Sectors in Focus (Engineering)

By Priya Sunil

Singapore’s strategic geographical location continuously attracts business investments across different sectors from all around the world. The engineering sector constantly presents new opportunities and undiscovered potential and continues to contribute significantly to Singapore’s growth as an overall Business Hub.

Notable Engineering Achievements

One area with considerable room for engineering growth is green industry. The CleanTech Park, which is developed by JTC Corporation and set to be ready by 2030, is Singapore’s first eco-business park. It will give a boost to environmentally-sustainable businesses and promote engineering opportunities for locals (its proximity to the Nanyang Technological University, an established institute for local engineering programmes, also helps). Another notable achievement includes Singapore’s longest man-made waterway, the Punggol Waterway Park, a joint effort between the National Parks Board and the Housing & Development Board. In addition to creating leisure space for residents, the park was also opened to increase park and water frontage for the Punggol housing estate – an effort largely facilitated by the environmental and civil engineers who minimised the impact of the Waterway Park’s construction on both the environment and nearby residents.

Engineering Singapore’s Economy

Regardless of their specialisation, engineers are thus highly sought-after for their invaluable technical skills. Their innovation and problem-solving ability are also an asset to both private sector organisations like Sembcorp Industries and Keppel Group to numerous Singapore Public Service agencies like LTA and the National Environment Agency (NEA). In addition, many global firms in the industry have also established their names in Singapore - Black & Veatch and Foster Wheeler among others – further pushing Singapore’s position globally. The sector now plays an important role in driving the economy – accounting for about 1.2% of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 37,000 people employed.

Common Engineering Misconceptions

Naturally, every industry comes with its own misconceptions and engineering is no different. Here are a couple of the more common ones that deserve debunking:

1. It’s a Man’s World

Engineering is commonly perceived as a ‘man’s job’. The engineering field naturally requires a high level of technical skill and many people tend to perceive engineering as a ‘nerdy’ profession that shuns women.

On the contrary, there is a growing number of women taking interest in the different fields of engineering. In 2014, the percentage of females enrolling in engineering studies was approximately 30% of the total cohort. Female engineers are also increasingly taking the spotlight – Sembcorp Utilities Engineer Felicia Pan is one notable example.

2. Engineers have ‘No Life’

Engineering involves considerable hands-on commitment and may require shift work. Engineers are thus widely perceived to have no quality time for their family and friends. In reality, most engineers are just like any other employees. They work a typical average of eight to nine hours a day (excluding the occasional overtime) – having ample time to enjoy life away from work! And when they do work shifts, they are often compensated with ample Off-in-Lieu.

Engineering the Right Fit

In a nutshell, Singapore’s engineering sector is an exciting mix of creativity and technicality with opportunities for growth, success and recognition!

If you have an interest in engineering but are uncertain about which field best suits you, we’ve highlighted some essential skills that are applicable across most engineering specialities:

‘Soft’ skills: Interpersonal and communication skills, report writing, problem-solving, critical thinking, meticulousness and a keen eye-for-detail.

‘Hard’ Skills: Auto-CAD drawing, computer programming/coding, a natural understanding of machinery and hardware (especially computer hardware), data analysis, fabricating prototypes, troubleshooting and IT skills.

All geared up for a career in Engineering? Browse all engineering jobs here!

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