SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s pursuit of foreign tech talent as it ramps up efforts to be able to grow in the sector, the trade minister said on Monday, adding that the local population would also benefit from the plan in the midst of the concern about the preservation of their jobs when the economy sours.
FILE PHOTO: Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing speaks for the signing of the ASEAN countries and agreement was reached on the ASEAN Summit in Singapore, November 12, 2018. (REUTERS photo/Edgar Su
The Asian city-state is already home to the regional offices for hundreds of companies like Facebook and Google, and in a cluster, the cluster hopes to become a global tech hub, the “hub” of the future of the economy.
“We are accelerating our efforts to develop our tech talent,” Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing told parliament.
“The demand for tech talent by far surpasses the local offerings… and We need to supplement our pipeline with skilled workers from all corners of the world.”
“We’re very aware of the fact that this subject matter can easily be stirred up because of the emotions involved, and because it is a job… However, we should not go down the path of other countries that are beginning to set up obstacles and an inward-looking, protectionist approach,” Chan said.
He said he was stepping up efforts to grow the tech sector, “it is precisely because of the uncertainties in the economic outlook”.
Foreign labor has long been a socially sensitive subject in Singapore, which is a result of the holding of an election in the next 18 months. It’s been considered to be one of the biggest issues for the voters, the ruling party’s worst election results in 2011.
This is a tightening of the terms and conditions for the hiring of foreign professionals, over the past few years, and then in February of quotas for foreign workers in the services sector would continue to be able to be reduced. (few.rs/30SI9PI) (few.rs/34kvqHF)
The risks of an impending recession, growth is at a decade-low and, with a slight increase in civilian unemployment rate, although low by world standards, at 3.3% of them – have brought the issue back into the spotlight.
However, Chan said that Singapore cannot afford to “sit back” in the midst of a global shortage of tech talent, with an indication of the objections raised by the companies with expansion plans, such as Alibaba and Grab it.
“We only have a short window to build up a critical mass of high-end professionals, start-ups and businesses,” said Chan.
“How do we do that we will have to decide whether we as a tech hub or not. We need to be right now, and quickly.”
Reporting Fathin Ungku; Editing by John Geddie and Subhranshu Sahu