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Cyber security professionals in Singapore could get 20% pay rise

E-commerce and cyber security professionals in Singapore could gain 10 to 20% pay rises if they move companies, due to increased demand of niche IT skills

Demand for technology professionals in Singapore remains strong in 2016, especially in the cyber security space, according to research.

The latest annual Global Salary Survey by professional recruitment firm Robert Walters shows that IT professionals experienced strong demand for their skills in 2015, especially in cyber security and e-commerce.

Although the firm does not expect any great rise in salaries in 2016 – as inflation rates in Singapore are likely to remain flat – niche areas such as cyber security can expect marked salary increases. This could be 10 to 20% for job movers, rather than as a result of salary reviews.

This demand for technology professionals is driven by two main factors: Digital (e-commerce and mobile banking) and cyber security (data protection and online hacking threats).

“Strong digitisation across sectors is driving recruitment, in line with the growth of e-commerce, mobile applications and online user experience. There are job opportunities seen in cyber security, data protection, project delivery, app development and service design,” said Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters Southeast Asia.

The cyber security roles that are sought after include: penetration testers or ethical hackers, cyber threat or malware analysis, and incident response personnel who can troubleshoot security breaches.

“Singapore remains a crucial economic hub for Southeast Asia and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. We anticipate a dynamic recruitment market to match,” said Fowlston.

Demand for tech professionals in Asean

Besides Singapore, the other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries have a similar demand for technology professionals in the e-commerce and mobile applications space.

“Asean is experiencing a rush of enterprising technology entrepreneurs, which is pushing the hiring of IT professionals with the relevant skills,” said Fowlston.

Freddy Tan, vice-president of the Association of Information Security Professionals (AISP) in Singapore, is not surprised by this shortage of technology talent.

“There will be a large shortfall of IT personnel due to the promotion of the Smart Nation in Singapore, coupled with the trend of a connected society, which will drive the adoption of mobile applications and devices by enterprises and individuals,” he said.

“The ability to accomplish Singapore’s smart nation vision not only hinges on identifying and implementing the right technology with adequate safeguards to protect privacy and confidentiality, but also the softskills to ensure that the right processes are in place to maintain the operations of such complex systems.”

Read more about IT skills in Singapore

Another driver is the threat posed by rising sophistication of cyber attacks, said Tan. “This demand is exacerbated by the shortage of cyber security experts needed to counter them.”

According to a report by The Straits Times, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said there were 150,000 technology professionals working in Singapore in 2014, with 15,000 unfilled vacancies.

IDA expects that by 2017, another 15,000 specialists may be required as areas such as cyber security, data analytics and application development, which may mean a shortage of some 30,000 information technology professionals in Singapore.

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