Graduates in Singapore are facing something of an employment crisis at present. Currently, resident degree holders have found their unemployment rate at 4.3 percent—which is roughly double the national rate of 2.1 percent. Yet strangely, there is one industry that is desperate for workers; an industry that you wouldn’t think would face such a struggle.

That industry is tech.

According to figures from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, total demand for infocomm manpower in 2015 increased by 28,100 or 17.1 percent to 192,900. Vacancies increased to a whopping 20,100. This is a huge gap that needs to be filled. Given the rapid and highly visible integration of technology into our everyday lives, it’s logical to think that people would be honing their skills to better their prospects in this field. However, the problem is a little more complex than a lack of willing workers.

As the founder of ALPHA Camp a tech school that runs courses, workshops and bootcamps for people looking to join startups or who want to pursue entrepreneurial goals, I see the rather stark gap between what a lot of university graduates have, and what employers need.

The vacancy rate is likely a result of two things: the core tech industry in Singapore expanding rapidly, and the fact that more companies in fields outside of tech, such as finance and tourism, are incorporating technology into their operations to a greater degree—such as with apps or complex web services. “FinTech” and “Internet-of-Things (IoT)” are buzzwords you hear frequently these days, and are the kinds of terms that are now liable to pop up in job interviews across a broad range of industries. Because of this permeation, the abilities required of tech workers are evolving at a dizzying speed.

Traditional education institutions simply are not designed to meet these demands—much less providing practical experience with regard to these changing skillsets. These institutions are primarily research facilities and focus on providing foundational skills for younger learners.

Compounding this is the fact that a lot of the new jobs that are being created in this field are much more reliant on less tangible concepts; now that people can Google just about anything on their phone and have answers immediately, knowledge has started to take a backseat to problem solving and creativity. Again, this is one of the issues with traditional education institutions, in that they don’t necessarily have the capabilities or resources to foster this kind of mindset in their graduates. Unfortunately, even many entry level tech positions are looking for these sorts of skills, thus making it difficult for fresh graduates to get the foot in the door they need to get their career started.

The fact of the matter is that we’re entering a time where tech skills are becoming increasingly important to degree holders of almost all varieties. For instance, for someone who wants to work in banking has qualifications in this field, imagine how valuable it would be to have a solid understanding of software systems, or of cybersecurity, or even user experience design. We can’t continue to ignore the influence that technology is having on almost every industry—the number of tech vacancies in Singapore is clear evidence of what’s happening—and so now is the time for job seekers to get better acquainted with the technologies that are shaping our economy.

Looking to improve your employability?

Starting from January, ALPHA Camp Singapore will be running a series of full time bootcamps on iOS app development, web development, digital marketing, and UX/UI design, geared towards helping budding tech people and entrepreneurs realise their goals. If you’d like to speak to someone about the available options, fill in contact form on our website! We’d love to speak to you.