A total of 122,500 professionals were employed as engineers as of June 2015, of whom 6 in 10 were locals, Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck told Parliament on Tuesday (5 April).
He was replying to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah, who had asked for the number of engineers currently working in Singapore and the breakdown by locals, permanent residents, and foreigners.
In the government sector, the “majority” of engineers employed were locals, Teo said, responding to Lee’s follow-up question about the number of engineer jobs in government agencies and statutory boards that were filled by Singaporeans.
“Employing of the engineers will be based on skill set,” Teo said, adding that some software and specialised skill sets were not “readily available here”.
“We will always do our best to try to make sure our local engineers are given a fair chance and opportunity to take on positions,” Teo said.
He also said engineers had functional skills that were applicable across different sectors.
Teo had earlier said engineers played a crucial role in Singapore and were needed to grow key sectors such as manufacturing and telecommunications. Engineers were also key to improving infrastructure and driving the Smart Nation initiative, a national effort to harness technology for innovation.
“We respect and we feel that engineering skills and engineers themselves need to be recognised and rewarded,” the MOS said.
In a second follow-up question, Lee asked how many engineering positions in government agencies were filled by foreigners and whether the government would lead by example by employing just Singaporeans.
“We have many positions with engineering grads filling up the positions, both engineering jobs and non-engineering jobs. Majority of them are filled by locals,” Teo replied.
“So we will do our best wherever we could, based on merits, to give our local engineers, our local graduates… to be employed in the civil service.”
Responding to a supplementary question from MP Desmond Choo, Teo said his ministry was encouraging former engineers to return to the industry. Based on feedback, there was a lack of engineers, Teo added.
“We encourage them (to return to the profession) through different programmes of support. There are already current programmes in career support to bring them back, especially the mature engineers,” Teo said.
6 of 6 are new local ?