I can’t speak for 18, 19 years old young people today, but let me offer my perspective as someone who studied engineering in Singapore.

I studied Electrical Engineering in National University of Singapore and graduated in 2007. Most of the people I know from my engineering course are either not working in engineering/technology field (many have moved to banking/finance/real estate) or have moved to project/product management. Very few people are still doing coding/engineering work.

If you are an engineer, you will find that your renumeration will lag behind peers who are in other professions, especially in legal and finance. This gap will grow to be significant within a few years’ time. Many people who are not interested in other so-called ‘prestigious’ professions will try to take up project management, because as a senior engineer, your salary will stagnant fairly early on. Many older engineers also face discrimination as there is no legal protection against ageism in the Singapore workplace.

Very few people can see a future being an engineer throughout their professional career.

It is also true that Singapore does not have the culture that respect engineers and the work they do. Singapore has the culture that prizes management over workers, and people who do the actual work are seen as dispensable and replaceable.

This is of course not great for Singapore, if it wants to drive innovation. But I can’t see this changing anytime soon.

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