Singapore’s Smart Nation Vision is set to face a supply shortage of information and communications (ICT) professionals. The Straits Times reported that Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) admitted that while there are over 150,000 IT professionals working in Singapore in 2014, approximately 15,000 vacancies could not be filled.

The Jurong Lake District in Singapore will be used as a trial area for Singapore's ambitious Smart Nation plan. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore

TOWARDS A SMARTER NATION. The Jurong Lake District in Singapore will be used as a trial area for Singapore’s ambitious Smart Nation plan. Source: Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore Via:

By 2017, another 15,000 specialists might be required as SG’s Smart Nation Program will be needing more and more IT specialists in the fields such as cyber security, data analytics, and applications development.

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore said they are already shaving a hard time finding IT professionals. With its Smart Nation Program, Singapore will face a 30,000 talent deficit by 2017.

BST Consulting’s Chief Executive Paddy Tan said one of the major reasons for this talent shortage is competition with the ‘big guys’ like Google. “We are fighting for the same pool. Even fresh graduates can pick and choose because there is a shortage of such people.”

Industry leaders in Singapore says schools have not been producing enough IT graduates and even if they did, they have been teaching students with outdated skills. Darren Lee of Fixx Digital says, “ When fresh graduates come to us, the coding languages they know have already been phased out.”

Furthermore, the tough competition for talent have forced industry players to increase the pay for IT professionals across the board (a developer with five years’ experience can earn $7,500, while a fresh graduate can earn $3,000 or more). Sadly, in spite of that, there isn’t enough local talent.

Singapore’s IDA said they are continuously partnering with talent agencies and other industry players to meet this challenge.

It’s telling us something…


TOWARDS A SMARTER NATION. Singapore skyline on a twilight. Source:

As long as the global digital revolution progresses, IT talent shortage is going to be a reality we will be facing everywhere in the world. This makes it imperative that we keep up with the pace, if we are to get the best out of this revolution.

For every IT professional, it’s always good to hear we’re in demand. But are we really in the loop?

Singapore’s experience is telling us a few things, and we must heed them.

That learning must not end in school.

It’s true that by the time you graduate from college, the coding language you’ve been learning might have been phased out already. And that’s a reality confronting many of Singapore’s fresh graduates.

A diploma, or a professional certificate does not guarantee survival much less excellence in your field. For a skills-based profession like information and communications technology, we certainly need more than than just a diploma.

It pays to keep yourself abreast with the trends, and to learn everything you can about your chosen industry. Yes, information technology is a fast-paced world. It is after all propelled by innovation.

And that we all need help.

With the global shortage for ICT talent, more and more employers looking for rare skill-sets or talents (e.g. IT and engineering professionals) are turning to talent agencies for their talent or human resource needs.

Employers are relying on specialist staffing/recruiting firms to select the best candidates for their openings as specialist roles like IT specialists or engineering professionals for example, requires deep technical knowledge on the part of the recruiter – which every company’s HR department probably has not much idea about (except perhaps in mammoth companies). So, guess where’s the best place to look for the best IT opportunity. 

Read: Should You Use A Recruitment Agency to Find a Job?

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