Big jump in jobs available in manufacturing sector

Openings double to 6,370; outreach efforts boosted to connect job seekers to vacancies

Apart from jobs, there are about 2,710 company-hosted traineeships and attachments, as well as 1,330 training opportunities.
Apart from jobs, there are about 2,710 company-hosted traineeships and attachments, as well as 1,330 training opportunities.PHOTO: ST FILE

The manufacturing sector is showing surprising resilience in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, ramping up its output and churning out more jobs.

There were about 6,370 jobs available in the sector in the middle of last month - almost double the 3,200 job openings reported at the end of August - it was revealed yesterday.

The sector has emerged as a bright spot in the recession-hit economy.

In September, Singapore's manufacturing output rose by 24.2 per cent, compared with the same month last year - the biggest year-on-year increase since December 2011. The growth was driven mainly by the biomedical manufacturing and electronics sub-sectors, which continue to expand and hire.

At the same time, segments such as marine and offshore, which saw output contract, have been pivoting to new growth areas to seize opportunities even during the downtime, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

They continue to require workers to take on new job roles in areas such as automation and data analytics, to support their business transformation efforts.

Job openings make up 61 per cent of the more than 10,400 job, traineeship and training opportunities available in the manufacturing sector, said MOM in its weekly jobs situation report.

Of the jobs available, seven in 10 are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

"We know it takes time for job seekers to be familiar with these openings," said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo at a virtual press conference yesterday.

"It is therefore important that we continue to reach out to them so that they see the whole range of options that are available. We will also do our best to get job seekers into these available openings."

Outreach efforts have been stepped up to enable this, and the results have been encouraging, said Mrs Teo. Placements into manufacturing have almost tripled from end-June, she added.

About 2,120 people have been placed into jobs, traineeships and training positions in the manufacturing sector as at the middle of last month.

About 1,350 of them have found jobs. Another 320 have been placed in traineeships and attachments, while 450 took on training openings.

Within the sector, electronics, precision engineering and food manufacturing had the most available openings.

Electronics engineers, for instance, can earn monthly salaries of between $4,300 and $6,000. The median monthly pay is $4,700.

Mrs Teo also touched on the marine and offshore sub-sector, in which there are over 800 available openings, including 700 jobs.

About 84 per cent of these jobs are in PMET roles.

The sub-sector, which employs close to 77,000 workers, has been hit hard in the past few years, due largely to weakened rig demand from the slump in global oil prices.

Companies also had to stop non-essential work or operate at reduced capacities to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

But hiring continued among firms in marine activities such as ship repair, conversion, and refurbishment during this period.

The Government has extended the enhanced training support package to encourage companies to upskill their workers during this downtime, including offering course fee subsidies.

Companies have also been tapping Workforce Singapore's redeployment professional conversion programmes (PCPs) to equip workers with new skill sets, so that they can take on new roles and support their firms' move into growth areas.

Mrs Teo stressed that while companies move to new growth areas, their workers will also need to pick up new skills and be redeployed.

She added that even though the sector requires highly skilled manpower, those looking for a mid-career switch can tap the PCPs, traineeships and attachments to "help lower the barriers to entry and ease their transition".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2020, with the headline 'Big jump in jobs available in manufacturing sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe