Boom time for IT workers in singapore

Vacancies, part of global shortage, jump more than five-fold to 5,700 in two years

LABOUR markets are tightening all round, but this is an especially good time to be an information technology (IT) professional.
Salaries are rising in line with the insatiable demand for such workers, who have seen their pay jump by up to $100,000 a year for top jobs in recent years.

The number of vacancies in the IT sector has jumped from just over 1,000 jobs in 2003 to about 5,700 jobs in 2005, according to the latest Infocomm Development Authority manpower surveys.

The latest salary review from recruitment company Robert Walters also showed that there was a shortage of 'good quality candidates' in the IT industry, part of a global shortage across many sectors.

Robert Walters, which is based in England and specialises in mid- to senior-level positions, reported big increases in salaries in some industries across the world.

In Singapore's tech industry, these increases range from about $10,000 a year for a business solutions architect to about $100,000 a year for a chief information officer, compared to figures in 2003.

The red-hot IT sector is not unique to Singapore. Nor is it the only one in which employers are desperately seeking workers.

In India, for example, the software industry expects to see about 380,000 new jobs this year, even as companies in other sectors, from manufacturing to retail, are also scrambling to fill vacancies.

Indian conglomerate Tata Group's head of human resources, Mr Satish Pradhan, said: 'Staffing is getting to be like capital - if you have not lined up enough inflows to support your growth, you are in trouble.'

The key factor driving the IT boom in Singapore is the upbeat view of the economy, prompting companies to dust off the IT projects they had shelved after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and the Sars outbreak in 2003.

This has created more jobs, especially mid-level to senior-level ones.

A manager with Robert Walters specialising in the IT industry, Mr Tejas Bhuptani, said many senior positions were 'shifted or scrapped' during the Sars days and the downturn that followed.

'Now, companies find their IT systems are old, while they have new funds coming in.

'They are hiring more senior people to look after these projects and mentor the junior ones, who have not had anyone mentoring them over the past few years,' he said.

This trend was also identified by a separate report by recruitment and human resources consultant Hudson, which said business confidence had grown substantially from last year and 'many companies in all sectors are investing in IT again'.

The job boom also comes from the Singapore Government's drive to attract multinational companies (MNCs) to base their global IT departments in Singapore.

IT workers can comprise up to 30 per cent of the entire staff of a large MNC investment banking company, translating to jobs numbering in the thousands, said Robert Walters associate director Roger Olofsson.

The hot areas: project management, as well as security and business analysis, to name a few.

Of these, project management and infocomm security rank as two of five areas that face the greatest shortage of skilled manpower, an IDA manpower survey last year showed.

A spokesman for IT company NCS said there is 'especially high demand' in the industry because it 'requires personnel with IT skills or niche skill sets'.

'In addition, it is not easy to recruit candidates who understand the global market well,' she said.

To entice such workers, it is not enough to dangle a bigger pay cheque, noted a statement from Robert Walters.

'Employers are having to offer more attractive packages, move more swiftly and be more flexible and imaginative in order to secure the right candidates,' it said.

While candidates can now afford to compare salary offers, IT company IBM's country manager for human resources, Ms Tho Lye Sam, said people also made their choices based on a 'holistic' compensation package instead of just 'cold, hard cash'.

'They do find things like medical benefits and workplace flexibility important to them too,' she said.

Source: Mar 12, 2007
The Straits Times

1 comment:

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