The doubling of Singapore's rail network will see new job opportunities for engineers, to complement the city state's biomedical, cleantech and electronics industries

The Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) recently announced its intention to double Singapore’s rail network to 360km as part of the country’s Land Transport Masterplan, which will put eight in 10 households within a 10-minute walk of a rail station by 2030. The ambitious plans have been put in place to support Singapore’s long-term growth and development and to provide the capacity required to meet the needs of an increasing population and an increasing propensity for that population to use public transport over the next 20 years.

The main driver behind Singapore’s rail network ambitions is the need to carry its commuters from where they live, to where they work (and to their places of leisure) as efficiently as possible. The master plan therefore has the improvement of the rail network’s connectivity and accessibility at its heart and will see the construction of two new rail lines, as well as the extension of three existing lines. This will give commuters vastly improved journey options when it comes to traveling via public transport.

And of course, a significant upgrading of Singapore’s rail network means there will be significant career opportunities opening up in the country’s transport engineering sector. Singapore’s rail system, transport and automotive engineering sectors already comprise a host of first-class companies, which carry out the research behind and development of intelligent transport systems.

Besides LTA and the two public transport operators – SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit – Singapore is also home to transport engineering services companies such as Bombardier Transportation, Continental Automotive, Siemens Rail Systems and more.

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Business, including engineering business, is carried out in English in the city state

The revolution of the rail network in Singapore will bring about new career opportunities in the city state, adding further to the collection of positions already available to experienced engineers across the entire engineering spectrum.


Singapore has a strong reputation for its clinical research and clinical trials management activities. As a result, it attracts many global pharmaceutical brands to set up their regional clinical trial centres in Singapore.

Eight of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies and all of the top 10 medical technology companies have their regional headquarters in Singapore. They include household names such as Abbott, Bayer Schering Pharma, GE Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Quintiles, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis.

Caroline Green, 28, from Glenageary, Co Dublin is a chemical engineer for GlaxoSmithKline. Caroline also moved from Ireland to Singapore, arriving in June 2012. “When I started thinking about working outside of Ireland I turned my attention to Asia and was originally considering several different options,” she explained.

“Of all the cities I considered, Singapore came out on top for me because I had friends who had worked there in the past and some who are there currently. All of them had given me positive feedback on the city and also mentioned the population is English speaking, which gave me a sense of comfort about the move. Plus, since coming to Singapore, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of arts and music activities scheduled throughout the year. My friends hadn’t talked about Singapore’s art scene, but I feel like this is something those keen on coming to Singapore should know about.”

Several Contract Research Organisations (CROs) have also established operations in Singapore to support the growing outsourcing needs of pharmaceutical firms. These include global CROs Covance, Quintiles and ICON, which manage regional clinical trials from the city-state.

The regulatory environment of Singapore is very conducive to operating business, which is important for the central laboratory business.


By 2015, the cleantech sector is expected to contribute €2.125 billion to Singapore’s GDP, split equally between the clean-energy industry and the environment and water sector. The cleantech sector itself already employs 18,000 people.

It is expected that the clean-energy industry will contribute €1.06 billion to Singapore’s GDP and will employ around 7,000 people. Companies currently active in Singapore include Bosch, which invested €15 million in a photovoltaic and energy management R&D centre; Renewable Energy Corporation (REC), which set up one of the world’s largest integrated solar manufacturing complexes in Singapore, employing 1,500 employees; and Vestas Wind Systems, which has chosen Singapore as the Asia-Pacific headquarters and base for its largest R&D centre outside Denmark, which will employ 200 research scientists and engineers.

Meanwhile, home to more than 70 internationally-renowned water companies is the water and environment sector. This sector is expected to contribute €1.06 billion to Singapore’s GDP and create 11,000 jobs.

Companies currently active in this sector include Black & Veatch, with 120-staff at its international headquarters managing the firm’s Asia Pacific operations. Hyflux also set up Asia’s largest commercial R&D centre for membranes and materials technology outside Japan, with 150 researchers based in Singapore.


Electronics is the bedrock of Singapore’s manufacturing activities, contributing 30% to the nation’s total manufacturing output and employing about 80,000 people.

The semiconductor sector is a key pillar of Singapore’s manufacturing landscape within the electronics industry in Singapore and consists of integrated circuit (IC) design, wafer fabrication, and assembly and test activities. There are approximately 4,600 researchers, scientists and engineers forming the semiconductor team in Singapore.

With the increasing need for miniaturisation, multi-functionality and energy efficiency in electronics devices, designing ICs has become ever more complex. Digital and analog IC design engineers, particularly in RF and power IC design, are in high demand in Singapore. They account for 44% of the pool of 1,100 IC designers in Singapore today. Companies active in the sector in Singapore include Infineon, Lantiq, Marvell, MediaTek and NXP.

Singapore is top in Asia for aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). In fact, 25% of the Asian MRO market is based in Singapore. Over 100 international aerospace companies have established offices in Singapore, which is also home to Singapore Changi Airport, recognised as one of the world’s best airports. Companies with operations in Singapore include EADS, Pratt & Witney, Rolls-Royce and Saesel.


Singapore’s rail network is to be doubled to 360km

In Singapore, business is conducted in English, which is helpful for English-speakers looking for overseas opportunities without having to learn a new language. The job prospects available in Singapore means that it attracts international talent from the world over.

Singapore has big goals to become a hub that develops engineering solutions for the most pressing challenges in the world. Companies are able to tap into the large pool of engineering graduates, as well as gain easy access to engineering talent from around the region. Experienced engineers working in the market not only draw on the ambition of the country, but also the junior talent the country nurtures and develops so carefully.

Gary Hanniffy, 36, from Birr, Co. Offaly is a senior project engineer (EHS consultant) at PM Group. He has lived and worked in Singapore since June 2012 and his move to the city-state represented the first time he had lived and worked away from his native Ireland. “I felt the opportunities available for me in Ireland were not quite in line with how I wanted to build my future career, so I thought it was good time for me to start looking out of the country. I wanted to work in a city environment, and given that manufacturing plants in Ireland are traditionally on the outskirts of the cities, I felt that I had to look elsewhere. I saw Singapore as an opportunity to both live and work in a city environment, and I’ve really relished that.”

Hanniffy said that the transition from working in Ireland to working in Singapore had been smooth. “The city and my workplace are both English speaking too, so it’s been no problem settling in,” he added.

In future, Singapore is aiming to develop a vibrant landscape of both local and foreign companies. At the same time, Singapore is at a key stage in looking to capitalise on the possibilities present in infrastructure development in the region. Click here to find out more about pursuing a career in Singapore’s engineering sector.

Contact Singapore regularly hosts pre-departure briefings called Contact Singapore Welcome Sessions, where interested candidates can find out more about Singapore as well as the opportunities available there. There are two sessions in Dublin on 13 June and 5 September 2013. You can click on this link for more info: O'RiordanNewsbiomedical,electronics,transport
The Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) recently announced its intention to double Singapore’s rail network to 360km as part of the country’s Land Transport Masterplan, which will put eight in 10 households within a 10-minute walk of a rail station by 2030. The ambitious plans have been put...