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I was in the semiconductor manufacturing industry (quality engineer) for 2 years before I jumped out to a more commercial role. Before I entered the industry, I already knew I had to get out (I had a WDA sponsorship). When I was inside the industry, I knew even more I had to get out quicker. It took me 7-8 months for my job search process before I manage to get something that are closer to my goals. Along the way, I refined my resume, think hard about what I want, continued to apply jobs (I believe I sent out 200+ applications). And I can imagine it will be even more tough for those whom have worked for more than 5 years in electronics industry to move out. I guess you have to lower your salary, accept more junior roles etc.

Hi hyom, if you are doing well in your investments, you can always use it to apply for related jobs. I think it will help. Alternatively, the govt EDB or IE are constantly looking for people whom are savy with both technical and commercial knowledge and willing to spend time overseas for their projects. In the meantime, it is also possible to get income like tuition or start doing property agent as part time or other part time jobs like telemarketing. Good luck with your job search!

In Singapore, there is no conducive environment for engineers to grow. For the past 2 years working in a small process of the entire organization, I do not think I created much value at all. Even if I managed to push for my fellow colleagues to tackle some very difficult problems and improve the yield or reliability, the knowledge is easily lost and the world does not continue to benefit from it much. It is my opinion that it is untrue that being educated in engineering means that you will be able to create value in people's life. What matters in value creation is more on the person whether how he or she chooses to contributes to the society through his or her daily activities or work. So it does not matter whether you are investor, engineer, scientist, economist or etc, you will create value if you want to create value.

However, I will prefer my children in the future to study engineering in the future as the inertia to obtain the knowledge in engineering science is much greater than other subjects like finance, business etc. To teach them to create value in life, you have to act as a role model and through your values inculcate them to contribute to the society.
This is partly due to the "results" of the getting too much "FT" without thinking of the consequences to the middle class. Our PMETs are slowly but surely losing our jobs to the "FT". All the supposingly GDP growth in fact has worsen our lives, making things more expensive. Really sad to see a country that I had serve digilently fall into a state where it does not care about its people.
The choice to study Engineering should not be based on monetary outcome as Engineering is not a controlled profession like Doctors, Lawyers, etc. A large part of the consideration should be based on Interest. Do you love to work with electronics/electrical things? Does it motivate you to work on it even when you are not being paid? For example, like a hobby/passion. Having said that, of course, all of us needs to make a living. My feeling is that many students went into Engineering not knowing very well about the field. Perhaps just because they did well in Maths and/or Science in schools (like me).

Foreigners' competition is one (tough) thing. Another is the amount of time and effort required to stay/do well in this field. Overtimes, work over weekends, stress induced by project deadlines, etc. are all very taxing. Only those who have been through it will know it. Plus the uncertainty of company closure/reorganization/layoff, and future job prospects etc. So I would say this profession is pretty tough and volatile. I would not recommend my children to go into Engineering unless they have a burning desire in Engineering.
Engineering - just like law, accounting, business studies, or any other established course of study offered in most universities - is a wide domain. I suppose to succeed in an engineering career or business, first of all one has to be good, and that means acquiring enough experience and exposure through on-the-job and self- learning. This will definitely require time, effort, and more importantly a certain focus, and better still driven with a passion. On top of it all, when a young person has learned enough including the basic and general stuff in the first few years of his working life, he should start to specialise and go into a niche area - e.g., a certain type of work, or a company producing a certain 'niche' product with a defined longer-term demand prospect, etc. If necessary, he may even have to decide to relocate to a bigger country market like PRC, so that he can pursue real big work/business opportunities and flex his talents and muscles, whether working for others or doing a business on his own. Based on the above model, I don't think Engineering is any worst off than say law or accounting.

Whatever one chooses to do as a career or business, I think it is always good to also aim to achieve financial freedom early say by 40 to 45 years old, so that he can have the option to slow down in work and have enough time to enjoy the other things in life.

It's not "fair" to compare an Electronics Engineer with a Doctor / Lawyer. Even though at the top tier, there's little to separate their entry reults (eg. 'A' Level), and assuming both go out and work with the same drive and passion for their respective employers, you're very unlikey going to find an Electronics Engineer staying in a landed property (paid for using their hard earned $$) vs a Doctor / Lawyer, after 5-10 years on the job.


Cos' the Doctors / Lawyers profession is characterised by an incredible franchise that has high barrier to entry and they have good core competencies. The reverse is true for an Electronics Engineer.

Barrier to Entry - The nos. of local Law/Medicine undergraduates is limited by the government and the aspirants have to go through a stringent round of selection interviews before they can even be admitted. There's also strict control by their professional bodies and non local graduates (whether Singaporeans or foreigners) have to clear certain requirements before they can practise here.

As for Electronics Engineers, the barrier to entry is low. Any foreign graduate can work here as long as they can get a job.

Core Competencies - Local Lawyers / Doctors have an edge as they have local knowledge. For eg., Lawyers would be more familiar with local laws and Doctors would be familiar with local dialects and lingos.

As for Electronics Engineers, too bad.. Even though it's a tough course, the Electronics Principles and Theories are universal. They're the same whether it's taught in a 1st World Uni or a 3rd World Uni.

So, without the incredible fanchise of the Doctors / Lawyers, where got "fair"? How to have any bargaining power at all if Electronics Engineers are so easy to replace?? Tongue

For an Electronics Engineer, the smart thing to do (if $$ is important, especially one who has gotten married and their dependents are unable to survive on passion alone), the easier route would be to switch to Sales and Marketing and move up the corporate ladder towards the top hierarchy (along the way, better if you do a good MBA + Accounting). Alternatively, change profession or set up your own biz.

So, another thing that's not "fair" as a top Doctor / Lawyer can still be very well rewarded ($$ wise) by working for someone else (no need to set up own biz) and continue to focus on their area of passion (the highly technical part of law / medicine and no need to switch to Sales / Marketing).
(06-12-2011, 08:29 PM)hyom Wrote: [ -> ]What is tough is the bruise on self-worth. It is quite humiliating to be unemployed, even if it is through no fault of our own. I think those who have been through it will know what I mean.

Hi hyom,

I can't say I know how exactly this feels because I've never been in this situation but I've read cases where there are people who have said the same thing you have.

I think the thing is to not be so hard on yourself, especially since it isn't because of poor performance that you've been let go.

Quote:The Electronics industry is certainly not sunset. It is still thriving. Look at iPhones, Android phones, tablets, e-books. Our lives have changed for the better because of electronics. The company with the biggest market capitalization is a consumer electronics giant -> Apple. Apple got rich by improving our lives. Who can complain about that? Electronics is declining in Singapore but thriving worldwide. In Singapore, the big companies are moving out, the smaller ones(mainly local companies) are dying away. The smaller ones are dying because they mainly serve the big companies.

I was actually driving at the same point as you did- globally, electronics isn't a sunset industry but I suspect in our local context it is or at least, certain segments like the manufacturing/assembling. I can imagine that there's a whole flow from designing to production of a electronic product but I'm not sure which part of the process Singapore-based companies would have a competitive advantage in.

Would be great if you could share your thoughts on this.

Quote:By the way, may I know what does kazukirai mean? Any special meaning to this unique name?

'kazukirai' is my nick from days long ago. Ahaha, ok, I'm not that old but I came up with it during my early internet days when I was a bigger nippon-phile and i've just used it ever since.

No special meaning except that 'rai' is a play on my real name.
More layoffs loom and may linger next year

Unions expect 20% more retrenchments this year; next year even more uncertain: PM Lee


(SINGAPORE) Layoffs in the unionised sector this year are tipped to be at least 20 per cent higher than in 2010, even as the economy is on track to grow at around 5.0 per cent, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

The retrenchment outlook for next year, when the official economic growth forecast has been trimmed to 1-3 per cent, will be 'even more uncertain', he said at the opening of the NTUC Delegates' Conference.

As a crisis of confidence grips Europe, Asia is feeling the effects. There are already signs that Singapore's economy is losing its growth momentum, Mr Lee noted.

Shorter work-week and temporary layoffs are rising, he said. 'The unionised sector expects overall retrenchment to be at least 20 per cent higher than last year; 2012 is even more uncertain.'

NTUC's Assistant Secretary-General Cham Hui Fong told BT that unionised companies account for about 40 per cent of the national workforce. She expects more retrenchments in the non-unionised sector, too.

Many of the layoffs could take place in the final quarter of the year, data suggests.

Figures from the Ministry of Manpower show that nationally, 7,740 workers were retrenched in 2010. An estimated 5,510 were axed in the first nine months of this year. These included unionised as well as non-unionised workers.

Mr Lee's assertion that the unionised sector could see a jump in layoffs this year would suggest that a large chunk of the workers could be let go in the fourth quarter.

Wu Kun Lung, an economist at Credit Suisse, added that layoffs in the non-unionised sector should be greater because it represents a bigger number of workers - and these workers are not protected by unions. The NTUC has already moved to minimise the cuts in the unionised sector by offering training assistance to employers who keep their surplus workers.

Meanwhile, economists such as DBS Bank's Irvin Seah and Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Chua Hak Bin point out that labour remains scarce - and job creation, while slowing, is still in positive territory.

The suggestion is that with a tighter labour market out there and leaner headcounts within, employers are more likely to fight a slowdown in the economy with early cost cuts than with the jobs axe.

Mr Lee noted that since the last Delegate's Conference in 2009, the global economy has recovered somewhat but remained troubled.

And while Singapore is likely to post growth of around 5.0 per cent this year, he said the outlook has turned cloudy because of slow growth in the United States and, more critically, a crisis of confidence in Europe.

'The Europeans will probably muddle through this time, but even then there will be a drag on the global economy,' Mr Lee said of their sovereign debt problems. Singapore can live with that. 'But there's still some chance that things will go wrong - and that would be very bad for the world, including us in Asia,' he said.

Mr Lee said the best defence of jobs in this tough times is to stay committed and connected to an open world - and to keep up with the push for higher productivity growth.

'Externally, we must continue to support pro-trade and pro-investment stance,' he said.

Mr Lee reported that Singapore is making good progress with the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade arrangement, which has attracted many Asia-Pacific countries, including the US.

Asean, of which Singapore is a member, is on track to become an economic community by 2015.

Mr Lee said Singapore is in a strong position to meet the coming challenges - it has the best workforce in the world; it has robust institutions and good infrastructure; it has high international reputation; and it has a healthy, functioning model of tripartism.

The three-day Delegates' Conference, which ends tomorrow, is likely to see a leadership renewal in the NTUC and a new direction taken by the labour movement in the next four years.
Agree with KopiKat, only good career is one with legal barriers to entry (ie: license). And one where you can build specialized knowledge over the years/decades.

I thought engineering had barriers until I read this.

If your children do well in Math/Science, maybe you could guide them towards Actuarial Science instead.
(07-12-2011, 12:23 AM)mrEngineer Wrote: [ -> ]Hi hyom, if you are doing well in your investments, you can always use it to apply for related jobs. I think it will help. Alternatively, the govt EDB or IE are constantly looking for people whom are savy with both technical and commercial knowledge and willing to spend time overseas for their projects. In the meantime, it is also possible to get income like tuition or start doing property agent as part time or other part time jobs like telemarketing. Good luck with your job search!

Yes all these are possible options. Another possibility is to teach in the polytechnics. The IT and Engineering schools there will have use for an engineer with experience in the industry. If one intends to return to the industry when the opportunity arises, such a break will not make one appear too out of touch from the industry. It can also open up opportunities in the training industry. Besides a more stable income compared to the freelance jobs, it also provide medical benefits for family.

If gahmen want to train more people for IT and Engineering, and foreigners are flocking to Singapore to study, we might want to consider how we can profit from it.

(06-12-2011, 10:35 PM)weijian Wrote: [ -> ]hi hyom,
i m still in the electronics industry (i have had 3 jobs since i graduated and all of them r in the electronics industry).. Once jump in and stay for some time, hard to jump out...

The electronics industry is very wide. Functionally you can move from production to design, quality, training, sales support, sales, etc. Organization wise you can move from component manufacturer to test equipment vendor to consultancy to education.
I can't help but have to say this, due to the opening of the floodgate, the quality of FT (In IT line) coming into Singapore in recent years are of inferior quality(general).
I've worked in overseas before and leading overseas team, but this lots of FT seriously are of questionable quality.

Sad to say, I see them competing with fellow S'porean for IT jobs and their main advantages are willing to work for lower pay and no need to serve Reservist (male)....
And the best part is, they are arrogant.....

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