Building Tech Teams in Singapore
According to a report by Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB), 80% of the world’s top 100 tech firms have a regional headquarter in Singapore. Even tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook have set up their regional hubs here. We’ve invited technology leaders from Singapore to discuss the tech talent market in Singapore and what makes Singapore so appealing for technology companies.
Rahul Gupta - Head of Site Reliability Engineering, Standard chartered bank.
Singapore’s thriving tech sector is the product of a range of converging factors. The city-state has a prime location at the crossroads of Asia’s biggest markets, low taxes on businesses, a well-developed IT infrastructure, strong investment opportunities, and robust regulatory regime. Much of the credit for these strengths goes to the Singapore government.
The government approach is to combine business-friendly policies with heavy investment in the tech sector.
For Rahul Gupta, Head of DevOps at Nexus, Singapore’s high levels of diversity was a big attraction factor and helps him create a team that benefits from a wide range of skills, experiences and backgrounds.
“There is no discrimination. We get all kinds of nationalities and personalities and I think when we build a technical team in a diversified environment, we get a better team."
With Singapore creating the perfect storm for both candidates and companies, it becomes even more of a challenge to sort out the good candidates from the great ones.
So, how do you attract the best candidates in Singapore?
As a Recruitment Consultant who has been helping connect exciting companies with world-leading talent, it’s a topic I'm always fascinated to learn more about.
For Rahul, it’s all about matching the Job Requirement to the roles and responsibilities of the job
“We sometimes fall into the trap of filling a JR with jargon that isn’t always relevant to the role. Like if we’re looking for a cloud person, we might put Azure, AWS and Google even though we aren’t using two of those things because we think it’ll get us a better candidate. We might put a really good candidate off because we’ve mentioned something that’s not relevant to either party. Keep a JR focused and easy.”
Running a Tech Team During COVID-19
COVID-19 is not Singapore’s first epidemiological nightmare. In 2002 and 2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the original SARS, tore out of China and through Asia, killing 33 people in Singapore and sparking wholesale revisions to the city-state’s public health system.
In response, Singapore built a robust system for tracking and containing epidemics – a system that helped them face COVID-19 during 2020.
Despite Singapore’s preparedness, the world around them ground to a halt. Teams, like Rahul’s who work with Banks, had to close down their hiring operations and sure up the teams they had. Likewise, Leaders like Rahul found themselves having to change their leadership methodology as the working landscape changed.
“There was an initial excitement of working at home, but now it’s wearing on us a bit. The constant calls and meetings is difficult for us all.”
Rahul encourages his team to seek out exercise whenever they can and helping them, through constant communication, find a work/life balance that works for them. The Whatsapp group that Rahul created in the early days of the Pandemic is still buzzing with workout stories and funny anecdotes.
“It’s my responsibility to make sure everyone is feeling happy.”
Fauzi Rachman, Chief Technology Officer, Creative Group at dentsu Singapore
Fauzi Rachman is the CTO at dentsu Singapore’s Creative Group, and, like Rahul, Fauzi believes that Singapore is a country that prides itself on it’s diversity. It’s this diversity that encouraged him to start building his tech team in Singapore.
“There is a high level of respect for those from different backgrounds. It’s what made me want to start building my team here – but we still need tech talent.”
Looking After People During COVID-19
Many corporations have had employees operationally stationed at home for months on end, due to the current health crisis. Initially, this was a culture shock for many traditional enterprises, but the learning curve has minimized for how to create a digital workplace functionally and culturally.
For Fauzi, the flexibility that this new way of working has afforded people is here to stay.
“Being strict about how people get their work done won’t work anymore. For me, it’s about freedom. If they want to take a nap during the day, that’s fine. We focus more on the outcome of the work, as opposed to the output. ”
But if there’s one side of this that is causing some concern, it’s the fact that many people who might use work as a social escape, will no longer have that luxury.
Loneliness is bad for your health – according to some research, it’s as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That’s hardly good news for the millions of employees now working (and living) at a distance due to COVID-19 — or for their employers.
For tech teams, who need to be constantly looking for new and innovative solutions, the lack of a physical space to bounce ideas around in can be detrimental to the development of new ideas.
For Fauzi, it’s vital he ensures that each member of the team knows their individual value and how they aren’t just a cog in a large machine.
“Daily communication is key. Even to just say Hi, even to just ask what they had for breakfast. We’re all in this together and it’s important that we’re all communicating regularly.”