The economic frustrations of the real estate in Singapore are being echoed by the architects Singapore has. There is a growing risk of redundancies in architecture and engineering firms.
According to Ministry of Manpower’s annual labor report for 2015, the number of redundancies in these two fields was 940. Earlier in 2014, it was only 350. It means that 940 employees were retrenched or released from their contracts before they even finished.
Another surprising finding is that 7 out of 10 of these 940 were professionals, executives and technicians. At least 67% of these redundancies were because of the ongoing decline in the real estate industry.
Stability for Engineering Firms
The Association of The consulting Engineers in Singapore according to Business Times says that there was no evidence of the rumored entrenchments especially in the engineering field. But architecture as compared with engineering is more prone to be hit by the slowdown of private property sector. Engineering firms are able to acquire public projects and are able to withstand the blow. Also because of the tendering limits that public sector keeps: it allows big engineering firms to get such big projects.
Lack of Funds for SMEs
There are 370 architecture firms currently working in Singapore. Most of the architecture firms are small firms that are likely to be more affected by the worsening conditions of property business. This is because they do not have large funds to bid big projects. The demand has slowed down as well. So they seem to be in hot waters right now.
Good News Is…
Many of the firms are denying the news of retrenchments. Owing to these conditions, many of the firms are looking for business outside of Singapore. And also the government is now stepping in to help alleviate the situation. In the current year’s budget, it has announced $2.5 billion in construction of small projects. This should bring some relief to the situation. However, industry players believe this will not be enough especially for smaller firms that heavily depend on private projects.
Companies Branching Out
Firms are diversifying their business and promoting their name to far and wide. They are going as far as the Middle East where new opportunities have popped up. Qatar, for instance, is supposed to host the World Cup in 2022 so architecture firms can score projects there. Companies are adding new branches to their business. They are starting new ventures related to architecture.
Growth Possibility Still Exists for Architects Singapore
This of course makes the competition tough as well because even scoring projects overseas is not easy. Over there, it will not just be their home grown rivals but big and successful architecture and engineering firms from all around the world.
Then there are other factors involved too in working overseas like the strength of local currency, security concerns, regulations etc. All of these will need to be addressed before moving much of their interests abroad. It will not be similar as working in Singapore of course. But the challenging times are forcing firms to take this rather risky route.