Photo of Patrick Tay from CNA

After acknowledging that university admission would be capped at 30%, the Singapore government today (May 22) complained about the lack of Information Communications Technology (ICT) talents in the market. A government study conducted by NTUC wrote that there are plenty of jobs in the ICT sector but not enough Singaporeans to fill them:

“Jobs abound in the booming information-and-communications technology (ICT) sector, particularly in areas such as virtual and augmented reality and data analytics, but there appears to be a shortage of talent here to assume these jobs.”

The NTUC study also complained about having not enough fresh graduates for entry-level ICT jobs, but did not explain whether if the government would ramp up on local university admission or import fresh degree holders from overseas especially from India.

NTUC’s Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay commented on the study blaming Singaporeans for skills mismatch:

“In furtherance of the various Smart Nation initiatives, the Government also projects demand for another 53,200 ICT jobs by 2018 in Singapore… Despite the demand for jobs in the sector, there appears to be a labour crunch, as employers seek to hire experienced professionals with specialised skills. We have a shortage of people with the skills, training, acumen and appetite for the ICT job openings.  I personally know of many who despite having studied Information Systems; Computing; Computer Engineering or Computer Science who did not end up taking on software development or programming jobs (which are in-demand).  Many choose to go into systems development and project management roles.”

The PAP MP also subtly acknowledged that the education ministry has failed in its planning resulting a “time lag” to meet market labour demands:

“We have expanded ICT courses across our IHLs but there will be a time lag. With rapid technology change as a backdrop, both private and public Continuing Education and Training (CET) centres (including those in our IHLs), play a crucial role in ensuring that the needed and necessary skills, competencies and knowledge reach the market ‘yesterday’.”

Despite calling for Singaporeans to rush into the ICT sector where he claimed have “jobs abound”, MP Patrick Tay contradicted himself later saying the sector is also seeing rising layoffs:

“The ICT sector is also still being hit by collateral effects from other sectors which are consolidating and offshoring, such as oil and gas, and offshore and marine, and layoffs may continue.”