SINGAPORE: Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Singapore’s economy, the electronics sector has continued to grow, with more than 130 companies in the industry offering more than 2,800 jobs, traineeships and training opportunities since April.
Of these, about 1,880 are for jobs, according to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) latest jobs situation report released on Monday (Oct 19). About 95 per cent of the jobs were for professional, manager, executive and technician (PMET) roles.
The majority were for technical roles, such as manufacturing engineering technicians, electronics or mechanical engineers and industrial and production engineers.
There were also non-technical roles, such as buyers and purchasing agents, sales and marketing executives, as well as business development managers.
Salaries for these roles range from S$1,800 to S$8,500, depending on the skills required, the ministry said.
READ: 2,800 job seekers placed in traineeship and company attachments under SGUnited Jobs and Skills programmes
ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO EXPAND
The report noted that electronics was the only industry within the manufacturing sector that saw an increase in total employment locally, hiring 1,000 people even amid the largest contraction on record in the second quarter of 2020.
"This was partly due to the surge in demand for digital goods and services to help individuals stay connected, even with travel restrictions, safe distancing measures and remote working arrangements in place," said MOM in its report.
"Besides increasing capacity to meet demands for electronics components, firms are also transforming to focus on higher-value manufacturing activities by using technology such as Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation."
Speaking to reporters during a visit to semiconductor firm Globalfoundries’ premises in Woodlands, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that the semiconductor industry contributes about 7 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product, up from less than 1 per cent in 1990s.
“As of September 2020, we have already recorded more than S$5.7 billion in fixed assets investment and more than S$376 million in total business expenditure in the electronics sector. This will create more than 1,100 jobs in the next three to five years as the investments are fulfilled,” he said.
OPPORTUNITIES IN THE ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY
Some job seekers may think they require a technical background to apply for a job in the electronics sector, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.
“It is true that quite a lot of the job roles are technical in nature. But it doesn't mean that if you don't have a background in electronics, you cannot find your way into this sector,” added Mrs Teo.
“You may have been in a technical role, but in a different sector. There are ways in which your skills can be transferred, with the addition of domain knowledge, you can equally access the opportunities in electronics.
“At the same time, there are also job roles at the PMET level within electronics that do not always require a technical background."
MOM said it is "not necessarily true" that employers in the electronics industry only hire job seekers from the same sector or those with technical skills.
"Many mid-career individuals from other industries have been able to successfully enter (or re-enter) the industry," said the ministry, adding that the sector offers non-technical roles that job seekers without engineering backgrounds can apply for.
"Employers also value transferrable skills and wealth of experience of mid-career individuals," MOM said.
Those who are keen to join the electronics industry but lack the relevant skills can "bridge skills gaps" through Workforce Singapore's (WSG) career conversion programmes.
WSG offers 10 Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) and Place-and-Train Programme, which impart different skills, from engineering, supply chain and logistics, manufacturing, operations to technical skills.
Job seekers with limited or no prior experience can tap on of company-hosted traineeships and attachments under the SGUnited Traineeships and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programmes to gain exposure to the work in the industry.
Roles offered include lab technologist trainee, plant data automation trainee and production technology trainee, among others.
MOM also highlighted training courses under the SGUnited Skills Programme, such as the semiconductor technology programme offered by Singapore Polytechnic and the converged infocomm infrastructure programme offered by Nanyang Polytechnic.
Between April to September this year, more than 220 people have been placed into jobs and traineeships in the electronics sector, the report said.
MOM said 180 people found jobs or took on new roles, about half of whom were above the age of 40. More than 40 people have enrolled in traineeships since June.
In the first nine months of this year, about 51,700 job seekers have received basic career advisory or job search assistance through WSG's and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute's (e2i) career matching services.
"This 49 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of job seekers assisted is due to increased outreach through an expansion of WSG and NTUC’s e2i touchpoints, as well as increased demand of jobseekers wanting to make career transition," said MOM.