What should employers look out for in 2023? With shifts in domestic and international markets, employers look ahead to 2023 for potential opportunities and complications in their hiring and talent management.
Workipedia by MyCareersFuture brings to you the latest insights on the tech sector’s hiring and salary outlook in 2023, shared by industry experts from Robert Walters Singapore – Associate Director Faiz Modak, Senior Consultant Stephanie Tan, and Manager Sachet Sethi.
Tech sector: 2022 review, 2023 forecast and trends
- Demand for talents in the tech sector is projected to remain high in 2023.
- Salaries for tech roles are expected to rise in 2023, with some market correction.
- Whilst technical skillsets remain important, soft skills and consulting experience are increasingly sought after by employers.
- Employers need to attract and retain the best tech talent in their companies by building a more inspiring, inclusive and flexible work culture that keeps employees engaged.
Shifts in demand for tech talents across 2022
Stephanie: Singapore’s demand for local tech talent was high in 2022, even as the industry draws a talent pool from other countries. With increased EP costs and S Pass quota limits in place, companies have turned towards local candidates to fill open roles. In the past year, local candidates were spoilt for choice as companies competed to win them over. Companies were also making hires based on their potential, with the intention of training these candidates.
Sachet: In early 2022, the tech hiring market for engineering, data and analytics was bustling with activity as companies had to move fast and grow their teams with preferred candidates within a limited talent pool. But circumstances have shifted since then.
In the second half of 2022, the market saw a slight correction from the over-hiring during COVID times as companies began adjusting their hiring requirements. Demand remains high for senior positions or niche skillsets, but companies have approached hiring more selectively.
Growth of banking and financial services drives demand for tech talent
Faiz: Recruitment for tech talent soared in the banking and financial services sector in 2022, as companies had reactivated budgets and projects that were put on hold during the pandemic. The launch of virtual banks in Singapore has also created fresh demand for tech professionals with domain experience in banking and financial services. The fintech industry is also going through a growth stage, with the payments and e-commerce sectors leading the way.
While the tech talent crunch in Singapore persists, the Tech.Pass initiative will help companies attract senior tech talent who have worked in a global environment. These candidates will have a positive impact on the local talent pool by imparting their skillsets and experience.
More fintech firms expected to set up shop in Singapore
Faiz: Singapore is a top financial hub. It was third in rankings, behind only New York and London. Thus, many firms will continue establishing a strong tech footprint in Singapore. The local government has also set up various initiatives through the Economic Development Board and Infocomm Media Development Authority to attract foreign investment. A governance framework to ease the process of setting up business in Singapore has also been put in place, so we’ve seen many family offices and tech firms choosing Singapore for their regional base.
The pandemic’s toll on China and Hong Kong markets have also spurred more companies to move to Singapore. Against this backdrop, most of the hiring in 2023 is anticipated to be driven by e-commerce, fintech and banking.
This comes as firms look to invest in automation, innovation, digital transformation and new ways of working.
Finally, more hiring is expected within the crypto and Web3 space. While these sectors are at a low now, many firms are capitalising on the situation to gain access to talents.
Opportunities abound for contract, remote workers
Stephanie: The tail end of 2022 saw MNCs implementing hiring freezes in anticipation of budget cuts. Nevertheless, we foresee that companies will take the contracting route to hire hands-on talent for ongoing projects. As a recession looms ahead with the Russia-Ukraine war, it’s likely that more workers will take on contract positions as well.
Additionally, remote work will be the trend moving forward as companies start diversifying their resources.
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What skills are in demand in the tech sector?
Technical and soft skills are both equally important
Sachet: Demand is high for all types of roles in tech. Technical skill sets that are highly sought after include Python, full stack development, data and analytics, cybersecurity, cloud automation and DevOps.
Companies are also on the lookout for individuals who can manage stakeholders, articulate their thoughts well, and be a good cultural fit. Therefore, candidates with the right soft skills really stand out in the market.
Stephanie: Companies will need talent to help bring products and solutions to life. Full-stack developers will continue to be highly sought after, especially if skilled in Python, Java or C#. The same goes for candidates with proven experience in UI/UX. The market will also seek talent in L2 production support, cloud infrastructure solutions and cybersecurity.
High demand for candidates with financial services, consulting experience
Faiz: The most in-demand skillsets in the year include product management, project management, business analysis, Agile and UI/UX. Candidates with experience in financial services, consulting, advisory or global markets will continue to be highly sought after. Popular roles on the market include project managers, product managers, business analysts, agile coaches and scrum masters.
How can employers attract and retain tech talent?
Promote an inspirational work culture
Stephanie: The tech space is a candidate-driven market, and it’s common for candidates to switch jobs after one to two years in a role.
Candidates today know their worth, and generally don’t hesitate to quit if they feel underappreciated or if they find greener pastures.
Bearing this in mind, companies are advised to attract talent by developing an inspirational culture. Besides sponsoring courses for employees to upskill and learn different technologies, companies should also accommodate salary increments and flexible work arrangements.
Provide a flexible and inclusive work environment
Sachet: Culture is vital when it comes to retaining talent in 2023. Retaining talent is difficult, but companies can build loyalty by providing a flexible and inclusive work environment, for instance, by offering flexible and remote work arrangements instead of a five-day work week. Consider implementing bespoke benefits policies that take your teams’ unique circumstances into account. Employees appreciate it when management grants them the flexibility to pick up children from school, or altered insurance policies for ongoing health problems.
Candidates sense what a company is like as early on as the interview process, so it’s essential to be respectful, open and collaborative once you start engaging with them. To secure talent fast, companies that hire candidates based on their potential and culture fit will likely find the most success in meeting their talent needs.
Make employee engagement a top priority
Faiz: My first piece of advice to employers is to improve employee engagement across their organisation. While employees appreciate remote and hybrid work arrangements, they can start to operate in silos. Hence, it is important to communicate frequently and proactively discuss training and career progression with your team. Have regular check-ins to stay attuned to where they’re at.
Salaries expected to rise in 2023, with some market correction
Faiz: Salaries are expected to increase by 20% for job movers. This comes on the back of a growing trend of counteroffers, as well as record-high inflation rates and costs of living. Nevertheless, many organisations will likely conduct a market correction of salaries for their existing employees.
Stephanie: Companies are doing whatever they can to retain talent. While companies are already increasing their budgets for in-demand roles, there will likely be a trend towards improving benefits to win over the best talent. Already, we’ve seen companies give out education funds to their employees. Global tech consultancy HCLTech, for instance, has provisioned an annual education fund of $9,000 for all non-Singaporean/PR employees.
Sachet: Salaries have been inflated due to the pandemic, but this will stabilise as companies will no longer be able to afford the demand in hikes. We expect salaries to increase by 15 to 20% in the tech space.
This article is contributed by Robert Walters Singapore.