situation, the government tightened policies for foreign skilled workers making it harder for tech companies to cope up with the strong demand. Even with thousands of local workers retrained to alleviate the shortage and to nurture a pipeline of tech workers, there remains an acute shortage of software engineers with strong programming skills and in-depth business knowledge.

Local Talents VS Foreign Talents

Though the demand for foreign talents have made its way to the top, some companies may still prefer local hires as they offer plenty of advantages such as saving on talent fees and as well as understanding the local culture and practices better than foreigners. They are also more likely to stay committed either to the job or the industry in Singapore since they are rooted there.

Still, companies share that there is a need to complement their local talent pool with foreigners for optimal results, given that a massive digital transformation is currently happening in order to achieve a successful transformation amidst COVID-19. Leaving tech companies to look for foreign talents with specialized skills such as block chain, data engineering and machine learning as they are limited within local talent pools. The right talent is needed in order to fill the skills gap. and leverage their network contacts. Additionally, the company’s employees can learn from the foreign talent’s experience. 

Work From Home Set-up: How it Affects Talents?

As the pandemic brought changes in working styles and gave the employees food for thought in what they want in a job, working remotely has also contributed to the factors that affects the lack of talents not just in Singapore but in many countries. Since the pandemic, many workers around the world worried about losing their jobs and because of that, many are proactively searching for a back-up plan.

Though working from home seems to have worked for almost everyone nowadays concerning their health and safety, employee expectations of bosses and companies have hiked because of pent-up jobs switches that did not happen and pandemic-driven epiphanies of what truly matters to them. With new jobs creeping up, reskilling has given workers more options and people have made themselves more marketable and suitable for a wider range of roles resulting in workers confidently leaving their jobs.

Expectations have generally moved beyond work to center on the balance between work, life and purpose since remote work has created burn-out due to longer working hours in front of the computer, heavier workloads, endless Zoom meetings and conference calls, and countless other new responsibilities as the daily norm.

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Should Companies Change Recruitment Strategies?

Since the pandemic, virtually recruiting and onboarding a remote workforce became the norm for many, but is virtual hiring here to stay?

Even for businesses resuming in-person operations, we can expect that virtual and automated interviews will instead replace many in-person touchpoints, helping to accelerate timelines while also providing a critical layer of safety as we continue to observe social distancing rules. Companies should adopt virtual recruiting technologies; shift their talent attraction efforts to remote candidates; consider internal talent pools; and focus on diversity, equity and inclusion as the virtual hiring event platform helps organizations streamline recruiting processes, improve diversity hiring and hire better talent by reaching across geographic barriers.

Ryan Healy, president and co-founder of the virtual hiring platform Brazen, told SHRM that virtual recruiting in 2020 helped organizations streamline recruiting processes, improve diversity hiring and hire better talent by reaching across geographic barriers.

While remote work made finding and hiring candidates easier in 2020, what remains to be seen is how easy it will be to retain those candidates as the job market becomes more competitive and offices begin to reopen.

However, let us not forget that we are humans who still need direct, in-person contact and connection with one another. As this is a chance for recruiters to maximize diversity, now could be the time to advocate for how to take the best of the efficiencies realized during the pandemic and make them permanent parts of talent acquisition and talent management processes.

For the time being, the COVID-19 pandemic is primarily a health and humanitarian disaster, with businesses quickly adapting. The new reality taking shape is made of complexity, uncertainty and opportunities. Organizations must change quickly and become resilient and nimble in order to succeed.  Datasearch Consulting can assist leaders and organizations in addressing the fundamental changes required in this new environment at speed and scale, from the perspectives of people, operations, and technology.

Salma Kazi is the Business Development Executive at Datasearch Consulting, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in the Financial Technology & Data 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” hereAlternatively you can view the Datasearch Consulting website or contact them directly on for a more detailed discussion.

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