News: ISFNET expands into SEA, aims to hire bilingual engineers through new Singapore office


ISFNET expands into SEA, aims to hire bilingual engineers through new Singapore office

The new Singapore-based business, GLOBAL ISF, aims to meet ongoing demand for infrastructure engineers who can speak Japanese, Korean, and English.
ISFNET expands into SEA, aims to hire bilingual engineers through new Singapore office

Japan-headquartered IT infrastructure services and staffing company ISFNET has launched the expansion of its global business with a new office in Singapore. Opened on 1 December and officially announced last week, the new business, GLOBAL ISF, aims to primarily serve IT infrastructure projects in Japan and Korea. It will recruit Japanese-English and Korean-English speaking bilingual IT infrastructure engineers from Singapore and other parts of Asia to work on these projects.

One of the reasons for the new business is steep demand for bilingual talent, coming specifically from Japanese and Korean companies that wish to expand in the region but face language barriers. At present, only 10% of ISFNET's approximately 2,000 engineers are bilingual in Japanese and English. But according to Yukiyoshi Watanabe, the founder, President, and CEO of ISF NET (above, right, with Kohei Wakamoto, Managing Director of GLOBAL ISF), that number needs to increase to 30% in order to meet projected demand – a challenge in an environment where there is already stiff competition for engineers, and made more difficult by the scarcity of engineers who are specifically bilingual in the desired languages.

ISFNET is investing approximately USD13.5 million (2 billion yen) in the venture and has set a sales target of USD20.3 million (3 billion yen) for the new business.

Can in-house training alleviate the talent shortage?

Speaking at the launch of GLOBAL ISF, Watanabe said that ISFNET has a track record of training infrastructure engineers, and around 80% of ISFNET-trained engineers go on to work with major companies.

ISFNET is among the largest specialist providers of security, cloud, and network infrastructure services, and the wide range of projects the company works on makes it popular with engineers who wish to expand their skills and experience, according to Watanabe. This also creates an ideal environment for training using a 'skill-sharing' approach.

Within the company's engineering base, engineers at executive level, senior level, mid-experience level, and even some freelance or contract engineers are matched with new or junior engineers to mentor them on the job. The new engineers are supported both by their experienced counterparts and by back-end staff. Each pairing lasts about 18 months, and costs during this period are borne by the company. This on-the-job learning advantage makes learning 3 or 4 times quicker than it would otherwise be, Watanabe estimated.

At the same time, the new business will make efforts to support competitive pay, given that the low availability of engineering talent combined with currency differences makes the salary base in Singapore noticeably higher than than in Japan.

“I believe that anyone should be able to work anywhere they want, and their pay should be relevant to their skillsets,” Watanabe said. “In 10 years' time, I hope to create such an environment for infrastructure service engineers.”

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Topics: Recruitment, #Jobs

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