Infocomm media sector saw 5% employment growth in 2020, SG govt to push with digital capabilities

Singapore's infocomm media sector saw a 5% increase in employment last year, growing by approximately 8,000 individuals. Minister for communications and information, Josephine Teo, said in a speech during the launch of NCS Group's new branding recently that of the future jobs expected to be created from the Economic Development Board’s (EDB) committed investments in 2019 and 2020, some 40% or about 20,000, are expected to be digital roles across the economy.

She added that in the last two years, all the investments and commitments that EDB secured, and all jobs that these investments are expected to create, about 40% (around 20,000) are digital roles. Teo added that collectively, these trends point to a picture of Singapore's digital future that is "very much at the forefront of our economy" and one that offers exciting opportunities for Singaporeans.

In her speech, Teo also said the infocomm media sector is expected to expand beyond its current 10% of Singapore's economy and will likely grow for the next couple of years and in the foreseeable future. According to her, the growth of Singapore's infocomm media sector has consistently surpassed overall GDP growth and was one of the few sectors that bucked the trend in 2020. "While the broader economy shrank by 5.4%, the infocomm media sector grew by 4.8%," she said.

In view of this, companies in Singapore are seeing the importance of doubling down on digital as they are now adopting agile and scalable technologies such as cloud computing and an everything-as-a-service model. Citing statistics from IDC, Teo said spending on the public cloud alone in Asia Pacific has been growing in the high double-digit range, and the annual total ICT spending is predicted to surpass US$1 trillion by 2024.

As such, the infocomm media sector will be crucial in building up Singapore's digital innovation capabilities and creating sophisticated digital products and services that have the potential to reach global markets, Teo said. "It will also be a growth multiplier for the broader economy," she added.

On the government's part, it will continue to broaden and deepen digital capabilities in Singapore's enterprises to help them unlock new economic value. This includes grooming a new wave of high-performing companies with ambitions to become globally competitive digital leaders, through initiatives such as the Digital Leaders Programme. Secondly, Teo said the government will redouble efforts to help more Singaporeans be active participants in the country's digital workforce. It will also continue to strengthen its digital infrastructure to ensure that they remain secure and trusted.

"An important overlay to these efforts will be enhanced connectivity of Singapore’s businesses with overseas players. We will do this through international partnerships," she explained.

These initiatives by the Singapore government are an encouraging sign for the industry and economy as a whole. In 2019, recruitment agency Michael Page said local talent for specialised eCommerce, digital marketing and marketing are still in demand in Singapore as there was a shortage in talent with those skillsets. Some of the highly sought after skills included data scientist, digital transformation-led software developer and lead automation expert, digital marketing manager, and performance marketing manager.

The lack of digital skills still seems to be an issue even after two years later because an Adobe study done in Asia earlier this year cited a lack of digital skills and capabilities as the number two challenge for companies in the region. Adobe's MD, Southeast Asia, Simon Dale told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE previously that there is a capability gap in Asia in terms of having the tools, tech as well as experience and skills. "While tech tools are important, there is also a need in terms of the understanding and maturity, as well as the capability of getting insights for the company," he said.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed in March this year said while digital transformation and change management expertise was cited as the most important skill (35%), 29% of employees said it is also a skill that was most difficult to access in Singapore.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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