86% of Singapore’s public sector made significant structural changes to implement emerging technologies: Report

86% of Singapore’s public sector agencies indicated that they had made significant structural changes to their workforce in order to implement emerging technologies.
The Straits Times

When it comes to adopting the newest technology for use in public service, Singapore appears to be way ahead of the game.

In a new survey conducted by global professional services company Accenture, around 86% of Singapore’s public sector agencies indicated that they had made significant structural changes to their workforce in order to implement emerging technologies.

This is was far higher than the global average of 40%.

The survey, which polled close to 800 public service technology professionals across nine countries, also found that eight in 10 respondents globally saw the implementation of emerging technologies as a way to create better jobs. The ability to automate certain repetitive tasks and making others more aligned with citizens’ direct needs can help to improve job satisfaction and can aid staff retention, respondents said.

Nearly 60% of respondents globally also said that being able to implement projects using emerging technologies would require significant investment in re-skilling existing staff.

While Singapore came out on top among the countries surveyed for current skills in software engineering as well as digital developers and designers, 54% of respondents prioritised machine learning specialists for future recruitment.

According to the report, the need to attract technically proficient employees is becoming even more urgent as the existing workforce continues to age. As a result, hiring and developing people with the necessary skills, including the need for emerging technology specialists, is one of the top three challenges across all industries and countries today.

As agencies find it difficult to find employees who can combine technical skills with the understanding of the agency and citizens, half of all respondents globally said they look predominantly to the private sector to hire talent when developing projects using emerging technologies.

On the topic of hiring and people-development challenges, Singapore identified hiring needs almost equally among Internet of Things (21%, video analytics (29%) and biometrics / identity analytics (21 %).

Finland identified biometrics/identity analytics professionals as its greatest need, a priority shared with Australia, while Norway stated natural language processing and generation specialists were its the highest priority (40%).