Photo of HDB lift from Straits Times

Lift maintenance company Mitsubishi Elevator Singapore blamed young Singaporeans for wanting “glamour”, high salaries, comfort and “visibility” when Singapore does not have enough lift technicians. Mary Kok, head of HR at Mitsubishi Elevator Singapore, said that not many people are interested in being a lift technician:

“Look at the age group we’re hiring. They’re the X and Y generation. They actually look for visibility, they look for comfort, they look for high salary, they look for glamour.”

Currently, a lift technician draws about S$1,800 and the salary is believed to have been stagnant since 2006 due to the influx of foreign workers. The majority of lift technicians are foreigners hailed from third world countries like Malaysia and China who view the salaries as “high”, relative to what they could get in their hometown. However a S$2,000 salaries is barely enough to feed a family in Singapore due to exorbitant housing prices and cost of living.

Like most engineering positions in Singapore, most young Singaporeans emigrate overseas because of better salary package and working hours. In Singapore, an apprentice in the finance sector earns more than a technician with 3 years’ experience. Many engineering graduates also switched to lucrative sectors like banking, teaching and management positions instead of staying in technical fields to hone their years of studying due to the lack of support for engineers in Singapore. Most Singapore employers prefer to hire a foreigner with experience who is willing to work for a cheaper salary, than to spend money on training a new hire.

The shortage of lift technicians in Singapore have resulted in increasing frequency of lift breakdowns and high-profile accidents which resulted in two fatalities and numerous injuries in the past one year.