Where are Singapore’s engineering and IT talent?

What if I told you there’s one industry in Singapore that offers exciting opportunities and a steady supply of job openings? What would you say if I asked you to guess what degree you’d need to get a job there?

Did you say you had a bachelor’s degree in business? Many people believe that this will give them the best chance at a well-paying and stable job, and they have staked their education on it.

According to the Manpower Ministry Labour Force reports, the percentage of graduates with a business-related degree has increased since 2008, owing to more private education institutions offering business courses.

However, a business degree is not the answer. It’s a degree in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Despite this, the number of STEM graduates has decreased over time, even as the number of STEM jobs has increased.

According to CEO Jim Rowan, Dyson plans to hire more electronic engineers in Singapore as it transitions from mechanical engineering to software and electronics. Grab plans to double its workforce by 2020, with 3,000 employees working out of its new One-North headquarters.

According to a report released by Glassdoor in 2018, tech hiring has outpaced the finance sector. From January to November 2018, there were 4,715 unique jobs available in the finance industry than 5,806 open technology jobs.

The tech talent gap in our local market is widening due to a shrinking number of STEM graduates and a growing number of STEM jobs.


While Singapore has attractive Intellectual Property laws and low corporate tax rates, our limited STEM talent pool may be holding us back in the race to become the region’s most innovative market.

Companies looking to expand their operations in other countries frequently assess the local talent pool’s capabilities.

Undoubtedly, a city with a higher proportion of STEM talent will be more appealing. One with a flexible workforce and immigration policy that can issue hassle-free and expedited work visas to highly skilled workers are also favoured.

For these reasons, global tech companies and start-ups flock to world capitals like New York, Zurich, and even Estonia countries.

Find out what the experts think.

A STEM-related degree is held by nearly one-quarter of all graduates in Dublin, Ireland. From 2017 to 2018, the country saw a 34% increase in graduates with ICT qualifications, expanding its qualified candidates’ pool.

More than eight out of ten Cornell Tech graduates work full-time in the tech industry in New York. Founders of tech start-ups account for nearly one in every six people.


Attitudes have contributed to Singapore’s poor talent pipeline and shortage of skilled tech professionals.

According to a recent 3M global science perception survey, only 9 to 18% of people said physical science, mathematics, life sciences, or engineering diploma would lead to satisfying careers.

Although nine out of ten people agree that science is necessary to address global challenges and wish they knew more about science, this is the case.

However, the job market has changed. Our economies’ digital transformation, fueled by huge technological leaps, has resulted in a surge in demand for tech professionals in recent years.


Technology is transforming a wide range of industries.

To help patients afford better care, researchers are developing cost-effective and effective MedTech solutions.

Financial institutions can use blockchain to ensure smooth and ethical money transfers. Agritech firms are racing to develop environmentally sustainable solutions and healthier produce so that future generations can continue to call the planet home.

As data unlocks new uses and the Internet of Things can transform lives, technology will drive the future of work. The emphasis will be on technology literacy.

However, Singapore has a severe shortage of STEM talent capable of realizing technology’s potential and discovering new commercial applications, particularly in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and computer vision (including facial recognition programmes).

Cheryl Henson

Cheryl Henson is a passionate blogger and digital marketing professional who loves writing, reading, and sharing blogs on various topics.

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