Amid economic doomsaying, Singapore upskills workforce
Global recession can have a bearing on the economy of Singapore but the island nation can tide over the crisis, said Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo.
Economists have warned that the job market in 2023 will not be as rosy as it was in 2022.
This is partly due to growing global recession concerns and slowing demand conditions. The gloomy prediction prompted authorities and private organisations to gear up for the slowdown.
According to Teo, the economy can rebound through careful manoeuvring of policies that can create job opportunities despite the ongoing massive tech job cuts around the world.
She is optimistic about investment and said the drive is on to reskill and upskill Singaporeans for career opportunities in technology.
Other sectors ramping up their hiring of tech talent include banking, logistics, and accommodation.
Teo sought to allay fears that tech opportunities may be dwindling following Microsoft and Amazon’s last week’s announcements of cutting a total of 28,000 jobs across the globe, citing slowing sales and a possible recession.
Google’s parent company Alphabet, Facebook owner Meta and Twitter have also announced layoffs, which may impact their Singapore presence.
“The question, of course, on everyone’s minds, is: Should we be worried about opportunities in tech? Is it foolhardy to continue encouraging our people to look at opportunities in tech?” she said at the launch of Step IT Up, a tech talent conversion event on Thursday.
She also empathised with the kin of retrenched employees. “Right-sizing the workforce for these tech companies is a painful exercise, particularly for the affected individuals and their families. But without a more disciplined approach to headcount growth, tech companies risked becoming more bloated and less agile,” she said.
Step IT Up programme would ensure upskilling 400 people without coding experience to become software developers over the next two years.
The event is targeting Singaporeans or permanent residents without a background in tech. They will be trained specifically for tech jobs secured for them.
Each cohort will undergo a four-month intensive training phase that is tailored specifically for jobs that trainees have been placed in, exposing them to the workplace and platforms used.
The first batch of 22 graduates, who started in late 2022, will join Temus as full-time employees in March. They were coached to code using Microsoft’s .Net framework to prepare them to work with public- and private-sector clients, said a Temus spokesman on Thursday.
With plans to increase Temus’ workforce by five times to 1,000 by 2025, Yeoh said training workers without a tech background is crucial in today’s market, where there is a limited pool of tech talent.
“That’s one way to get a competitive advantage today. We could choose to compete in the (market) for those with tech careers. But if you do that, you’re hiring from a limited pool, where the demand for tech talent is high.
He added that graduates will be paid a competitive wage in line with the market. Trainees are also paid $3,000 monthly during the training.