Forget investment banking. ‘Data scientist’ is the new hot job, and you will be vying with a lot fewer people for a position... for now. 

SINGAPORE (Apr 15): One would hardly associate the description of “cool and innovative” with the type of jobs at Sembcorp Industries, the conglomerate whose businesses of utilities, rig-building and urban planning would have likely attracted the most steady and staid of both talent and investors. Yet, that is how Partha Dutta, a PhD in artificial intelligence from India, describes his job at the group, whose largest shareholder is Temasek Holdings.

Dutta is leading a team of about 20 data scientists who have been hired by Sembcorp as the group embarked on its transformation into a business at the forefront of changes in the urban and environmental landscape. In February last year, newly appointed CEO Neil McGregor laid out revival plans for the erstwhile conservative group as its earnings took a hit from the offshore and marine down cycle, as well as the declining performance of its utilities businesses in Singapore and India. McGregor said Sembcorp’s future lay in a focus on sustainability, which also entails repositioning the core Utilities unit to deal with the changing business of energy as it moves towards decentralisation, demand disruption, decarbonisation and digitalisation.

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