THERE is growing demand for experienced local engineers as Singapore-based engineering firms expand their mechanical and electrical departments but the supply of suitable candidates remains tight, a recruiting firm said.

According to Hays, mechanical and electrical designers, mechanical design engineers and civil engineers are among the candidates leading the Hays Quarterly Report list of skills in demand for the second quarter of this year.

"Due to high workload, employers want to increase their headcount," said Christine Wright, managing director of Hays. "They prefer local professionals or expatriates who have been naturalized here and have relevant local work experience. Some organisations are also occasionally willing to hire from overseas when the expertise required for the role doesn't exist locally."

Ms Wright also highlighted that there is growing demand for candidates who possess robust presentation skills since technical roles increasingly require interaction with clients. Consulting firms are also actively seeking electrical engineers owing to the various MRT and hospital projects in the works.

She added: "However, employers should note that most candidates are not looking to move from one consultancy to another unless it is for a step up or higher salary. This rarely happens as organisations are not usually willing to offer an increment of more than five to seven per cent. As a result, the supply of suitable candidates remains limited."

Another challenge affecting the supply of relevant candidates is that educational qualifications have to be from a university recognised by the Professional Engineers Board of Singapore.