Singapore is at the heart of the tech industry’s explosive popularity across Southeast Asia. The country has emerged as a hub for technology entrepreneurs, and fintech is one of its front-running sectors.
With 40% of all fintech companies across Southeast Asia based in the country, Singapore has earned itself the title of the “ASEAN capital of Fintech.” The country’s robust regulatory regime, policy-level support, and ease of doing business, have resulted in it being home to over 750 fintech companies so far.
A booming e-commerce and consumer services sector, with the likes of Grab, Lazada and Sea Group setting up shop within the country, has only added to the lure of fintech solutions, such as PayTech, in Singapore.
And while hirers are largely looking to keep workforce levels steady in Q3 this year, the finance and insurance sectors are among those with the strongest job outlooks for the quarter.
Amidst this context of accelerated growth, Singapore is falling short of a crucial cog in the wheel — talent. While a global shortfall of talent for tech companies is already at play, some experts have suggested that the tech talent shortage in Singapore may be of a more critical nature.
The tech talent shortage in Singapore
Tech companies in Singapore are focusing heavily on improving their tech stack, boosting their data capabilities, and capturing market share. Subsequently, these three priorities have a significant influence on hiring decisions at these companies.
For instance, engineering and product management roles are the highest priced positions across Singapore (and Indonesia and Vietnam as well). Apart from core IT functions such as developers and DevOps, Singaporean hirers are looking for people in the fields of data, marketing, and market research as well.
But it’s not all smooth sailing for both companies and talent. For instance, financial institutions alone posted 6,500 new openings in May this year, 90% of which were permanent.
Since tech roles are constantly evolving, there is often a mismatch between hiring expectations at the company, and the experience and credentials of the available pool of candidates. Meanwhile, the Singaporean government’s austere entry policies for foreign workers, as well as border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has only exacerbated the tech talent shortage in Singapore.
So, while on one hand there is a policy-level push for local employment, on the other hand, tech firms are simply unable to find what they are looking for.
In fact, the country’s IT sector is looking at a need for 60,000 professionals in the next two to three years alone. With job postings running into the tens of thousands, these developments have resulted in a demand-supply disruption for tech talent in the island nation.
Addressing the gap in tech talent
The managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Ravi Menon has previously said that the country may have to relax visa rules to help foreigners fill in some of these open positions as the tech talent shortage in Singapore intensifies.
Some companies, such as PayPal, have also stepped up hiring efforts to provide opportunities for Singaporean locals, across roles including product management, software engineering, cyber security, and data science.
By doing so, Singapore may be able to plug the tech talent gap in the short term, while companies and authorities work out a more sustainable solution.
One of these solutions is reskilling and upskilling. As a Fortune article points out, “Asia must keep rewiring its education infrastructure to produce better prepared tech graduates.” This holds true for Singapore as well.
Fortunately, both local and global institutes have moved to address this need. For instance, University College Dublin (UCD) in conjunction with educational institution Kaplan, is offering a Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) programme across a number of disciplines in Singapore, including fintech.
Ranked among the top 1% of institutions worldwide, UCD’s BBS programme – Fintech pathway in partnership with Kaplan in Singapore looks to equip students with key skills to prepare them for roles across finance, data and digital technologies. Modules for the 18-month flexible programme range from digitalisation and data, to cyber security and machine learning.
The programme is aimed at teaching students how to navigate the world of finance with its new, emerging digital technologies. Students can expect to receive a foundation in essential management disciplines such as corporate strategy, finance and operations management, and fintech.
The programme can open up career opportunities for students looking to become future finance analysts, finance product insights analysts, investigations analysts, and risk assessment coordinators, as well as ESG analysts.
The programme has two intakes per year, in May and November, adding further flexibility for candidates. Further, while the programme is currently being offered online due to the pandemic, arrangements will be made to reinstate in-person classes partially or in full as the situation changes.
The Finance pathway, for example, is focused on providing students with financial knowledge and grounding in management disciplines such as strategy, marketing and operations management. Meanwhile, the Business Analytics pathway is designed to equip students with a set of analytical methods of problem solving that aids decision-making within large bodies of data.
To enrol into the programme, prospective students simply need to visit Kaplan page and leave their contact details on the inquiry form to request for the prospectus, arrange for a consultation or attend interactive preview sessions via Zoom.