Should You Be Working in Singapore?

High-skilled technology driven positions such as digital and e-commerce roles remain strong, despite Singapore announcing modest economic growth of 2.…


High-skilled technology driven positions such as digital and e-commerce roles remain strong, despite Singapore announcing modest economic growth of 2.3% for 2017.  The demand for digital talent is due to the need for business transformation and innovation in corporates. And, of course, the strong demand from start-ups, indicating the success of government initiatives to ensure that Singapore remains ahead of its South East Asian neighbours.

In the corporate world, digital skills remain a pain point for talent acquisition. Mid to senior level executives are increasingly aware of the demand for their skillset and remain highly selective in their choice of employers. This is also due to previous negative employment experiences.

The creation of corporate innovation hubs, digital centres of excellence and e-commerce portals has also triggered the need for digital marketers and sales managers – to help upgrade an organisation’s ability to handle stakeholders, change management, delivery and ultimately performance. This is the talent that encourages senior management to sign-off future financial investments in new departments.

Digital systems and strategies have matured from being tactically used to full-integrated with a business’s objectives. This means that digital skillsets are becoming more diverse and critical. Here are some major pillars of the digital ecosystem, showing key areas of progress in the Singapore market.


Product teams were reintroduced into the Singapore market in a significant way in 2016, thanks to the likes of Grab and Uber. Today, major tech brands such as Google also housed their product teams here in efforts to localise mobile and social products for the Asian market. This move has created new areas of interest for talent acquisition; giving rise to practices such as data, UX, UI and service design.

Product teams are core to tech driven businesses and thus expects talent to be robust in technical knowledge, commercial savviness and stakeholder management. As these areas are still new to the Singapore market, hiring organisations needs to acknowledge the need to either hire foreign talents with experience to start a skills transfer process internally, or hire junior candidates and be prepared to train them – allowing at least 6-12 months to contribute effectively to the business.

Sales and marketing

This in one of the most established and dynamic pillars in the digital ecosystem. Many will recognise the jobs in this area, including titles such as Digital Agency Executives, Online Sales Managers and Heads of Digital. The purpose of these individuals is to lead initiatives and drive growth for a business. Pressure continues to mount on advertising agencies where we see strong profiles being snapped up in a vigorous interview process, and increased demand for freelancers and contractors to handle awarded accounts.


This is a recurring theme in most conversations, as brands are grappling with the reality that traditional advertising methods are not as effective as before and the costs of digital advertising have increased. Creativity and technical knowledge are no longer seen as opposing functions but the dual-key gateway to a brand’s identity.


Development and engineering positions remain a hiring challenge in Singapore. This is due to increased demand from organisations creating digital properties and a continued shortage of talent.

As we’ve become a regional specialist in this area for businesses, we have seen a significant need for commercially savvy tech talents with a desire to learn new languages, frameworks and methodology. Salaries for this area remain flat due to a more cautious approach towards business planning during global economic and political uncertainties.

Creative and design

This area remains strong across Asia, but salaries rise very slowly compared to UX roles, which is enjoying a noticeable hike in Singapore. There is a noticeable push towards user-centered design so, unsurprisingly, UX roles have become central to creative employment strategies.  A nice website or mobile app is no longer enough to thrill customers or clients, so businesses are quickly moving towards a multi-platform offering with bespoke, user-oriented designs.

Project Management and Delivery

Skilled project managers are highly sought after, especially across the product or UX front. Even more so, PMs are being propelled into being involved in the end to end of project delivery – as they’re required to be client-facing and provide consultative measures to clients. With the added bonus of a technical digital understanding, these roles are becoming increasingly important across industries such as financial services and e-commerce.

The current increase in demand for digital talent has added to a shortage that was already challenging to begin with. As a talent consultancy, Cogs is committed to working with our local markets, with both clients and candidates, to tighten these gaps using our knowledge of the digital market.

For more information to better understand digital talents and assistance in resource planning, please contact us at for a chat with our friendly directors.

If you would like to compare 2017 salaries to 2016 salaries click here;

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