International Enterprise Singapore expects investment in infrastructure projects in Asia to reach US$8 trillion (S$10 trillion) by 2020, creating a surge in demand for jobseekers with engineering expertise in areas such as utilities, power generation, public transport systems and water management.

The Government and private sector in this city-state continue to invest heavily in infrastructure projects, with Project Jewel and Terminal 4 at Changi Airport well underway and expected to be operational by 2018.

The MRT Eastern Region Line and Thomson Line will be completed over the next 10 years, while the Downtown Line will be fully open by 2017.

Major road networks such as the North-South Expressway and Marina Coastal Expressway are progressing as planned.

Additionally, more shopping malls, office buildings, condominiums, housing and public spaces will be needed to support the Government’s forecasted 30 per cent rise in population, expected to reach to 6.9 million residents by 2030.

The sheer scale of these projects points towards a growing demand for employees in the civil engineering sector — from fresh graduates to experienced engineers, who will be required to carry out a wide range of work including planning, designing, construction and maintenance. 

For school-leavers considering their career path, civil engineering is a solid option which offers excellent career progression and long-term job security.

While these jobs can demand long working hours to see through a project to completion, and sometimes lack the comfort and glamour of an office job, engineering offers higher salaries and bonuses compared to other professions.

In some cases, experienced civil engineers can command a monthly salary of up to $20,000.

To build a career in the world of civil engineering, here are a few tips to get you on the right path:

•   Get a relevant degree. A bachelor’s degree in engineering from a reputable university is necessary as it provides the fundamental technical knowledge required for the job. A higher degree, such as a master’s or PhD is not essential, but will give you a stronger theoretical foundation and will be highly regarded.

•   Seek industry experience. Engineering is a hands-on job and with no room for mistakes. Getting industry experience through an internship while you are studying provides the opportunity to learn and apply your theoretical knowledge to real-world challenges. It will also give you a taste of what it would be like to work full-time in the industry.

•   Obtain a Professional Engineering Certificate (PE). This is something to consider after you complete your four-year university degree. It will require you to work under a professional engineer for at least four years and maintain and improve your skills throughout your career. However, the results are well worth the effort. Having a PE demonstrates to your clients that you have got the top credentials, and it is highly regarded by potential employers.

•   Don’t job-hop. Changing jobs allows you to gain valuable technical knowledge in a range of different environments and projects. However, shifting jobs too often gives the hiring manager the impression that you can’t see a project through — which is very important in the project-based world of engineering. My advice is to complete at least two projects before you look to move on.

Rewarding career

A career in engineering suits someone who is driven, enjoys project-based work, can think logically and thrives on problem-solving.

Career progression in civil engineering is relatively fast, and talented engineers are generally promoted after successfully completing a couple of projects. The pay scales and standard career progression for capable civil engineers are  competitive (see table above).

A career in civil engineering can be extremely rewarding, and can result in a high sense of achievement. By mixing creativity and science, civil engineers build structures that define our modern world — so you will be able to see the results of your hard work for many years to come.

 

What Engineers Earn

Years of experience

Title

Salary per month

1 to 2 years

Engineer                     

Around $3,000

3 to 5 years

Senior Engineer

$5,000  to $6,000

6 to 9 years

Assistant Project Manager/ Project Manager

$7,000 to $12,000

Above 10 years

Project Director

$12,000 to $20,000

 

Article by Chris Pace, Associate Director (Construction, Property & Engineering) at Randstad Singapore. For more information, visit www.randstad.com.sg