SkillsFuture leading the way to fill crucial IT skills shortage

Singapore, 14 September 2017 – Independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals the impact the government’s SkillsFuture initiative has had so far on Singapore’s IT sector. According to the research, which surveyed local CIOs, more than six in 10 (61%) Singaporean CIOs say the initiative has helped IT staff within their organisation to upgrade essential skillsets, and more than four in 10 (43%) believe it has helped alleviate the crucial skills shortage in the city-state’s IT sector.

In more good news for the economy, almost one in three (31%) CIOs say the SkillsFuture initiative has helped promote Singapore as an attractive place to work for IT professionals. This positive sentiment is emphasised by the fact that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the most popular training area used in the SkillsFuture initiative, particularly for young Singaporeans who have enrolled in numerous IT courses such as data analytics[1].

Almost one if five (19%) IT leaders are still uncertain whether the initiative has had a positive effect on the tech industry, and 5% saying the effects are still yet to be felt.

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director at Robert Half Singapore said: “The local workforce has much to gain from SkillsFuture, which helps equip Singaporean workers with the skills they need to excel in today’s competitive working environment. This is especially true for those in the IT industry, where workers are constantly faced with new technologies and innovations that can disrupt the industry. SkillsFuture represents a positive step forward to fill the skills gap in the IT industry, enabling CIOs to keep their organisations competitive by training their staff with the most up-to-date technological skillsets, while also improving employment opportunities for individual workers.”

Despite the government’s initial aim to help Singaporean’s upskill in essential skills, some hesitancy still remains among the city-state’s IT leaders. Despite more than half (56%) of CIOs being “completely” or “mostly” confident in the IT workforce’s ability to upskill, more than four in 10 (44%) are only “somewhat” or “not at all” confident about the ability of the Singaporean IT workforce developing the right skills to adapt to future market changes.

Singapore’s growing skills shortage has only accelerated as the vast majority (92%) of CIOs find it more challenging to source qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago. To combat this, IT leaders are stipulating that more needs to be done at a training and educational level, with more than two in three (67%) thinking that more external training initiatives are needed to fill the IT skills gap in Singapore. Just over half (51%) believe there needs to be greater focus on IT education in schools, and one in three (33%) say more internal training initiatives within companies is needed.

“Besides tapping into government-led initiatives and opportunities, Singapore’s IT leaders need to take a proactive approach to upskilling their employees. This means implementing measures to better equip their staff with the skills necessary for today’s workforce, while also encouraging them to tap into initiatives such as SkillsFuture. This will not only ensure that workers improve their performance, but also embeds progressive upskilling and professional development in Singaporean work life,” Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard concluded.

Singaporean CIOs were asked: “Thinking of the challenges with the IT skills gap in Singapore, what steps do you think need to be taken with regards to training and education?”

More external training initiatives


Greater focus on IT education (in school)


More internal training initiatives within companies


More independent learning by employees/ candidates


More on-the-job training


Nothing/No steps need to be taken


 Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 75 Singaporean CIOs – multiple answers allowed.

For more info contact: Gabrielle Nagy, Public Relations Manager Robert Half Asia Pacific,