US-China trade war could turn Singapore into ‘top destination for tech hiring’, Glassdoor exec says

Factors such as Singapore’s highly educated workforce, pro-tech investment stance and proximity to Asian markets make it likely that the republic will become one of the world’s top destinations for tech hiring in the coming decade.
The Straits Times
  • Tech companies in the US and China looking to avoid tariffs could likely move operations to Singapore and boost tech hiring here, according to Glassdoor’s chief economist.

  • Currently, tech jobs are the largest category of jobs listed on the site – outnumbering finance jobs, which is in the #2 spot.

  • The highest paying tech and finance jobs listed on Glassdoor are offering about S$19,500 per month – more than twice the annual household income in Singapore.

  • Glassdoor identified the top Singapore tech employers as Amazon, Micron, Visa, Grab and Apple.

Could Singapore be the next Silicon Valley? Thanks to the US-China trade war, the republic is poised to become one of the world’s “top destinations for tech hiring”, according to a top exec from popular job site Glassdoor.

Referencing statistics from Glassdoor research, the company’s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain, said on Wednesday (Jan 16) that tech jobs are now the biggest category of open job postings on the site.

Tech jobs even outnumbered the number of open finance jobs (the second largest category of job postings), despite Singapore’s reputation as a financial hub.

The number of Singapore job postings on the company’s site jumped 40 per cent from last year to a total of 52,090 jobs this year. Of this, 5,806 jobs (or 11 per cent) were in tech, while just 4,715 jobs were in finance.

“After a brief slowdown in hiring in Singapore in 2016 and 2017, job vacancies today are on the rise,” Chamberlain said, adding that the the trend toward rising tech hiring in Singapore was “likely to accelerate in the coming decade”.

“Just as New York City and Chicago have transitioned from financial centers to tech hubs in recent years – with tech employers increasingly hiring from the large pool of ‘knowledge workers’ attracted to the financial industry – Singapore is positioned for similar gains in tech hiring,” he added.

According to Chamberlain, one factor fueling rising tech hiring in Singapore is the escalating US-China trade war.

Singapore is a “natural choice” for tech employers looking to “move jobs into neutral territories outside of the US and China to sidestep tariffs,” he said, citing tech giants with significant Singapore operations such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Alibaba and Baidu.

Read also: 9 in 10 Singaporeans say job hours and workload different from what was promised at the interview: Glassdoor

Other factors, such as Singapore’s highly educated workforce, pro-tech investment stance and proximity to Asian markets made it likely that the republic would become “one of the world’s top destinations for tech hiring in the coming decade”.

Tech hiring – in areas like computer software and hardware, IT, and the internet industry – was also likely to “continue expanding its reach on the job market in Singapore”, Chamberlain said.

Salaries for finance vs tech jobs in Singapore

While there may be fewer jobs in finance than tech on Glassdoor, finance jobs pay higher than those in tech, Glassdoor found.

The company estimated a median base salary for a tech job as S$7,253 per month, compared to S$8,338 per month for a job in finance. The estimate did not include bonuses or stock options.

Chamberlain cautioned, however, that there was “a lot of variation” in individuals’ pay, and that the salary in both industries became “comparable” at the senior level.

Read also: These countries could be the surprise winners of the US-China trade war

Currently, the site’s highest-paying tech job opening in Singapore (for a senior managing director) is S$19,687 per month, while the highest-paying finance job opening (for an executive director) is S$19,414 per month.

These amounts were more than twice the annual household income in Singapore, Chamberlain added.

Just as we have observed in the US, many of the highest-paying roles in Singapore’s finance sector today are in fact highly skilled tech jobs, (such as) directors of software engineering, IT, and other hybrid finance-technology roles,” he said.

Glassdoor identified the top employers in tech for Singapore as Amazon, Micron, Visa, Grab and Apple.

Read also: LinkedIn says these 5 jobs are huge in Singapore right now – and here’s where they hire from