5 of the best tech companies to work for in Singapore

Meeting area outside a pantry at Facebook Singapore.
Meeting area outside a pantry at Facebook Singapore.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Clockwise from above: A small gaming area, the open-air patio, a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.
A small gaming area, the open-air patio (above), a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The office of Facebook Singapore. The company is one of the five tech companies featured as the best tech companies to work for in Singapore.
The office of Facebook Singapore. The company is one of the five tech companies featured as the best tech companies to work for in Singapore.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Meeting spaces at Google can be quite unconventional, such as the Google express which resembles train carriages.
Meeting spaces at Google can be quite unconventional, such as the Google express which resembles train carriages.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The central meeting point in the Ubisoft office is a large open pantry that comes with a game lounge and a ping-pong table.
The central meeting point in the Ubisoft office is a large open pantry that comes with a game lounge and a ping-pong table.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Razer's office has a recreational area complete with a foosball table, a console gaming area and a LAN gaming centre.
Razer's office has a recreational area complete with a foosball table, a console gaming area and a LAN gaming centre.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Lunch is a wholesome affair and free at the top level of ViewQwest's five-storey shophouse office in Bukit Timah Road.
Lunch is a wholesome affair and free at the top level of ViewQwest's five-storey shophouse office in Bukit Timah Road.PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Corporate culture that encourages creativity is a common denominator, Lester Hio reports.

Facebook, Google, Razer, Ubisoft and ViewQwest - the five tech companies featured in this report - are a sampling of how tech companies operate today and what they offer their employees.

As global tech companies, Facebook and Google have garnered accolades for setting the pace in workplace environment and culture.

Google established the benchmark for now-established practices such as free flow of food and flexible work arrangements, which Facebook adopted in scale.

 
 
 
 
 

These practices have carried over to their Singapore offices and positioned them among the most desirable employers to work for.

Ubisoft Singapore (and Microsoft Singapore) were recently named among the best tech companies to work for by the Singapore Computer Society. Ubisoft was selected for its strong emphasis on innovation and human resource management.

Razer and ViewQwest, both homegrown companies, also made the list for competing with the big boys on their own turf despite being much smaller, and by implementing practices that benefit their employees.

One term that was constantly brought up by the companies featured was "culture" in all of its variations - be it people, flexibility, innovation or even "hacker".

The physical environment of the workplace helps to shape the corporate culture, and creativity is one overarching element of the culture.

The techies drawn to such companies are not the usual corporate types, notes Mr Joel Hides, director of IT and financial services at Robert Walters Singapore. Instead, they are passionate about expressing their creativity from a technical standpoint to find solutions to difficult problems, making creativity vital to their jobs.

Workspaces that breed creativity not only attract and hold top talent, but also contribute to a company's ability to innovate and stay successful, says Mr Daljit Sall, associate director of IT with Randstad Singapore, a recruitment firm.

He says: "Providing recreational areas and well-stocked pantries is one way to engage the best creative and innovative tech minds. Encouraging a flexible work style with regular breaks throughout the day keeps creative minds refreshed."

Another quality common to such employers is flexibility in working arrangements, an attitude that says: "As long as your work is finished, I don't care how you do it."

This may mean that no one finds it out of the ordinary if employees are gaming, hitting the gym or even taking a nap in the middle of the work day just to recharge.

This works only if employees are in sync with the larger goals of the company, so that work does actually get done.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2015, with the headline 'GREAT PLACES TO WORK'. Print Edition | Subscribe