How Singapore's tech layoffs affect Indians

How Singapore’s tech layoffs affect Indians

Based on Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower figures for 2021, about a quarter of 177,100 work permit holders, or about 45,000, are from India.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has announced that it will lay off about 11,000 employees, or 13 percent of its global workforce. It’s the 18-year-old social media giant’s first redundant group workout.

Headquartered in Asia Pacific in Singapore. Media reports have speculated that of the 1,000 employees here, perhaps as many as 100, have been affected, most of them are technology workers including software engineers.

Based on Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower figures for 2021, about a quarter of 177,100 work permit holders, or about 45,000, are from India. Work permit holders are among the highest-qualified foreign professionals allowed to work in the country and must earn a minimum of S$5,000 (US$3,700) per month. There is no doubt that many of these are affected not only by the layoffs in Meta but by other redundancies that occur in the technology sector.

Tech companies around the world and in Singapore, a major tech hub where many tech giants are hosted on their regional headquarters, are freezing or downsizing hiring in the face of slowing consumer spending, rising interest rates and inflation.

Singapore-based gaming and e-commerce company Sea Limited, the parent company of Garena (the publisher of games like League of Legends and Free Fire) and Shopee, made two rounds of cuts in June and September and canceled job offers. Sea had 67,300 employees at the end of 2021, twice its number the previous year, according to the company’s latest annual report.

After a net loss of US$931 million in the second quarter of this year, amid rising borrowing costs and a slowdown in the global economy, the company scaled back its offshore presence and offshore business with the aim of boosting profitability by solidifying its position in its head office. Markets and core products.

The company did not disclose the number of job cuts, but job losses in Singapore and in its offices around the world are estimated to be in the hundreds.

Jessica Huang Polior, partner at venture capital firm Openspace, told CNBC in June. “What happened is people got hired really fast. You have a problem; you just have to throw people at it. I think we’ll probably see more of it over the next few months.”

Among the companies in Southeast Asia that downsized in the middle of the year are Singapore’s digital wealth manager, StashAway which laid off 31 employees, or 14 percent of its headcount, and currency exchange which laid off 260, or 5 in all. percent of its workforce is in Singapore. Meanwhile, Malaysian online shopping platform iPrice has also laid off 250 workers, or 25 percent of its staff, and Indonesian educational technology company Zenius has laid off more than 200 staff.

In November, digital payments startup Stripe and social network Twitter were among the companies that cut jobs at their Singapore offices.

On November 3, Stripe announced that it would reduce its global workforce by 1,000, or 14 percent. After laying off jobs, Stripe will have about 7,000 employees. Some jobs in Singapore have been affected.

A day later, Twitter cut half of its global staff, or about 3,700, a week after the Elon Musk acquisition. Those in the Singapore office were also affected. Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper reported that among those affected were employees of the engineering, sales and marketing teams.

Startups in the region have been hit particularly hard by lower levels of venture capital funding this year. According to a Crunchbase report, funding in the region fell 7 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to $36.3 billion compared to the same quarter last year.

Many tech companies have expanded rapidly during the COVID pandemic as most of the world stayed at home and formed habits that led to high demand for online services. As consumer behavior begins to return to normal after the shutdowns, some of these habits have changed. This, along with inflation and rising interest rates, has put pressure on all tech companies. Some describe the recent decline in the share prices of major tech companies as a late correction.

While technology revenue and jobs will be affected in the short term, and market volatility is likely in the near future, the technology industry is expected to continue to grow in the long term.

A recent article by consulting and recruitment specialist Mercer says that demand for jobs and tech talent continues to outpace supply in Asia. Evidence that Mercer claims is the starting salaries for graduates with a degree in computing. Comparing Mercer data from 2018 and calculating the time it generally takes one group in most locations to complete an average course of study; There has been significant growth, primarily driven by massive employment in emerging tech markets such as Vietnam (59 percent increase) as well as lower-level cities in China (22 percent increase).

Moreover, economies across Asia are becoming more digital. According to research from Google, Temasek Holdings, Bain & Co. Southeast Asia’s Internet economy is expected to double to $363 billion by 2025, exceeding the previous forecast of $300 billion.

Dr. Natalie Bang told NewsAsia that the tech industry has always gone through “periods of major adjustments and corrections,” like the “dotcom bubble” in the mid-1990s into the early 2000s. Dr. Pang is Principal Investigator at the Center for Trusted Internet Society at the National University of Singapore.

“The widespread adoption of technology at work and at home has led to significant growth for the industry during the last two years of the pandemic, but the post-pandemic era has highlighted the need for adaptation and correction,” she added. “In the case of recent layoffs, I would say technology is going through a major adjustment period.”

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