IT sector bucks slow hiring trend

The information technology (IT) sector is Singapore's most buoyant when it comes to hiring new staff, according to a new report, which noted that the number of IT jobs advertised in the last three months of last year was up by 30 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

Recruitment firm Robert Walters tracked advertising volumes for executive appointments across leading job boards and national newspapers.

It was unable to say exactly how many jobs were added but other recruiters said they have seen uptick in demand for IT roles too.

In contrast, the number of jobs advertised across all sectors was down by 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, led by a 9 per cent decline in accounting and finance positions, the report found.

Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said: "With mergers and acquisitions and companies restructuring, some agitation in the workforce is expected. As such, recruiters will advertise for roles, keeping their eyes peeled for limited IT talent."

She is seeing more demand for roles related to applications, software, systems and the cloud, as well as jobs in digital IT, networks and security.

Australian telco operator TPG Networks, which is building its network here this year and aiming to roll out services next year, is expected to hire more telecommunications professionals.

Tech giant Google is expanding and forecast to take on more engineers. Online retail giant Amazon also said last year that it plans to expand into South-east Asia via Singapore. Its website lists 126 job openings here, including in IT.

Start-ups like Grab and smaller outfits will also emerge as key hirers this year, said Robert Walters.

Robert Walters South-east Asia managing director Toby Fowlston said: "A lot of these companies want millennials, they want people from varied backgrounds.

"Interestingly, they're not necessarily interested in people from the big corporates. A big challenge is, of course, pay. They're not going to pay like big corporates - they're start-ups."

Salaries for IT professionals are likely to stay flat, said Robert Walters. Limited hiring budgets could mean more junior talent is chosen to fill positions. It also said salaries are broadly expected to remain the same across all industries.

Ms Teo said: "Companies are tight-fisted over budgets in all sectors due to the uncertain economic situation and hirers cannot but hold back on pay increases."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'IT sector bucks slow hiring trend'. Print Edition | Subscribe