IN MAY this year, Mr Teng Han Yong graduated from the Nanyang Technological University with a degree in mechanical engineering.

But it took just five months for him to leave his first job at a local engineering firm.

"The work was monotonous, the pay of my seniors seemed stagnant and they had limited career progression options," said the 26-year-old, who has since become a personal banker.

"About a third of my friends who studied engineering ended up doing something completely different," he added.

Others such as Mr Tan Chin Jiat did take up an engineering job, but in the private sector.

"Like many of my peers then, we had the perception that working in the civil service meant more administrative work instead of hardcore, hands-on engineering work," said Mr Tan, 34, who worked for three years in an oil and gas firm.

But he moved to the public sector four years ago and is now a senior engineer with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Part of his work involves conducting inspections of amusement rides.

"After being on the ground, I realise that the public sector has quite a lot of large infrastructural projects, so there are challenging opportunities as well," he said.

Ms Isabella Yeo, 26, joined the public sector after graduating in 2011.

The senior project engineer with the Land Transport Authority manages the construction of the MRT Downtown Line 3 project and liaises with consultants on design issues.

She said: "I enjoy the work because it exposes me to both the technical aspects as well as managing people."