Tech talent most in demand as Singapore hiring picks up in 2022: Surveys

Salaries in areas such as technology will rise significantly due to the talent shortage, according to the survey. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - As Singapore hiring activity picks up in 2022 and workers look to switch jobs, tech talent will be particularly in demand, according to two surveys by recruitment firms released on Monday (Dec 6).

Salaries in areas such as technology will rise significantly due to the talent shortage, said the Robert Walters Salary Survey 2022, though it gave no estimates. But even in other areas, professionals moving between jobs can expect to command salary premiums of 10 to 15 per cent, said the survey.

In the tech and transformation industry in 2022, 85 per cent of Singapore firms are giving pay rises - the highest among seven sectors covered by the survey, matched only by the human resources sector.

The top tech roles in demand are data scientists or engineers; cybersecurity specialists; and developers of all sorts: front-end, back-end, and full-stack.

Another sector facing a "very high" level of difficulty in hiring talent, according to the report, is commerce finance. Most in-demand are business controllers, senior financial analysts, and financial reporting managers.

As most firms that have been recovering from the pandemic are adjusting salaries back to pre-pandemic levels, "finance professionals with niche skillsets and strong business partnering skills can expect increments of between 20 per cent to 40 per cent", said the report.

In its 2022 Market Outlook and Salary Snapshot Report, Randstad Singapore focused on four high-growth industries: information technology, manufacturing and supply chain, banking and financial services, and insurance.

With the pandemic prompting a digital shift, demand for tech talent rose correspondingly in 2021. "And we don't see a slowdown happening in 2022," said Randstad Singapore senior director for technology recruitment Daljit Sall. He expects a "global acceleration in the movement of talent" over the next year or so as border restrictions relax, and more tech workers switch jobs.

Even in other industries, such as banking and financial services, tech talent will be much sought after in areas such as cybersecurity and data analytics. Besides that, banks are also looking for expertise related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts.

Job switching is also expected in manufacturing, where border curbs have caused a worker shortage, said Randstad Singapore associate director for construction, property and engineering Yit Wei Kwan.

"I foresee that this shortage in manpower will lead to candidates changing jobs more frequently because they have the upper hand," said Kwan.

The Randstad report also provided post-pandemic salary benchmarks for roles in each of these industries. For instance, a junior software engineer can expect to make $5,000 a month, and an experienced one, $14,000.

The Robert Walters survey, which covered 608 respondents from six South-east Asian countries, found that slightly over half of respondents in Singapore intend to change jobs in the next six months.

Career progression was the top reason, cited by over two-thirds of these respondents, followed by salary increases, cited by 59 per cent.

The industries with the most respondents indicating that they intend to change jobs in 2022 were sales and marketing (83 per cent), financial services (76 per cent), and human resources (71 per cent).

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