Numbers from the Singaporean government highlight that women account for 30 per cent of infocomm professionals in Singapore, a figure which has grown by just one per cent since 2010. Simultaneously, independent research from specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals 87 per cent of Singaporean CIOs currently find it more challenging to source qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago, and 89 per cent forecast it will be even more challenging over the next five years.
With the growth of employed infocomm professionals growing 5.2 per cent YoY, the surging demand for skilled IT professionals further highlights the urgency to address the industry’s skills shortage and the need to encourage more professionals, including women to pursue a career in IT.
“While a career in IT has never been more attractive, the gender disparity within the sector continues,” said Fen Teo, associate director of Robert Half Singapore. “More needs to be done to boost the number of women in technology as they can help alleviate the current IT talent shortage – a challenge that needs to be tackled by a comprehensive approach where educational institutions, the business community and government initiatives work alongside one another.
“Nurturing their interest through education and mentoring programs can help assist women in identifying rewarding IT career opportunities,” added Teo, “And by leveraging professional development opportunities, such as the TechSkills Accelerator, Singaporeans can learn in-demand skills that will further help transition their careers to technology.”
Robert Half reveals five tips for women (and men) who may be considering a career in technology.
2. Upskill in new IT skills – Take full advantage of the SkillsFuture and TechSkills Accelerator initiatives offered by the Singapore government. They are excellent programs designed to support both ICT and non-ICT professionals to acquire sought-after skills and domain knowledge. Indeed, more than 27,000 training places have been taken up or committed in Singapore’s TechSkills Accelerator since April 2016 .
3. Study the hiring market – Look to resources such as the Robert Half Salary Guide to learn about in-demand positions, what employers are looking for in top candidates, and what abilities could help you earn a higher starting salary.
4. Target tech companies and start-ups – IT employers need many functions to support their operations, so aim to break into tech companies by applying for roles similar to what you do now with the eventual aim to move sideways into a more tech-focused role. Start-ups can also provide a more direct path to a tech role. These innovative businesses tend to encourage employees to expand their skillsets on the job so they can help support the business as it grows.
5. Leverage your network – Let your professional contacts know you’re considering making a transition to an IT career and ask for guidance. Use sites like LinkedIn to find and join groups related to your interests in technology, or geared for women in IT. Also, consider attending industry networking events to introduce yourself to the tech community.