DPM Tharman urges all firms to take advantage of the digital economy

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam says the demand for ICT professionals is expected to grow by 50,000 by next year.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam says the demand for ICT professionals is expected to grow by 50,000 by next year. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - All firms, not just those dealing with technology, need to take advantage of the digital economy to raise productivity and income levels of their workers.

This was the call Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam made on Friday (March 10) in his speech at the Singapore Computer Society's (SCS) gala dinner to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Even as Singapore creates an environment where firms that are close to the global frontiers of innovation can thrive, it is equally important to ensure that new technologies spread rapidly and widely, across the rest of the economy, he said.

The country already has a head start to do this, he explained, pointing to "a workforce well educated in maths and science, fast and pervasive connectivity, a strong intellectual property regime and a cosmopolitan environment ".

The Government, he added, has put in schemes to help SMEs take advantage of digital technology.

With the demand for infocomm technology (ICT) professionals expected to grow by 50,000 by next year, there will be a need to build local talent. And while the number of students admitted to ICT courses in local universities has increased by about 30 per cent in the last five years, he said, Singapore must also stay open to people from other countries, which requires a careful balance, he said.

"The shortfalls are in every area, such as network and infrastructure, IT development, data analytics and cyber-security," he added.