SINGAPORE: The starting salary for engineers joining the Public Service upon graduation will start from S$3,800 a month, and those in information and communications technology (ICT) from S$4,000, an average increase of 20 per cent, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean announced in Parliament on Wednesday (Apr 13) as part of the Committee of Supply debate.
Additionally, the salaries of engineers currently in the public service will be reviewed and raised where needed, he added.
This will start from mid-2016.
Mr Teo said the Government will pay a premium for engineers with skills that are in high demand and short supply, such as malware analysts and those in cyber forensics, or those with niche skills that are specific and critical to the Government.
This comes after he announced in February that the Public Service will employ an additional 1,000 this year.
In Parliament, Mr Teo announced that the 70 per cent of the 1,000 new engineers will support infrastructure development needs, including transport and water systems, while the rest will support the Smart Nation efforts.
He also said that if there are not enough Singaporeans to be hired, foreigners will be employed.
"But clearly we want to develop a strong engineering core in the Public Service in those areas which I described," Mr Teo added. "And for that we will build up Singaporeans to be able to take leadership roles and expertise roles in those areas."
"Also they could well be immigrants who have joined the core and become Singaporeans."
NEW COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK
The Government will also developing competency frameworks for engineers from seven public agencies, such as PUB and the Housing Development Board, in the second half of 2016.
The framework will articulate the knowledge and skills that public sector engineers require as they progress in their careers, said Mr Teo.
The Deputy Prime Minister added that the Government will also build on existing programmes that agencies have in place for technical specialists, as well as make a more concerted effort to identify and develop engineers with deep technical expertise to take on key scientific, engineering and technical leadership positions in ministries and public agencies.
"We will be expanding the scope of some of the existing technical leadership positions in our agencies, and creating more new ones," he said.
MORE CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
The Government is also in the process of establishing Centres of Excellence in geospatial information and cyber security, said Mr Teo.
"These centres will aggregate key capabilities and build deep engineering expertise in critical areas of need," he added.
They will join another three Centres of Excellence that have already been set up: JTC, for infrastructure projects and facilities management services, and R&D in innovation, safety and construction productivity; the Defence Science and Technology Agency, in the areas of sensors, robotics and the integration of command systems; and GovTech, for the digital transformation of the public sector.
"Taken together, these measures will attract more Singaporeans to take up engineering as a meaningful, fulfilling, and exciting, long-term career in the Public Service, and deepen our public sector engineering capabilities over time," said Mr Teo.