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Career in Engineering - Is it better now?

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Old 14-02-2016, 10:36 AM
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Default Career in Engineering - Is it better now?

I hear a lot about how Engineering isn't a good career in Singapore. This can be due to the low salary, lack of progression, poor environment, etc. Many of these factors are compared to the supposedly "better" jobs in banking/accounting/etc.

My question is, are what I heard above really true?

There are lots of news regarding the Government encouraging Engineering as a career in Singapore. Further, I'm quite sure that there must be certain good places in engineering, right? Does anyone have experiences/stories to share (those that are not extremely unique situations)?

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Old 14-02-2016, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Path View Post
I hear a lot about how Engineering isn't a good career in Singapore. This can be due to the low salary, lack of progression, poor environment, etc. Many of these factors are compared to the supposedly "better" jobs in banking/accounting/etc.

My question is, are what I heard above really true?
This is true. Long hours, low wage. Engineers are expected to take all these as the norm. Not for anyone looking for 8:30 am to 6 pm job.

Wages for many engineers get stuck at $4,000 to $5,000 unless one moves into project management, which is more management and not engineering. On average you can expect a $100 to $200 increment in monthly salary every year.

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Originally Posted by Path View Post
There are lots of news regarding the Government encouraging Engineering as a career in Singapore. Further, I'm quite sure that there must be certain good places in engineering, right? Does anyone have experiences/stories to share (those that are not extremely unique situations)?
First off, are you planning to study engineering or you are already stuck with an engineering degree? If you still have the freedom to choose, you better think through carefully. Past and present engineers are not leaving engineering for no reason. Many are overworked, underpaid or under-appreciated. Believe in what is happening in reality. If you have friends and relatives who are or were engineers, talk to them to understand the challenges and miseries first hand. Engineering is a broad field, but currently it is a race to the bottom.

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Old 14-02-2016, 03:41 PM
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Source: ://business.asiaone.com/career/news/engineering-losing-its-shine-singapore

Engineering losing its shine in Singapore



Joanna Seow

My PaperTuesday, Feb 10, 2015

[url=://business.asiaone.comcareernews/file/42969]20150210_Reuters_engineer.jpg[/
[://business.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/styles/article-image/public/2015/02/10/20150210_Reuters_engineer.jpg[/





Print








SINGAPORE - When Marcus Chew decided to become an electrical and electronics engineer in 2002, it sounded like an interesting career choice.

But after graduation and four years into his job at a semiconductor firm, the profession was fast losing its shine.

The pay went up by around $50 a year, no matter how hard you worked. It was very demoralising, said the 33-year-old, who also found designing speaker circuits for radios a far cry from what he had signed up for.

My idea of engineering was like Iron Man, but it wasn't like that, he added with a laugh, referring to the comic superhero created by a fictional engineer.

Like about half of his fellow engineers, Mr Chew left the field, and is now a civil servant looking at quality assurance for training.

Engineering, long the backbone of Singapore's economy, has been losing its lustre in the eyes of the young for over a decade. Many covet jobs in banking and finance instead.

So, despite initiatives over the years, including school contests and workshops, firms are increasingly hard-pressed when it comes to finding engineers.

Last year, for the third year running, engineering jobs took the lion's share of professional occupations with the most vacancies.

Five including civil and mechanical engineering are among the top 10 jobs on the list, according to the latest Manpower Ministry statistics for last year.

Besides poorer pay prospects, people think engineering jobs involve getting one's hands dirty and are boring, partly because engineers are not recognised for their work.

Steve Jobs is famous, but not the engineers behind the iPad, noted Nanyang Polytechnic engineering lecturer Edwin Foo.

Curbs on Employment Pass renewals are also leaving open more positions formerly filled by foreigners, said Institute of Engineers, Singapore (IES) honorary fellow and government adviser Lui Pao Chuen.

The result is a talent crunch. Instead of getting experienced engineers, companies like LongTech Engineering have to train new hires from scratch.

Operations director Boyd Sheum said: If they stay only two or three years, then your effort goes down the drain. That's the painful part.

Industries such as manufacturing and construction will suffer if the shortage of skilled staff continues, experts have warned.

To stem the bleeding, companies and industry groups are trying to show students that engineering is cool and interesting.

For example, robotics classes can spur their interest, said Dr Foo. As our population ages, we may need more robots and automation, so this is a field that will be important and exciting.

The Singapore Contractors Association offers six-month industry attachments, and IES is raising funds for 50 undergraduate scholarships it hopes to give out next year.

Once graduates are hooked, keeping them is the next goal. A leadership programme for young engineers was launched by IES and the National Trades Union Congress last year, with two more programmes for managers and chief technology officers planned.

Also, there is room for salaries to rise, said IES president Chong Kee Sen. Employers have to relook the pay scale of mid-level engineers, and look at career progression for them so they see future prospects, he said.

He estimates that an engineer with at least five years of experience earns between $5,000 and $7,000 a month.

[url=://business.asiaone.comcareernews/mailto:[email protected]sph.com.sg][email protected]sph.com.sg[/

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Old 14-02-2016, 04:24 PM
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Thanks for your comments.

I'm actually thinking of entering the engineering field.. Didn't know it's that bad still? Are there any bright spots around in engineering?

Also, based on the article by the above poster, $5k-7k per month after 5 years actually sounds good to me.. Is it common, though?
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Old 14-02-2016, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Path View Post
Thanks for your comments.

I'm actually thinking of entering the engineering field.. Didn't know it's that bad still? Are there any bright spots around in engineering?

Also, based on the article by the above poster, $5k-7k per month after 5 years actually sounds good to me.. Is it common, though?
Take a look at MOM's survey of "Occupational Wages by Industry":
stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Occupational-Wages-Tables2014.aspx

The figure you quoted is well into the 75th percentile of many engineering occupations. Is it possible to earn above 75% of all current engineers simply by working for five years? Can you justify earning above or equal to those in the profession for at least ten years or more?

By all means, enter the industry and prove us wrong, that you're the next shining star in Singapore's faltering engineering industry. One who is not cognizant of such easily available and reliable data will face difficulties regardless of one's preferred path.
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Old 14-02-2016, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Path View Post
Thanks for your comments.

I'm actually thinking of entering the engineering field.. Didn't know it's that bad still? Are there any bright spots around in engineering?

Also, based on the article by the above poster, $5k-7k per month after 5 years actually sounds good to me.. Is it common, though?
The guy who gave the estimate is Institution of Engineers Singapore's president. Sure some lucky ones at the top of the pile can make that kind of money. What we should be looking at is the average engineer, maybe at the 50% percentile.

In the private sector, unless you're in an MNC that takes engineering seriously and is willing to compensate fairly, other companies are simply cost-driven. It's really about how cheap you are willing to go.

In the public sector, most are project engineers or project managers who don't do the actual engineering work, but to manage the vendors who do the work. So don't be surprised if you don't find yourself doing engineering work as an "engineer" in the public sector.

I hope there are people who are more positive than me to chip in to give you a fairer assessment of engineering as a whole.


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Old 14-02-2016, 05:31 PM
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Thanks for your comments.

I'm actually thinking of entering the engineering field.. Didn't know it's that bad still? Are there any bright spots around in engineering?
If you really want to do engineering, do those higher end engineering, maybe like aerospace engineering where people still value quality and safety for higher price. Don't do those mass-manufactured engineering like civil, mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer engineering where China and India are flooding the market with graduates.

However, there is no safe engineering discipline. If it is something that can be taught in university, there is no stopping China and India from teaching them and mass producing graduates who will be desperate for any salary they can get.

And in Singapore, anything can be liberalised by importing foreign professionals willing to take developing world's salary. You can study whatever you want, but if one day the government allows free movement of labor for your profession, there is zero protection from cost competition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Path View Post
Also, based on the article by the above poster, $5k-7k per month after 5 years actually sounds good to me.. Is it common, though?
The logic seems to be like:

Bill Gates was a computer programmer and he is a billionaire.
Be a computer programmer and prepare to be a billionaire too.

Such rare cases do happen, but does it happen to the majority?
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Old 14-02-2016, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Path View Post
Thanks for your comments.

I'm actually thinking of entering the engineering field.. Didn't know it's that bad still? Are there any bright spots around in engineering?

Also, based on the article by the above poster, $5k-7k per month after 5 years actually sounds good to me.. Is it common, though?

8 exp with local GLC
starting at 2.9k now only 4.5k after all these annual increment + 2 promotion......


where got hit 5k after 5 year??

AI~3-3.5% only


engineering sux


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Old 14-02-2016, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Path View Post
Thanks for your comments.

I'm actually thinking of entering the engineering field.. Didn't know it's that bad still? Are there any bright spots around in engineering?

Also, based on the article by the above poster, $5k-7k per month after 5 years actually sounds good to me.. Is it common, though?
I am in the energy engineering industry. Have switched a few jobs in the past 6 years plus. Currently holding engineering management role and is getting monthly basic close to $8k.
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Old 14-02-2016, 10:09 PM
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My situation is quite unique actually.. I'm a new accountancy/finance graduate, and am in first year into my job. It is considered to be a decent job in the market.

However, I'm starting to wonder whether this is for me over the long term.. This is due to:
1) Personality: I somewhat feel that I'm a more "hard/technical/science" person, rather than a "soft/business/fluff" person. I'm not in any of the extreme ends, but slightly more towards the former. This causes a certain fit issue with my existing environment (not sure if it's a job nature, industry or company thing though).
2) Interest: I don't exactly hate what I'm doing.. but it doesn't interest me that much either.
3) Hours: Hours are long; OT daily. --> But from the above, engineering is similar?
4) Pressure: High-pressure, fast-paced environment. Demanding boss.


Just a note, I know that no job is perfect. Just that I want to weigh my options.. It can be a little late for me, but there's like 30 years ahead of me in my career. I don't want to regret only 10 years down the road..
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