Category Archives: Singapore ICT Manpower

Engineering Talent – Introspection Needed on how Singapore has Failed Locals


Today’s newspapers quoted Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as saying that while engineering was key to the country’s future “it has become harder to woo Singaporeans into the profession.”

He goes on to say that “Singapore is also not at the cutting edge” in most engineering fields.

Govt Must Take Blame: As he is a forward-looking, intelligent leader, I guess it has also occurred to him that the government must take the blame for its failure to build this critical talent pool within the country.

When most Singaporeans are kept out of the local universities, with a significant portion of engineering courses being taken up by foreigners, how can we expect the situation to be any better?

I may have my statistics wrong but I wish the local media take a crack on investigative reporting to get to the bottom of it.

Mr Lee has also talked about how Silicon Valley is scoring over Singapore. Of course, it does with all the foreign students Singapore accommodates, at the expense of locals, only eyeing Silicon Valley. Those staying back are not the type of talent Singapore needs – Silicon Valley discards!

China and India: Mr Lee also goes on to say: “Even in Asia, countries like China and India not only have larger pools of talent, but deeper capabilities and they have created IT firms that are world leaders.”

The reasons are simple: They are a thousand times bigger than Singapore and they don’t fill their universities with foreigners.

I have written several posts in the past, so I don’t wish to harp on how Singapore has failed locals in terms of education. Here are some of them that can be checked out:

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Filed under Education, Singapore Education, Singapore ICT Manpower, Singapore job scene

Singapore Must do More to Address ICT Skills Gap among Citizens

Singapore Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say told Parliament on Thursday that two-thirds of personnel employed in the ICT sector were residents. By residents, he meant both citizens and PRs.

Data covering only citizens will have been helpful as PRs are foreigners too, just as those on work permits here. I have no doubt they will be available, it is the responsibility of newspapers to go beyond quoting Ministers and make reporting meaningful with such statistics. One can hardly expect that from The Straits Times.

Intelligent Island and a Smart Nation: Having been in the ICT sector for the last 20 years, I have found a skills gap among locals. The Singapore government has consistently been technology-focused, transforming the country into an Intelligent Island by year 2000. Its current push is on making Singapore the world’s first Smart Nation.

But not much has been done in terms of preparing locals to support the drive. The Education authorities do not seem to have done enough to draw Singaporeans into science and technology courses in the local universities.

I find that even diploma holders from countries such as India have been able to land ICT jobs here. Is Singapore that desperate?

The government needs to do more to encourage citizens to take up ICT courses in universities.

Let them also be more transparent when they release critical data – without clubbing Singaporeans with PRs.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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