Singapore, with an ageing population and a shortage of high-tech workers, finds it necessary to bring in foreign talent.
Singapore: In a report published earlier in September by LinkedIn Talent Solutions, titled "Emerging Jobs: Singapore", the talent that moved from India feature prominently in 4 of the top 5 fastest growing jobs in the country.
Singapore is a densely populated city-island of about 600 square kilometres or roughly two-and-half times smaller than the National Capital Territory of Delhi, with a population of about 5.6 million.
Out of that, 3.5 million are citizens and about half a million are permanent residents. Singapore is grappling with declining birth-rates amongst citizens and their inability to replace themselves.
As a result, it requires foreign workers in areas where it is lacking to continue to sustain its economic development as well as maintain its attractiveness to investors, its vibrancy and position as a global financial and innovation hub.
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Singapore's Education Minister said in a Bloomberg interview published last week that Singapore, with an ageing population and a shortage of high-tech workers, finds it necessary to bring in foreign talent in areas like software programming and artificial intelligence (AI), while the country re-balances its education system to meet future demands.
He added that while a quota system will be kept in place for lower-skilled industries like construction, little restriction will be placed on foreign high-end jobs.
Mr Ong added, "Talent is very short everywhere in the world- AI talent, software programmers. We let them in because we require a critical mass for the sector to take off, while we continue to train Singaporeans for those jobs."
Some observers say that due to the rapid pace of change, by the time students graduate from their technical undergrad programme, half of what they learnt in the first year will have become outdated.
Indeed, today's top emerging jobs in the LinkedIn report may not even have existed 5 years ago or may just be someone's idea of a fanciful job title- for example, Growth Marketers, User Experience Designers.
The LinkedIn report compares data from 2 million Singapore-based LinkedIn users from 2013 to 2017 to identify the top up-and-coming roles and skills required for each job. It also looks at the roles that are increasing in demand and where the talent comes from and where it resides today.
So, what are the top five emerging jobs in Singapore?
According to LinkedIn, they are data scientist, cyber security specialist, user experience designer, head of digital and content specialist. In the 5 years surveyed, job titles related to data science grew 17 times, that of Cyber Security Specialist grew by 5.5 times, User Experience Designer by 3.4 times and Head of Digital and Content Specialist both by three times.
LinkedIn also noted that although the core job description might be that of technology, software, coding or data skills, soft skills are more so required by organisations today. Companies desire employees that are adaptable, able to collaborate and have leadership skills on top of project management skills and the ability to communicate clearly.
Singapore has been doing a decent job in investing in education, lifelong learning and upskilling its workforce. The education system also does well in anticipating the demands of employers.
Inspite of this, the talent for emerging roles while in high demand, is lacking- both in Singapore and globally. With fierce competition expected for limited talent, the "perfect candidate" could be highly sought after and well-paid.
Talent that has moved from India to Singapore in the last five years feature in four of the top five emerging roles in terms of the proportion of international talent that end up working in Singapore.
Of the workers that have moved from India to Singapore, they are most numerous in roles of data scientist and cyber security specialist. For example, out of all data scientists that have relocated to find work in Singapore, 22% were previously based in India and 14%were previously based in France.
For cyber security specialists, 19% of people who moved to Singapore were previously working in India before coming to Singapore to work while 13% worked in Australia before starting work in Singapore.
Content Specialists, who had jobs in India before coming to Singapore to work, form the joint highest group at 14.5%, the same as workers who had previously worked in the United Kingdom. Talent from India in the field of user experience design ranked fourth forming 7% of all foreigners who have moved to Singapore.
The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore says that its data showed that of these roles surveyed by LinkedIn, foreigners take up just 30% of the jobs. The rest are filled by Singapore citizens.
In the job market today, increasing emphasis is placed on cross-industry skills and soft skills. Those most successful in their careers are able to apply their technical know-how across different industries and also able to communicate and collaborate well with colleagues and partners.
Singapore has unique and growing job requirements as many Multinational Corporations (MNCs) have their regional headquarters here. The government also aggressively encourages more and more MNCs to set-up office here.
As such, demand for highly specialised talent will continue to grow and foreign talent will be necessary to fill the jobs created in the new digital economy as long as insufficient locals have the skills, work experience, and knowledge to do so.