Local engineers retain a bright future: professionals

Sunday, May 11, 2008
Issue 340, Page 3
Word count: 397
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Despite the recent government plan to curb the amount of casino construction, the president of the engineers association predicted yesterday that the profession will have at least 10 more years of development in the SAR.

A sharing session was organised by the Macau Institution of Engineers at the Macau Arts Museum where secretary for transport and public works Lau Si Io was invited to share his industry experiences with young engineers.

Leong Man Io, president of the association, told reporters yesterday the future projects such as the light rail transit, tunnels and public housing would extend the career path of local engineers.

Chairman of the association’s young members division, Albert Chuck, also said that there were at present a lot of job opportunities for all domains of the engineering profession as a result of the booming construction industry.

And even when the construction period started to fade, Mr Chuck said the hotel industry would still require a large number of engineers to manage their facilities, including operations and maintenance.

However, the division chairman admitted that the English communication skills were the main obstacle of Macau engineers “whose qualification and background is in fact no worse than those of the neighbouring regions”.

“Once they can communicate with and present themselves to foreigners, they will have the competence to achieve much with their professional knowledge,” Mr Chuck said.

Mr Leong agreed. “The technology of Macau is able to handle large-scale construction. The quality of our graduates and universities is comparable to Hong Kong’s, plus Macau’s engineering industry adopts the European Union standards which have greater recognition in the world,” he said.

Citing the labour shortage as posing a major challenge to the profession, Mr Leong said imported engineers could undeniably help fuel the supply, but at the same time the number “should not be excessive otherwise local engineers’ employment conditions will be affected”.

According to Mr Chuck, the entry salary of young engineers was below 10,000 patacas about three years ago and nowadays has risen above this level.

Although foreign engineers in the private sector usually get higher salaries than locals because “it is a means to attract those people to leave their home countries and come to work in Macau”, Mr Chuck said the pay difference was justified.

“Once Macau’s engineers have accumulated more experiences, I think the salary gap between locals and non-locals will lessen,” he added.

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