POSTED 16 Sep 2019 - 11:13

How do you rate Singapore's prospects in the global race to attract top tech talent?

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Will Tech@SG bring in the 'Jedi Masters'?

Top Response

Wissam Khoury, SVP and MD, MEA and APAC, Finastra

Singapore has undoubtedly positioned itself as a frontrunner in winning over global tech talent in recent years with its thriving innovation ecosystem, mindset for embracing innovation and startup culture, and progressive regulatory environment. Initiatives such as Tech@...


Naveen Menon, President, ASEAN, Cisco
16 Sep 2019 - 11:24

As digital transformation gathers pace, professionals in areas such as cybersecurity, data science and advanced analytics have become a hot commodity, creating a big gap between demand and supply. At the same time, as the adoption of artificial intelligence-powered technologies picks up in coming years, the nature of jobs across major industry sectors will change drastically. Being one of the most digitally advanced economies, Singapore needs to ensure that it continues to attract the best talent, as well as reskill the current talent pool so they pick up requisite skills for jobs of the future. Programmes like Tech@SG will help to develop an ecosystem that can address this issue. However, all other stakeholders also need to play their part. At Cisco, we partner with 17 institutes of higher learning across Singapore and have trained nearly 70,000 students in ICT skill so far.

Mario Singh, CEO, Fullerton Markets
16 Sep 2019 - 11:23

As an industry participant within the global fintech arena, I follow Singapore's development in this space with keen interest. In the Economic Intelligence Unit's ''Technological Readiness Ranking'' published in June 2018, Singapore came in second out of 82 countries surveyed, just behind Australia and in front of Sweden. Eight indicators across three categories -''access to the Internet'', ''digital economy infrastructure'' and ''openness to innovation'' - were evaluated.

Singapore has started many initiatives to attract top tech talents. Here's three:

1) Startup SG - Established in 2017 to showcase Singapore's vibrant startup ecosystem.

2) SGTech - A trade association for the tech industry, SGTech has chapters like Cloud & Big Data (CDC), Cyber Security (CSC) and Digital Transformation (DxC) which strive to create an ecosystem, anticipate trends and develop sustainable initiatives to strengthen the community.

3) Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF)

In November 2019, SFF will join forces with the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH) to showcase innovative technologies across five key sectors.

With such initiatives, I would confidently say that Singapore is one of the best countries in the world to attract, develop and retain top tech talent. Tech@SG's vision is for companies to build teams and products in Singapore. Hence, it wouldn't just bring in Jedi Masters - it would be a breeding ground to develop future Jedi Masters as well.

Ian Lee, CEO, Asia Pacific, The Adecco Group
16 Sep 2019 - 11:22

Singapore in 2019 continues to be a leading force as it ranks number 2 in the world for ''Best places for expats to live in'' (HSBC) and number 7 on the list of ''Smartest Cities in the World'' (Cities in Motion Index). This well enables us to continue to be a magnet for top tech talent. Together with the government's Smart Nation initiatives, there are huge opportunities for these ''Jedi Masters'' to thrive and grow with access to the best possible conditions - a digital forward-thinking government, presence of leading tech firms (and startups), and a great lifestyle.

Caecilia Chu, Co-Founder and CEO, YouTrip
16 Sep 2019 - 11:22

Singapore rates exceptionally high in the prospect of attracting talents globally due to its highly diverse workforce and forward-thinking public policy. Our top-notch education system has also trained plenty of impressive local talents, who have contributed greatly towards the country's economic development. The new Tech@SG Initiative could potentially lead to a win-win situation for local corporations that can seize the opportunity to find foreign talents to supplement skill areas that are not yet present locally, so as to further professionalise their operations with international best practices.

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Toby Koh, Group MD, Ademco Security Group
16 Sep 2019 - 11:21

I fully agree with the purpose and intent of Tech@SG to attract the best talent to Singapore. It is my belief that Singapore has an opportunity now to invest and grow our technology influence that will enhance and disrupt business models for years to come. But we need to focus and invest heavily now. We will no doubt need the right talent to do so. Hence, as much as there may be a backlash from the public on the increase in foreign talent, we do need them to protect Singapore's future.

I would also suggest strongly that a separate scheme be put in place for smaller Singaporean majority-owned startups with a more modest amount of funding, perhaps S$500,000, to also be given to support the hiring of foreign tech talent. Let's give our local startups a fighting chance to also recruit the talent that is hard to come by locally.

Zhou Junjie, Chief Commercial Officer, Shopee and Head, Shopee Singapore
16 Sep 2019 - 11:20

Beyond the government's push in embracing the digital economy to become a Smart Nation and nurture a tech-savvy population, Singapore boasts advanced tech infrastructure and strong ties to the global business community. In Singapore, businesses can tap into the best talent pool homegrown and from overseas, benefit from the best regulatory environment, and grow in the region's most vibrant startup ecosystem. Shopee recently launched its regional base of operations here - beyond outsourcing for tech talent, our new office will become a technology ecosystem to nurture and develop local talent, especially in fields like data science and coding. This reaffirms our long-term commitment to the country and elevates Singapore's attractiveness as a global tech hub.

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director, Robert Half Singapore
16 Sep 2019 - 11:18

While Tech@SG is a vital step to attracting global talent, Singapore has to go beyond aiding talent entry by affirming its innovation status to stand out from other markets vying for the same talent.

''Frontier tech'' professionals gravitate towards the industry's best technical infrastructure as it provides a challenge and keeps their skills fresh. Singapore should continue to invest in technical infrastructure, distinguishing it from peers through its technical advancement, speed of integration, and level of cyber-security.

With salary being key, qualifying tech firms benefiting from the Tech@SG initiative should ensure they are offering compelling employment opportunities with highly competitive salaries.

Dileep Nair, Independent Director, Thakral Corporation Limited
16 Sep 2019 - 11:18

Singapore has been in the global ''war for talent'' for some time. Last decade, we focused on talent in the life sciences and biomedical field, and succeeded in attracting ''whales'' or senior scientists. Given our reputation and track record, Tech@SG can be equally successful in getting ''Jedi Masters'' provided they are made to feel welcome and at home, together with their families. Of course, the hiring must be seen to be fair and non-discriminatory, complying with the Fair Consideration Framework. Wherever possible, the scheme should reach out to Singaporean tech talents working overseas and entice them to ''balek kampung'' to Singapore. Ultimately, we would still need a more robust and self-sustaining ecosystem that will develop and nurture more talented tech professionals within our local talent pool.

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