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 yesterday in his speech at the Singapore Computer Society's (SCS') gala dinner.
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 place schemes to help small and medium-sized enterprises 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. While the number of students admitted to ICT courses in local universities has increased by some 30 per cent in the last five years, Singapore also must stay open to people from other countries, he said. "The shortfalls are in every area, such as network and infrastructure, IT development, data analytics and cyber security," he added.