Despite the increased economic uncertainties this year, IT businesses have reduced their workforces, but economists claim that layoffs are good for the sector.
This year, well-known companies with U.S. headquarters have reduced headcount and cooled on offers, while Shopee, the world's largest online retailer, has made a number of layoffs in Singapore due to growing losses and sluggish sales growth.
Shopee confirmed to Taiwan News, however, that it was firing employees from its local offices. Numerous staff was reportedly told to pack their belongings and leave on Monday, the day after receiving the notice, according to the local news website.
Separately, the Philippine news outlet Inquirer cited sources saying that the layoffs would result in a workforce reduction of "a low single-digit percentage" and that the decision would probably not have an impact on the company's main activities in the nation.
These layoffs come after the e-commerce company reduced operations across the board, affecting positions at its Singapore headquarters as well as in its branches in China and Indonesia. Around 3% of its workforce, or 180 workers, were let go from these markets.
However, according to experts, mobility in the tech industry may be advantageous for the development of both organizations and employees since it fosters a constantly-evolving atmosphere where viewpoints are challenged and fresh ideas are generated. "Labour mobility is a necessary part of the tech ecology.
The start-up space even more so. The flow of talents to and fro tech companies and institutions like universities or other think tanks - it's crucial because you're growing," Assistant Professor Ng Weiyi said.
A similar statement was made by Ms. Yorlin Ng, chief operating officer of venture capital firm Momentum Works, who claimed that technology is ultimately an iterative field where individuals learn quickly, fail quickly, and then learn again.
"Even if the current company doesn't work out, you as an individual, you picked up skills, knowledge, experience. And when you join another company, you take along what you've learned, then you enrich the ecosystem," she said.
Parent company Sea Limited, which owns Shopee, is one of the companies that have reduced staff. In September of last year, Sea raised the most money in Southeast Asia by selling shares and bonds for nearly US$6 billion.
Ms. Ng noted that while Singapore as a whole strives to be innovative in the technology sector, certain IT workers have difficulty thinking beyond the box, which is a major drawback. "Mindset is really important," she said, "Number one, push the boundaries. Number two, logical thinking. This is what we think we will learn in school, but until you try and use it daily, it's something that I see missing in lots of people here," she said.