Operating a business in today’s digital age requires a fundamental shift in the way of doing things. Many organisations are starting to leverage technology to digitally transform their business processes for enhanced operational efficiency. The surge in data and analytical capabilities have also encouraged businesses to make informed decisions through data analysis rather than intuition.
Against this backdrop and alongside Singapore government’s push towards a Smart Nation, there is an increasing demand for analytics and technology (“A&T”)-focused roles such as data scientists, user experience designers, artificial intelligence engineers, and cybersecurity consultants. Other job functions such as sales, marketing, or human resource with A&T experience are also highly sought after. This has resulted in a supply crunch for such talents on a global scale, and companies have to constantly up their game to compete for A&T talents to deliver impactful products and services.
There are a few key challenges that have to be addressed when competing for technology talents:
- Lack of expertise: The field of A&T is developing at a pace beyond what most companies can keep up with. Skillsets are constantly evolving and without up-to-date expertise in this field, companies might find it difficult to determine job requirements, develop accurate job descriptions, evaluate candidates and assess job fit. Communication might also be a challenge as personnel specialising in A&T roles tend to use technical terms when describing their expertise.
- Unfamiliarity with local markets: For foreign companies operating in Singapore, they may not have enough knowledge of the local employment market such as employment law, industry, skillsets and potential talent pool. In addition, technology talents who are seeking job opportunities may also be unfamiliar with these companies, especially if they are new entrants. As a result, this would compromise the hiring effectiveness and competitiveness.
- Narrow reach: Smaller organisations often focus only on commonly used recruitment portals which would have excluded a subset of their potential talent pool. That is because, sometimes, there are talents who would be keen to discuss new opportunities but might not be actively looking for new jobs. For these passive talents, smaller organisations would not be able to tap on this resource pool if they do not maintain active connections with them. As these candidates are passive in job hunting and tend to have preferred modes of professional interactions, companies would need to engage them from different channels such as conferences and networking sessions.
- Resource constraints: Having a specialised recruitment team for technology personnel would be helpful. However, many companies, especially SMEs, are constrained by resources. They may also not have an in-house recruitment team to administer the entire hiring process. Further, technology is a fast-changing field characterised by agile decision making. If the recruitment process is lengthy, technology personnel might be discouraged and companies may consequently fail to engage them.
Such challenges are common, especially amongst SMEs. Unlike bigger companies, smaller ones typically do not hire enough staff and the inability to capitalise on economies of scale in their recruitment processes means that it is difficult for them to justify significant investments into their human resource team to address the above-mentioned challenges.
Nevertheless, the current shortage of technology talents is a reality. Despite best efforts by the Singapore government to boost the supply of local technology talents, this shortage shows little sign of abating at least in the short term. For companies looking to hire technology talents, they have to constantly stay on top of developments and constantly review their recruitment process to be competitive in their talent search.
This article was written by Ow Ghim Siong of our Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice.
To find out how our Technology, Media & Telecommunications team can assist you in your recruitment of technology staff, please consult our specialists:
Partner & Industry Lead, Technology, Media & Telecommunications
T +65 6594 7876
Yang Li Lian
Director & Head, Staffing & Recruitment Services
T +65 6594 7897