TOLL ON PUBLIC SERVICE AT FOREFRONT OF FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND MEASURES TO ENSURE IT REMAINS COMPETITIVE

MP Pritam Singh

Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied): I would like to thank the Minister for his reply. Just to clarify with the Minister. The Minister shared that the haemorrhage in 2021 with respect to Public Service officers on the MX scheme of service was 9.9%. Can I just confirm, Minister, is this figure similar for Public Service officers in the ICT sector or is the percentage for that unique sector far higher than the 9.9% that Minister shared?

My second question pertains to the ICT sector. We all know, on the basis of what has happened over the last few years with regard to cybersecurity weaknesses and digitalisation being an important prong for the Government, that the need for ICT talent would be either increasing or certainly going to be a far, far more important aspect of the Public Service than it ever has been. Coming back to my question, the Minister has shared that the demand in the private sector for ICT talent is very hot. Indeed, that is true. The salaries are very high. What strategies does the Government have in mind to, in the Minister’s words, attract the public sector’s fair share of ICT talent, going forward?

Mr Chan Chun Sing: Mr Speaker, Sir, the first answer to Mr Pritam Singh’s question is, the attrition is higher in the ICT sector than the general 9.9% that I have mentioned. So, ICT sector is higher.

On the second part, it is an important question because in meeting our ICT needs for the Government as a whole, we do apply a multi-pronged approach. One, is, of course, we try to recruit our fair share of talent from the open market. That, we will continue to do. And that, we have to make sure that our projects, our work, they are all meaningful and fulfilling for the people who come in, over and above a competitive pay. So, hiring from outside is one. 

Second, growing our own timber is another strategy that we adopt. When we say we grow our own timber, we talk about helping our people to upgrade their baseline ICT skills so that more people will be able to take on some of the tasks that are required in the overall public sector. Retraining some of our own people are also possibilities that we are embarking on. So, there is external recruitment, there is also growing our own timber.

The third prong that we use to meet our own ICT needs is also to rationalise the way we demand ICT manpower. For example, to the extent that we can aggregate projects of a similar nature, we will be able to do that because it helps us to save cost and reduce the demand on the ICT manpower. Of course, over the longer term, it also helps us to have a much more integrated Public Service ICT system.

So, through these various multi-pronged strategies, we hope to have a holistic arrangement to meet the ICT needs of our Public Service going forward.

Prime Minister’s Office
15 February 2022

https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/sprs3topic?reportid=oral-answer-2694

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