Zebra Technologies officially opened its new regional headquarters in Singapore earlier this week and confirmed that it is looking to hire more local talent, although company spokespersons did not provide exact numbers. One of Zebra's specializations is highly durable contactless technology used for inventory tracking and supply chain management among other functions—a segment that boomed during 2020 as companies rushed to digitize and automate their workflows.
Ideally, the company's expansion will create quality and high-skilled jobs, according to Ryan Goh, Vice President and General Manager of Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific (above right). The Singapore headquarters currently employs about 150 staff, including its R&D team and the finance, legal, and sales teams. The R&D team in particular is likely to expand over the next few years.
“We invested in Singapore because we know we can get high-skilled talent R&D and tech talent here,” Goh said at the launch event. Zebra has had a business presence in Singapore since 2008.
The new headquarters is specifically designed to accommodate hybrid work and hotdesking. Approximately 40 percent of the office space is set up for hotdesking, with certain teams—mainly R&D and sales—expected to utilize the hotdesking option more frequently, according to Zebra's Regional Director for Southeast Asia Lim Fang How.
“We had already been moving towards a telecommuting scenario, not because of COVID-19, but because our employee survey showed that employees value the flexibility of working from home or working outside the office,” Goh said. “So when the pandemic impacted us, we had no trouble transitioning to working from home.”
The shift away from a traditional office setup and towards greater flexibility is also an advantage in attracting the kind of R&D and tech or engineering talent the company needs, he pointed out.
“Increasingly, R&D talent is younger,” he observed. “Their expectations of the workplace are different.”
“Also, we want to create an environment where people enjoy coming together. R&D is about collaboration. So we have created a lot of collaborative spaces throughout the office—this is one example of how we try to attract local tech talent.”
The competition for R&D, tech, and engineering talent has been stiff in Singapore and around the region since before COVID-19, with the demand from engineering firms far outstripping the number of local graduates who actually enter the profession. With the pandemic having accelerated automation, the talent crunch is not likely to ease any time soon.
Image: Zebra Technologies. Minister of State Low Yen Ling, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth (left), officiates the opening of Zebra Technologies’ APAC HQ Launch alongside Ryan Goh, Vice President and General Manager, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific (right).