Start-ups and SMEs to drive demand for IT specialists in 2016: Randstad

December 17, 20151:00 pm299 views

As the government boosts investment to build Singapore into Southeast Asia’s answer to Silicon Valley, start-ups and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) will drive the greatest demand for IT professionals, according to recruitment firm Randstad.

Government initiatives, such as the Early Stage Venture Fund programme which has pumped $150 million into technology start-ups since 2008, have led to a demand for skills in full-stack, Java and mobile development as well as hybrid skills in UI/UX and cloud evangelists.

Associate Director for IT at Randstad Singapore, Daljit Sall, said the proliferation of Smartphone users and the rapid adoption of cloud technology in Singapore is driving strong demand for engineers, developers and designers with solid mobile experience.

“This demand is leading to large skills gaps for senior level mobile developers and cloud security specialists, and companies are resorting to filling senior positions with candidates from around the APAC region,” said Sall.

As the number of start-ups increase due to the high levels of venture capital investment, SMEs will be looking to hire the best tech talent around Singapore and Asia Pacific.

To attract the high calibre IT candidates, SMEs should play to Millennials’ entrepreneurial spirit by leveraging the appeal of building a company from the ground up. Working at a start-up also allows a level of creativity and experimentation that most large companies do not offer, in a less structured work environment.

“Start-ups also need to learn how to incentivise their employees. For example, young workers are generally more worried about work-life balance than career progression or personal growth, so it is important that employers set achievable goals and realistic work hours,” added Sall.

Across the sector, IT professionals in some roles can expect to see a salary increase of up to 5 per cent next year, with the average bonus in the vicinity of one to three months’ salary. Jobseekers looking to move to another company can expect an 8 to 13 per cent pay rise, with cloud specialists, cyber security experts, full-stack developers and UI/UX designers able to command the greatest jump.

Sall highlighted that as Singapore’s tech industry rapidly matures, a range of roles are expected to become obsolete within the next few years, including print-based graphic designers, ColdFusion developers, and non-cloud based roles.

However Sall believes that the future looks bright for evangelists of many new technologies including IoT (Internet of Things), augmented reality, virtual reality, driverless cars and holographic phones.

“With tech companies making up 10.6 per cent of all start-ups in Singapore, the industry will need to invest in talent acquisition and retention to be able to meet the demand for talent in the coming years.”

“Employers will need to support their staff by providing regular training to upgrade their skills. Additionally they should also provide structured leadership and development programmes that incorporate open feedback from employees to increase motivation,” Sall concludes.

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