SINGAPORE - Public engineers can expect higher salaries and a more structured career path in a move to draw and keep talent in an industry that has been losing its shine.

Engineers have "played a big part in Singapore's development over the past 50 years", and have put in place housing, public utilities and communications infrastructure to improve residents' lives, said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

Speaking at the opening of The Institution of Engineers' (IES) building at Bukit Tinggi on Tuesday (Feb 16), he added: "As we transition into an innovation economy, we need to build up capabilities in newer engineering and multi-disciplinary fields.

"We need more and better engineers who go beyond just designing, building, operating and maintaining public infrastructure and systems with their deep technical expertise."

To meet future challenges, the government will hire an additional 1,000 engineers this year, a 13 per cent increase compared with 2015, Mr Teo said.

It will also introduce a leadership programme to groom engineers to take on positions such as chief engineers, chief technologists and chief scientists in ministries and public agencies.

Structured training and development opportunities to help public engineers "continually refresh and upgrade their skills" will also be available.

Furthermore, a salary review will be conducted this year to make sure that "engineers are fairly compensated for the work that they do", the minister said.

"Specifically, we will be revising the salaries for fresh graduate engineers, as well as in-service engineers to keep pace with market benchmarks," Mr Teo said.

More details about these changes will be announced during the Committee of Supply debate in April this year, he added.

Mr Chong Kee Sen, IES' president, said that the changes are a "good start" to draw more people and more needs to be done.

"Schools can make classes more exciting and employers can make engineers' jobs more interesting," Mr Chong said, noting that IES, with its new building, can organise more training and networking sessions to draw closer the professional community.