INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Here's what dampened confidence in Singapore's digital growth

38% of Singapore’s executives said they aren't confident about hiring new talent.

Singapore's ability to hire workers for digital transformation dampened business confidence in the country, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed.

According to research commissioned by Telstra, business confidence in Singapore's digital transformation environment ranked 14th out of 45 countries with a score of 6.89 out of 10.

The research assessed the confidence of business executives in their city’s environment and its conduciveness to supporting the digital ambitions of companies.

It included the Digital Cities Barometer – a ranking of 45 cities around the world across five key categories relevant to business performance: innovation and entrepreneurship; the financial environment; people and skills; development of new technologies; and ICT infrastructure.

Of the top 10, seven cities are from developing Asian countries. Conversely, lower confidence was recorded in developed cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo and Berlin.

Lack of digital talent
Almost four in ten, or 38%, of executives in Singapore doubt their ability to hire digital talent in order to pave way for growth.

This view is shared widely across most cities in the study.

Advanced data analysis tops the list of skill areas cited by Singapore executives at 38% as needed to pursue digital transformation.

Digital security follows in second, cited by 32%.

Singapore, like other cities, “has not yet fully faced up to the cybersecurity challenge”, said Chan Meng Khoong, director of the Institute of Systems Science at the National University of Singapore, “We do not have enough people who have sufficient training in this area.”

Meanwhile, the study cited that the government is more active compared to other cities in terms of fostering digital development.

About 43% said that government programmes and events are the most helpful sources of external support to their firms’ digital transformation efforts.

About 53% said they have used government programmes to finance transformation initiatives in recent years, higher than any other city in the study.

"Given this, businesses will have greeted plans in the government’s 2017 budget to make US$1.73bn available to help them pursue digitisation initiatives. The funds are partly earmarked toward developing capabilities in areas such as data analytics and the Internet of Things," Telstra said. 

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