I have been in the IT industry for almost 20 years and I would like share with you know how much it has changed for the worse in the last decade or so. It will be hard for people to believe me, but I can say that a large part of it is due to the government’s fault.
Back then, most companies realised that the most profitable contracts came from the government. This is usually for developing systems and maintenance etc. While there are also other contracts which pay decently, the government contracts are the biggest and carried the most profits.
But recently, most people from the IT sector find it very hard to survive. This is because of two key reasons which the government has mindlessly implemented without considering the feelings of those in the industry.
Firstly, the government has decided to outsource to large scale vendors more and more of their IT needs. This is a move away from the past where they contracted directly with the SMEs.
For example, a lot of IT matters within the government is done directly with one company (N**) and thus most IT related businesses have no choice since they take a reduced form of business and profits (even if that company chooses to sub-contract to SMEs).
The government claims this minimises their risk and administrative work but I don’t think this is so because that one-company gets paid a lot. In turn, this reduces the sums that the SMEs dealing in IT get.
Secondly, there is an influx of foreigners who are willing to work more for less, and there is little regulation of their inflow. Most of these IT graduates have degrees and even post-graduate degrees from their home universities. Quite a few of these are fake.
The bad part is that there is seemingly no limit as to how many of them can come in and thus employers are not willing to increase the pay of Singaporeans since there are cheaper foreign alternatives.
For example, the starting pay of a fresh IT diploma holder was around $1,800 15 years ago and that hasn’t changed much even though there is high inflation. As you can imagine, career prospects and job security are bleak too.
It is now literally impossible for most people working in my sector to even survive decently because of the way the government has managed the IT outsourcing and let in so many foreigners in our sector.
This is not a matter of changing times, but a flawed mentality of the government has made things really hard for the average man working in IT.
I hope the government can be more considerate when considering the feelings of the average man in this sector.