Singapore’s goal of becoming a high-tech financial hub is running into real-world problems of labor supply and demand. While the nation’s universities and polytechnic schools churn out an estimated 400 graduates every year, Singapore also has the goal of adding 1,000 financial tech jobs each year. This, combined with tech startups around the world fighting to attract skilled workers, leaves Singapore in with a significant skill gap to overcome.
To address this gap, the government is considering specific initiatives to ease the talent crunch in sectors with a shortage of qualified labor; however, more work in this direction needs to be done, with many industry associations calling for more experimental measures such as a one-year employment pass for technology workers. In reality, Singapore needs to reexamine an immigration policy that was significantly tightened in 2011. Although initially enacted to protect native-born workers, it has served to hinder the nation’s true development potential in many sectors, especially in a technology sector that requires a very specific skill set.