As the pace of technological transformation accelerates in Singapore, the battle for business differentiation is moving into employee recruitment and enablement.\nIn 2019 and beyond, the focus is shifting to the internal skill-sets of CIOs and employees in a market chasing the most in-demand technology talent.\nBut with the talent pool being drained on a daily basis, organisations are embarking on wide-scale up-skilling exercises to drive transformation initiatives from within. A recent case in point is DBS Bank, amid plans to allow \u201cevery single developer in the bank to become a machine learning engineer\u201d.\n\u201cToday, many Singaporean workplaces are navigating an era of rapid transformation,\u201d said David Jones, senior managing director of Asia Pacific at human resources multinational firm Robert Half.\n\u201cThe increasing prevalence of new technologies within our workforces is having a major influence on the type of roles and skills that companies need to evolve into the future \u2013 a trend often referred to as Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution.\n\u201cAs companies continue to move away from manual processes and responsibilities, more time and resources will become available for strategic, innovative and customer-focused tasks.\n\u201cThis isn\u2019t about replacing existing jobs with new technologies but, instead, creating new opportunities and up-skilling workforces to complement technology in a way that accelerates growth.\u201d\nConsequently, Singaporean CIOs are looking to develop technology skills across five core areas, spanning IT security (53 percent); data analytics (37 percent); business analysis (32 percent); business intelligence (32 percent) and IT management (25 percent). The top five in-demand roles are cybersecurity analyst, technology risk manager, data scientist, project manager and software developer.\nSpecific to qualifications, businesses are seeking certifications in CISM, CISA, CISSP or CRISC, alongside a \u201cworking knowledge\u201d of the Monetary Authority of Singapore\u2019s Technology Risk Management guidelines. Python programming is also welcomed, in addition to a PhD or Masters in machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics.\nThat\u2019s according to new findings from Robert Half, following an independent survey involving 75 Singapore-based CIOs.\n Robert Half\n\nDavid Jones, senior managing director of Asia Pacific, Robert Half\n\n\n\u201cWith more financial processes being completed digitally than ever before, it\u2019s no surprise that cyber attacks in Singapore are rising,\u201d Jones added.\nConsequently, Jones said the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (FS-ISAC) are working together to \u201cadvance security threat intelligence sharing\u201d while conducting joint initiatives to protect the financial services sector.\n\u201cAs awareness of these cybersecurity threats continues to rise throughout 2019 alongside the introduction of new regulatory processes to combat these threats, there is a growing trend towards enhancing the \u2018cyber hygiene\u2019 within Singapore\u2019s financial services institutions,\u201d Jones said.\n\u201cThis has resulted in greater demand in the fields of cybersecurity, technology risk and RegTech to comply with regulations and safeguard organisations against external risks.\u201d\nCiting LinkedIn, Jones said cybersecurity specialists rank as \u201cone of the top five\u201d emerging jobs in Singapore across all industries.\nSpecifically, hiring plans for IT professionals as a result of the Singapore Government\u2019s Cyber Security Bill centre around adding new permanent (29 percent) and temporary\/contract positions (24 percent).\nUp-skilling\nIn assessing the Singaporean market, Jones said that many employers are seeking to benefit from the \u201cgig economy\u201d by gaining \u201cimmediate access to high-demand skillsets, filling talent gaps and managing unique projects\u201d.\n\u201cThere is continuous demand for contract workers in project management, change management and business process improvement,\u201d Jones outlined. \u201cContract workers provide companies with more agile workforces that respond quicker to changing demands.\n\u201cWhile relying on a temporary workforce generally results in increased productivity, and improved and faster services for clients, other benefits include lower staffing costs, improved budget management, and immediate access to a wider talent pool of professionals skilled in niche areas such as blockchain, AI and cybersecurity.\u201d\nSimilarly, Jones said IT professionals should consider contract work to increase market value.\n\u201cBy accessing the latest technology trends across a range of industries, contract employees can accelerate their careers in the long-term,\u201d he advised.\nIn a message to employers, Jones said that \u201cwherever possible\u201d, businesses should adopt a \u201chire for culture, train for skills approach\u201d during the recruitment process.\n\u201cUp-skilling workforces remains a top priority for companies, but employers must also ensure every new hire demonstrates the right soft skills such as adaptability, attitude, personality and emotional intelligence to fit in well with the company and team,\u201d he said.\n\u201cIn a competitive employment market, IT candidates themselves should take a proactive approach to their ongoing professional development. Candidates who up-skill themselves with the latest technology knowledge through online courses and by gaining SkillsFuture credits are more attractive to employers seeking workers who are adaptable and embrace new challenges.\u201d\nJones said recruiting within the fields of artificial intelligence, digital and data strategy is also becoming \u201cincreasingly competitive\u201d as the impact of Industry 4.0 begins to impact local businesses.\nAccording to findings, 87 percent of CIOs believe it is more challenging to source qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago. Therefore, Jones said current market conditions are placing \u201cmounting pressure\u201d on companies to offer higher salaries to attract IT professionals.\n\u201cIn an ever-changing landscape, the highest salaries are offered to those with the most wide-ranging experiences, up-to-date skills, an aptitude for new technologies and a high degree of emotional intelligence for managing and working with different personalities,\u201d Jones said.\n\u201cIT professionals should be proactive in their own efforts to gain as much relevant experience and knowledge as possible through development opportunities and by working across multiple projects in different industry sectors.\u201d\nWhile up-skilling is essential for ambitious IT professionals, Jones said leveraging contract work to demonstrate adaptability, experience across different industries, and even different country knowledge, will be \u201chighly valuable\u201d in the years ahead.\n\u201cWhen applying for roles, IT candidates can benefit from focusing less on starting salary and more on how their unique skills and experiences can add value to the business they are applying for. In turn, companies are expected to increase salaries to motivate and retain workers who make meaningful contributions and deliver results,\u201d he added.