As the association for the tech sector representing 1,000 companies, SGTech engaged over 200 companies in Q3 and Q4 of 2021 to solicit recommendations for Budget 2022. The following recommendations capture the common requests made by companies and the details were submitted to the Ministry of Finance in October 2021.
Part 1: Addressing the Tech Talent Crunch
a. Employment Pass (EP) Policy
The shortage of tech talent has been well documented. As a country that has ambitions to be a global tech node, we need to continue to allow more foreign inflow into Singapore not just for the employers willing to pay top dollar but also for our start-ups and SMEs who may not be able to pay as much.
We recommend modelling after the European model of apprenticeships where industry-led apprenticeship programmes groom a workforce with relevant and job-ready skills.
c. Specifying skills not qualifications for Government ICT roles
d. Encouraging talent to flow to SMEs & Start-ups
Part 2: Support for Companies
a. More holistic approach to upgrading VS piecemeal solutions
SMEs need more end-to-end support rather than quick-fix solutions that may not gel with business strategy and skills. As such there is a need to think more holistically about interventions:
With the opening of borders, there is a general need to be more aggressive on internationalisation to capture opportunities.
c. Government Procurement
There needs to be a continuous conscious effort by government agencies to make Government IT projects accessible to SMEs.
d. Digital Transformation
Our approach on digital transformation has been solution-centric. Despite years of efforts, the digital maturity of SMEs is still lagging. There is a need to assist SMEs holistically on this journey to also incorporate strategy and skills besides solutions.
e. Improving Grant application experience and model to improve experience and innovation.
Part 3: Support for TACs
As we ramp up our economy for growth, there is a need for special consideration for the next 2-3 years to assist the industry through multipliers such as the trade associations and chambers (TACs). Enhanced support for TACs is needed to help the broad base of enterprises.
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