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[Singapore] Local ICT Industry Cite Manpower Cost As Key Challenge

Information and communications technology industry players in Singapore claim that manpower costs due to recent changes to the country’s foreign manpower policy are likely to be the biggest challenge this year, according to the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF).

Citing from a recently conducted ’2013 ICT Business Outlook’ survey conducted by the industry federation that polled over 100 ICT companies on their 2012 business performance and expectations this year, the SiTF revealed that survey participants were skeptical of key schemes in Singapore’s Budget 2012. While the Productivity and innovation Credit (PIC) enhancement received positive response, the Double Tax Deduction (DTD) for internationalization had met with lukewarm response.

The reduction in Dependency Ratio Ceilings (DRC) has been the most negatively perceived, with companies claiming that their manpower situation would be badly impacted. With the double constraints in place (higher salary and lower DRC) for  foreign manpower  and coupled with difficulty in finding local people to fill the jobs, due to incompetency of job knowledge and skills, business profitability was said to have taken a toll.

“This is ironic. ICT is the key pillar for productivity and innovation, however, the ICT industry does not have enough manpower or the right people to assist all industries to improve their productivity,” says Eddie Chau, chairman of
SiTF.

Agreeing with Chau, co-founder and vice president of mobile ad network company BuzzCity, says, “Over the years we have spent time and resources to train up our staff, build the capabilities that the company needs, but the recent manpower policy tightening has greatly affected our recruitment and retention plan, directly affecting our competitive edge.”

Amongst other potential improvements, industry players are hoping for manpower policies reviewed in the upcoming Budget 2013 to allow companies to have enough time to adjust and industry to work with institutions to groom the right talents for jobs before further tightening of the foreign labor.

The survey also revealed that 77-percent of companies experienced revenue growth (61-percent had profit growth) in 2012; however, there was a 9-percent decline in the response on profit growth in 2012 to 61-percent as compared to 2011 profit performance.


Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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