SINGAPORE: More than 6,300 opportunities across almost a thousand companies are available in the manufacturing sector through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills programme, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in its latest jobs situation report on Wednesday (Aug 26).
These opportunities cover jobs, traineeships and attachments, and training opportunities for local job seekers.
Close to 5,100 of these opportunities are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) while more than 1,200 are for non-PMETs, said MOM.
Based on data from MyCareersFuture, the top hiring roles in manufacturing include engineering professionals, electronics engineers, manufacturing engineering technicians, production clerks and administrative professionals or associates. The median salaries for these roles range from S$1,500 to S$4,700.
These figures were released as part of the third of a series of weekly updates on the labour market.
The first was issued on Aug 11 by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who said subsequent updates will cover different themes, providing job seekers with “a comprehensive look” at the job situation. The second report highlighted the local start-up scene.
In the latest report on Wednesday focusing on manufacturing, MOM said the sector remains a “significant engine” of the Singapore economy, contributing about 20 per cent to its GDP and employing about 472,000 workers.
Speaking to the media after a visit to the Asia-Pacific headquarters of US medical technology firm Becton Dickinson on Wednesday, Mrs Teo said: “If you consider how diversified and how our economy has developed itself (with) a very vibrant services sector, the fact that we can still retain such a strong core of manufacturing activities is not a given. We've had to work very hard.”
Future updates on the jobs market will feature other sub-sectors of manufacturing, given that the sector remains very resilient and has good job opportunities, she said.
“The sector, even though is constantly under international competitive pressure, has proven itself capable of adaptation, capable of transformation and always still reinventing itself.
"That's, I think, a good way for people who are seeking careers to think about how they can grow a career path (over a longer trajectory,” she said.
Between April and June this year, MOM said more than 730 job seekers entered the manufacturing sector with support from the SGUnited Jobs and Skills programmes.
About 62 per cent are mid-career individuals who participated in Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Professional Conversion Programmes.
MOM added that fresh and recent graduates who have interest in manufacturing can also enter the sector through the SGUnited Traineeships Programme.
“Since June, about 60 of them have embarked on traineeships with more than 25 host organisations to gain industry-relevant experience and build professional networks. We expect more traineeship and attachment positions to be filled in the coming months.”
BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE SUB-SECTOR CONTINUES TO HIRE
While the manufacturing sector has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, MOM said some sub-sectors such as biomedical science remain “bright spots” and continue to need more workers.
From January to June, MOM said output in the biomedical manufacturing cluster grew 26.7 per cent, compared to the same period last year.
This was led by higher production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products in the pharmaceuticals segment.
“Singapore is also a leading location for best-in-class biomedical science manufacturing plants. Industry leaders such as Becton Dickinson, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Amgen have global manufacturing hubs in Singapore. The sector employs around 25,000 workers and continues to hire,” the ministry said.
To date, there are close to 400 opportunities offered by more than 50 companies in the biomedical science sector under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.
Available roles include biotechnologist, production manager (cell and gene therapy), automation engineers, chemist, validation specialists, quality assurance managers and microbiologists. About 75 per cent of these vacancies are currently unfilled.
In anticipation of an increase in manpower demand as the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry continues to grow, WSG and the Economic Development Board have worked with industry stakeholders to launch the new Professional Conversion Programme for advanced biopharmaceuticals manufacturing professionals and executives.
“Together with the Professional Conversion Programme for medical technology engineer and assistant engineer, an additional 450 mid-career job seekers can look forward to new careers in the biomedical science sector over the next three years,” said MOM.
Job seekers can also tap on four biomedical-related courses under the SGUnited Skills programme to undergo training to take on technical roles such as biotechnologist, process technician or engineers, quality control chemist, assistant equipment engineer, manufacturing specialist, maintenance technician and operation manager.
Mrs Teo said these initiatives will help more mid-career workers to transition into the sector, noting that not all jobs within the sector require specific industry experience or expertise.
“There are many opportunities where mid-career persons can enter into the sector with appropriate training support.”
She cited 51-year-old Jayden Chong, who tapped on a career conversion programme to embark on a new job in the biomedical science sector.
Mr Chong previously spent more than two decades in the audio-visual industry but left his job about five years ago to spend more time with his three children. When he decided to return to the workforce last year, he was unsure about what he could do, said Mrs Teo.
Through the WSG’s Attach-and-Train programme for biologics manufacturing, Mr Chong joined British pharmaceutical giant GSK as a trainee and now works as an electric and automation technician.
“This experience … reminds us that when job seekers try to move into new roles, they do need quite a lot of support and we are ramping up our services in order to be able to help individuals like Jayden,” said Mrs Teo.
30% MORE HELPED BY CAREER MATCHING SERVICES THIS YEAR
To better support local job seekers, MOM said the ministry, WSG and their partners have improved accessibility to career advisory and matching services.
A total of 36,400 job seekers received basic career advisory or job search assistance through WSG and NTUC-e2i’s career matching services from January to July this year.
MOM said this is 30 per cent more than the same period last year, despite constraints during the “circuit breaker” period on travelling and face-to-face interactions.
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Of the job seekers who received basic career advisory or job search assistance, 22,700 had individualised career coaching - up 20 per cent from the same period in 2019.
MOM said many job seekers adapted well to phone or video coaching during the circuit breaker, and as at end July, the take-up for such virtual coaching remained high.
For job seekers who were not as digitally savvy, MOM said WSG’s career coaches and career ambassadors guided them to access these services over the phone or through messaging services such as WhatsApp to ensure they would not be disadvantaged.
Together with other career conversion and re-skilling programmes and activities to address mismatches, WSG placed a total of about 19,000 job seekers from January to June. This is about 15 per cent more than the same period last year.
For more information on WSG’s programmes and career advisory and matching services, job seekers can visit the MyCareersFuture website or call WSG’s hotline at 6883 5885.