This week’s Jobs Situation Report focuses on Precision Engineering (PE), an industry within the manufacturing sector. We also feature skills sought after by employers and reskilling programmes to help jobseekers and existing employees in the industry.
SGUnited Jobs and Skills Opportunities in Precision Engineering Industry
The PE industry is an integral part of the global manufacturing economy. It supplies critical products and expertise to manufacture complex components and equipment used in industries such as semi-conductors, medical technology, marine, offshore and aerospace. In Singapore, the PE industry employs more than a fifth of the 473,000 workers in the manufacturing sector and contributed approximately $38 billion in total output in 2019.
Despite the more subdued market, the PE industry continues to see pockets of growth. Overall the PE cluster grew 11.4% in the period January to July 2020 compared to the same period last year. Among the better performers are:
Companies serving the Medical Technology and Semiconductor sectors, due to increasing demand of COVID-19 related products such as diagnostic kits and ventilators;
Companies that supply machinery and systems as well as precision modules and components that make up tech appliances to facilitate remote working (e.g. monitors);
Companies that provide digital solutions, e.g. automation/robotics companies and sensor companies, that would reduce the manpower needed on the shop floor to better adhere to safe distancing guidelines.
Since April, more than 270 companies in the PE industry have offered close to 1,500 opportunities, majority of which are for PMETs (see Chart 1 below) such as Product Engineer, Electrical & Electronics Engineer, Quality Assurance Inspector. Employers are also hiring for non-PMET roles such as Production Operator, Welder and Pipe Fitter.
Salaries offered for PMET roles vary according to the specific job nature and skills requirements.
Between April and July 2020, more than 260 jobseekers have found jobs in the PE industry through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, of which more than 40% were mid-career individuals who took part in career conversion programmes1. Since April 2020, more than 30 jobseekers have also entered company-hosted traineeships and attachments.
Reskilling Programmes for Jobseekers and Existing Employees in the Industry
Mid-career individuals who entered PE through the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) tended to be from the electronics, energy, chemicals, logistics, ICT and oil & gas industries. For instance:
56-year-old former Production and Planning Manager, Tim Tan made a switch from Oil & Gas into PE after his employers restructured the business and closed his division.
Having spent 27 years with his employer, Tim was anxious and worried about re-entering the workforce. In September 2019, he reached out to Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Careers Connect for assistance.
Career coach worked with him to improve his resume and guided his job search.
Tim also attended career workshops, where he met one of WSG’s consultants who also referred him to prospective employers.
Within two weeks, local SME 3D Metalforge offered him the role of Operations Manager, having been impressed by his wealth of working experience, people-management skills and adaptability.
To help Tim bridge his skill gaps and assimilate into his new role more quickly, the SME placed him through the six-month PCP for Advanced Manufacturing Engineer in March 2020.
Jobseekers who are new to PE but keen to make the career switch can tap on career conversion programmes to bridge their skill gaps. In many cases, especially for those with engineering experience, the transition to the PE industry was relatively seamless as the skills that they had acquired over the years tend to be highly transferable. The table below highlights some of the transferrable skills from other sectors and skills that enhance career prospects for mid-career individuals in PE.
Jobseekers with little or no prior experience can also gain exposure to the industry by taking up traineeships or company-hosted attachments. They can pick up the relevant skills as well as build their professional networks – not only within the PE industry but also across the manufacturing sector in roles such as R&D Engineer, Production Planner, Manufacturing Design Engineer, Associate Test Engineer.
Alternatively, jobseekers can also take up the training courses2 under the SGUnited Skills programme to boost their resumes and increase their chances of finding a suitable job match. SkillsFuture Singapore has worked with Nanyang Polytechnic to roll out four training courses for PE, covering job roles like Master Craftsmen and Assistant Engineers.
Workers who have successfully moved into the industry are encouraged to constantly reskill to keep up with the changes in a fast-paced industry. The Skills Framework for PE has been refreshed to outline career pathways for 15 occupations and job roles in the industry. It also includes their critical work functions, existing and emerging skills in demand, in particular, the SkillsFuture Series for Advanced Manufacturing has relevant courses for the PE sector. These courses aim to equip operators, technicians, engineers with emerging skills in areas including robotics and automation, additive manufacturing and Industrial Internet of Things to upskill them in line with the industry’s transformation.
For more information on WSG’s programmes and career advisory and matching services, jobseekers are encouraged to visit www.mycareersfuture.sg/careercoaching (scan QR code below to visit the website) or call WSG’s hotline at 6883 5885. For more information on SSG’s SGUnited Skills programmes, jobseekers can visit https://www.myskillsfuture.sg/sgunitedskills.