In the wake of Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0), our societies are navigating uncharted territories where innovation is not just a progression but a continuous and dynamic leap forward. Countries around the world are increasingly recognising the crucial role of a skilled and adaptable ICT workforce as the digital era advances.

The demand for a future-ready ICT workforce is particularly pressing in Brunei Darussalam as the nation strives for economic diversification and gears itself to embrace opportunities presented by the digital revolution.

Brunei ICT Industry Competency Framework

Launched in August 2022, the Brunei ICT Industry Competency Framework (BIICF) serves as a guide for diverse ICT job roles in the country. BIICF is an invaluable resource for ICT professionals, graduates, employers and training providers, developed by the Manpower Industry Steering Committee Working Group for the ICT Sector (MISC-WG ICT).

The framework identified technical and soft skills competencies for job roles across six sub-sectors of the ICT industry, namely IT Services; telecommunications and network; applications and solutions development; ICT security; digital media; and data and artificial intelligence. Key information provided in the BIICF includes job titles, functional group, job description, critical work function, entry requirements, required technical competencies and soft skills with proficiency level, and recommended technical training courses. The framework thus serves as a comprehensive guide on ICT industry job roles, skills and competency requirements.

Jobs in high demand identified by the framework include IT technician, systems engineer, applications developer, solutions architect, data analyst, data engineer, cyber risk analyst and security engineer. These roles, identified through the 2020 ICT Manpower Survey and industry engagement sessions, guide the development of targeted training and competency enhancement programmes in Brunei’s evolving ICT landscape.

Manpower Planning and Employment Council

Set up in 2019, the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) carries the role of ensuring effective human resources planning and corresponding workability addressing the issue of unemployment in the county.

In steering Brunei towards the realisation of Goal 3 outlined in Brunei Vision 2035 — the attainment of a dynamic and sustainable economy — the Economic Blueprint titled “Towards a Dynamic and Sustainable Economy” serves as a crucial guide for implementing agencies and stakeholders.

Emphasising strategic priorities, the blueprint underscores the significance of fortifying five identified priority sectors: downstream oil and gas, food, tourism, ICT, and services. The overarching aim is to cultivate these sectors, fostering not only economic growth but also the creation of substantial and meaningful job opportunities.

However, the success of this endeavour hinges on the readiness of the workforce to embrace emerging job opportunities at the opportune moment, equipped with the necessary skills and a forwardthinking mentality.

To prepare for the evolving job landscape, MPEC collaborates closely with industry stakeholders through the Manpower Industry Steering Committee (MISC) and other agencies. Their collective efforts focus on mapping the growth trajectories of existing industries and pinpointing critical occupations, which are those in high demand anticipated up to 2025 and are envisioned to be filled by local talents. Currently, the initiative has identified 60 critical occupations spanning the energy, construction, ICT, hospitality and tourism, as well as transportation and logistics sectors, with this list continuously expanding.

The meticulous identification of these occupations plays a pivotal role, guiding the formulation of strategic initiatives, policies, and training curricula aimed at empowering individuals to acquire the necessary skills to seize job and career opportunities.

JobCentre Brunei

JobCentre Brunei (JCB) serves as a comprehensive career hub, prioritising support and services for job seekers and employers in the private sector. Their offerings include job matching, interactive outreach programmes connecting job seekers with employers, training sessions to enhance employability, and complimentary facility rentals.

To improve accessibility, JCB has introduced several initiatives such as an express registration service, a Telegram channel for updates, virtual sessions for both job seekers and employers, and a digital subscription service notifying job seekers of relevant opportunities.

Expanding its reach, JCB established Satellite Offices in every district, offering personalised services such as account registration, job matching consultations, CV writing assistance, interview skills development, and opportunities for upskilling and reskilling.

The success of JCB’s outreach programmes resulted in over 4,000 locals employed and securing apprenticeships as of October 2022.

Trend in labour market

According to the recently published Labour Force Survey Report 2022, Brunei experienced a modest uptick in its unemployment rate, from 4.9 per cent in 2021 to 5.2 per cent in 2022.

Prepared by the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (JPES) under the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the survey report showcased an encouraging trend in the country’s labour market, compared to the 7.3 per cent unemployment rate recorded in 2020.

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