Big Data, Big Opportunities in Singapore

One of the hottest sectors over the past couple of years is Data Analytics. The topic of the day at IT Conferences in India had always centered on Big Data.

Executives want to know what Big Data is, has it been over-hyped, how to monetise Big Data, who should be using Big Data, which company should start using Big Data, etc. I can say for sure that Big Data will likely occupy this privileged position for many more years. If you have a background in statistics or computer sciences, now is a good time to join the Data Analytics industry. So what are the prospects and job progression as a Big Data professional in Singapore?

Singapore is the place to be

Singapore is at the forefront of Big Data in Asia. Accenture Analytics Innovation Centre, SAP Next Business and Technology Research Centre, EDF-Veolia Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cities, NEC laboratories Singapore, and NielsenLAB are some of the analytics’ who’s who based in Singapore. By the end of 2017, the Big Data and Analytics industry is likely to contribute around S$1 billion in value-add to the Singapore economy.

According to Manik Bhandari (Director, Accenture Analytics Innovation Centre), “[Singapore] is well-connected and organised. We are able to collaborate effectively with policymakers who have a clear interest to improve public services and citizen engagement. It presents us with an invaluable opportunity to create scalable models using real-time data which we can then replicate for application in other cities.” Projects which are worked on in Singapore are usually regional with a potentially global impact. There will be opportunities to work on global projects and to be exposed to data beyond Singapore and the region. This means that being in Singapore would positively and richly impact your experience.

Singapore has a range of companies dealing with different aspects of Big Data. For example, companies such as SingTel, P&G, Google, Coca-cola, Ogilvy and Rakuten are in the marketing, consumer and retail segment; Citibank, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal are in the finance and risk segment; SAP, Accenture, EDF-Veolia are in urban planning; Symantec and NEC are in cyber security; and IBM and Haier are in supply chain. Depending on your strengths and interests, you can definitely find an area of interest to develop your analytics portfolio.

Career prospects and opportunities

By 2015, Singapore will require over 7,000 analytics professionals to support six key industries spanning analytics services, banking, communications technology, insurance, oil and gas, and pharmaceuticals.
The greatest demand will be for Analytics Specialists. Some 4,000 of them will be required to support organisations to generate insights and decisions from model outputs. This is followed by Analytics Experts and Analytics Scientists. 1,500 Analytics Experts will be needed to guide organisations in analytics application that will improve business decisions. Another 800 Analytics Scientists are required to construct complex models to extract business insights. All the numbers point towards a high demand for Big Data professionals. Other positions in demand include Data Scientists, Big Data Engineers and Data Solution Architects.

Data Analytics companies are looking for people with a strong quantitative background and mathematical knowledge, or have a degree in computer science, economics, or statistics. Engineers would naturally fit the profile as well. Due to the complexity of the work, some employers would prefer someone with experience in the research process, so a Masters or PhD degree is sometimes required. Data mining experience would also be useful since the transition to analytics would be easier.

As with all new careers, starting at the bottom of the food chain means you would be busy with a lot of number crunching. Rest assured all the hard work would be rewarded, if you do well and show results. As you grow in the company and job, a team lead position will usually follow after a few years, if there is an opening. Managers would normally have at least seven years of working experience and have some knowledge of sales and marketing or business development work.

As for remuneration, Singapore based companies have been known to be very competitive. Reports from some recruitment firms (for e.g., Hudson, Hays, Robert Half) show that for Analytics positions, they would get around S$60,000-S$140,000 a year. Junior managers could earn at least S$90,000 a year and senior managers S$140,000 a year.

What now?

There are a few ways to start your job search in Singapore. We have recently launched a new round of job vacancies in the Data Analytics sectors from our partners . This is a useful starting point for your job search. You may also register at our job portal ( and search for positions matching your interests. You may also refer to other job portals or contact any of the executive search firms listed on our website, or go directly to the company’s career page. You should consider tapping on your network to find out about the vacancies in their companies. Whatever platforms or methods you choose, the main point is to start the process. Singapore is the place to be in the years ahead. Would you be a part of Singapore’s Big Data story?


By Brian Tan, Area Director (South Asia and Middle East), Contact Singapore


Salary Guides
Hudson Salary and Employment Insights 2014 Singapore
Robert Half 2014 Salary Guide
Robert Walters Salary Survey 2014
The 2014 Hays Asia Salary Guide