S’pore updates industry transformation plans to boost production, add 13,400 jobs by 2025

In 2021, one in every eight jobs in Singapore – or around 450,400 jobs – were manufacturing jobs. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Refreshed Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) for five advanced manufacturing and trade clusters will uplift companies in Singapore and create at least 13,400 new jobs.

The ITMs were unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific 2022 trade event at Singapore Expo.

The ITMs will support research and development, deep tech innovation, extensive digitalisation and environmental sustainability across the electronics, precision engineering, energy and chemicals, aerospace, and logistics sectors.

These sectors contribute about 80 per cent of Singapore’s annual manufacturing output, said the Economic Development Board (EDB).

The ITMs also aim to help small and medium-sized enterprises adopt new technologies and build capabilities to capture global business opportunities by fostering partnerships with larger international firms and institutes of higher learning.

The ITMs were first introduced in 2016 to integrate different restructuring efforts for 23 industries, and to deepen partnerships between the Government, firms and trade associations.

EDB said the strategies outlined in the five ITMs pave the way towards Singapore’s overall goal to grow manufacturing value-added by 50 per cent from 2020 to 2030.

Value-added is defined as the value of goods minus the cost, such as raw materials and supplies, wages, rent and taxes, incurred in producing them.

Manufacturing is the largest component of Singapore’s economy, making up 22 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product in 2021.

In 2021, one in every eight jobs in Singapore – or around 450,400 jobs – were manufacturing jobs.

The ITMs will spur the continued creation of good jobs for Singaporeans, and ensure workers have the relevant Industry 4.0, tech and sustainability skills to take on roles in emerging areas, EDB said.

The emerging areas include additive manufacturing and robotics for the precision engineering and aerospace sectors; artificial intelligence for the electronics sector, digitalisation for the logistics sector, and process engineering for sustainable products in the energy and chemicals sector.

EDB said that with the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, the local manufacturing workforce has evolved to become a “white-collar” workforce, with more PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) than non-PMETS in manufacturing roles.

Sixty-eight per cent of the Singapore citizens and permanent residents in manufacturing worked in PMET roles, a 6 percentage point increase from 2017.

Manufacturing labour productivity also grew by 11.9 per cent a year from 2017 to 2021, up from 5.3 per cent a year in the preceding five years.

An example is Fong’s Engineering & Manufacturing, which became the first Singapore small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) to launch a fully-automated production line in 2019. The firm makes high-end medical devices.

Mr. Joseph Wong, its director for technology and transformation, said: “Once we decided that we need to transform, we started working on how to do it. And soon we identified that the Government support offered under the ITMs strategy will helped us achieve our transformation.”

Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan, who is also co-chair of the Future Economy Council’s advanced manufacturing and trade cluster, said: “The refreshed ITMs support our vision to build a technology-enabled, sustainable and resilient manufacturing sector for Singapore to remain at the heart of changing global supply chains.”

Details of the strategies and outcomes provided by EDB showed that the electronics ITM will help introduce 5,200 new PMET jobs by 2025 in the sector, which in 2020 employed 64,900 workers.

The precision engineering ITM is expected to create 3,200 new PMET jobs by 2025. The aerospace ITM aims to restore total employment of the industry to pre-pandemic levels of 22,000 by adding 3,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, the logistics sector’s ITM will add 2,000 new jobs by 2025.

Mr Chen Kok Sing, co-chair of the Future Economy Council’s advanced manufacturing and trade cluster and Singapore country manager at Micron Semiconductor Asia, said: “The five ITMs aim to pave the way for more innovative technologies and would create a more interconnected, advanced and sustainable manufacturing sector.”

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