Singaporean IT employees more keen on skills upgrade than higher pay

More IT professionals in the city-state are prioritising companies that offer opportunities to enhance their skills over higher salaries, with 82% willing to do so, compared to 80% of marketers and 73% of their peers in finance.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

IT professionals in Singapore are more keen to prioritise companies that offer opportunities for skills development than higher salaries, with 82% doing so compared to 80% of marketers, 77% of human resources (HR) employees, and 73% of their peers in finance. But while 78% of IT workers say their organisation encourages them to attend courses to acquire new skills, they are urged to do so only outside of work hours. 

No surprises then that the lack of time in their personal lives has been cited by IT professionals as being the top barrier for job-related skills upgrading, according to a study by HubSpot Academy, which polled 1,000 professionals in Singapore. 

With the search for good talent being highly competitive in Singapore, there are opportunities for companies to resolve this gap, said the online training vendor. 

Asked why they would spend time on job-related training, 74% of Singapore IT workers cited the need to remain technologically relevant, while 57% pointed to a desire to help grow their organisation, and 52% said it would increase their ability to secure a promotion or pay raise. 

See also: Singapore tackling cyber talent shortage one capture the flag challenge at a time

Some 65% of these professionals preferred online platforms as the medium for job-related learning, higher than 58% of HR staff, 56% of finance executives, and 55% of marketers. 

In addition, 27% of IT professionals said they typically spent at least five hours a week on job-related learning. Furthermore, 95% of IT employees said professional experience and regular upskilling has become more valuable than their degrees in terms of career advancement. 77% also expect traditional degrees to hold less value in future, though, 85% acknowledged their degrees have been essential to their careers, the study said. 

HubSpot's Asia-Pacific managing director Shahid Nizami said: "It is difficult to demonstrate the immediate value of learning and development before you acquire the new skills, which then makes employers less willing to commit resource. One way to seek a middle ground is through online micro-learning platforms. 

"They often require lower time and monetary commitment, which allows professionals to 'test the waters' themselves. If they're able to employ their new skills to bring more value to their work, employers can be more easily convinced to invest further resources in learning and development."

The Singapore government previously cautioned that workers must be prepared for jobs to be affected by the shift to the digital, and to learn to use new digital tools more effectively. The public sector itself has been working to ensure its employees are equipped to for the future through various initiatives, including a partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to provide training for 10,000 public servants in data science through to 2022. This collaboration would see the development of syllabus that help these employees better use data and digital tools in order to improve government services and the way performance is measured. 


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