Public Service Commission (PSC)
Features | Public Service

Thinking Of The People

The PSC looks to attract, recruit and nurture outstanding individuals to serve Singapore and Singaporeans through a career in the Singapore Public Service.

In the Singapore Public Service, a fulfilling career awaits those who find meaning in serving the public and who constantly think of new ways to better the lives of fellow Singaporeans.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) offers scholarships to individuals who seek a career where they can contribute to Singapore and Singaporeans. Two PSC scholarship holders, Ng Qi Sheng and Soh Li Hui, both exemplify the passion to serve the public through their work in the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) respectively.

Implementing sustainable policies

Qi Sheng is part of MOM’s Foreign Workforce Policy Department (FWPD), which aims to support Singapore’s economic growth and competitiveness. As a Senior Manager, he advances the FWPD’s mission by helping to develop manpower policies for Singapore’s Construction and Manufacturing sectors.

He tells us, “Designing a well-crafted manpower policy is never just about simple maximisation of desired goals or minimisation of undesired outcomes, as there are many valid competing interests and numerous ways to achieve a single outcome.”

For instance, he explains that raising Singapore’s workforce labour productivity is essential to improving workers' wage outcomes. One way to achieve this is to encourage firms to reduce their reliance on lower-skilled foreign workers. However, if this is done too hastily, or if the skills of the other workers are not upgraded, firms' business operations will suffer. “Firms will eventually be forced to trim local employment and wages, and such an outcome is undesirable for all,” he adds.

Ng Qi Sheng
PSC Scholarship Recipient

Designation: Senior Manager,
Foreign Workforce Policy Department,
Ministry of Manpower

Studied: Master of Science in Financial Economics,
Oxford University, UK

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical
Engineering and Economics,
Duke University, US

"It is only through listening and observing that we can really understand what people really need and craft appropriate policy responses."

Li Hui is a Health Policy Analyst in MOH’s Sector Development and Commissioning Division. Her team works closely with private healthcare providers to explore avenues for the public to receive subsidised care.

She shares, “Public healthcare institutions provide good-quality and affordable care to the general public. Nevertheless, private healthcare institutions are also important players in Singapore’s healthcare landscape, providing approximately 20 per cent of Singapore’s acute healthcare services.

“We also work with other agencies including MOH Holdings and the Singapore Civil Defence Force to forge important partnerships and implement our projects. These include establishing essential IT systems, clinical and operational protocols, as well as public communication channels to ensure that patients have a seamless healthcare system to support their recovery process.”

An eventful pre-career journey

Even before they assumed their current roles, both Qi Sheng and Li Hui went through leadership development programmes and were exposed to work in the Public Service through internships during their undergraduate studies. These invaluable opportunities helped to widen their perspectives and prepared them for a career in the Public Service.

Qi Sheng joined a rowing team during his undergraduate years at Duke University in the US because he relished new challenges out of his comfort zone. In his opinion, communication and synchronisation with teammates are key to this sport.

He adds, “Most of my teammates – myself included – were new to the sport. We quickly realised the importance of working together as moving your oars just a fraction out of step in a four-man boat is enough to flip it over! But we never gave up no matter how many times we capsized as we believed that, together, we would eventually be greater than the sum of our individual efforts.

Soh Li Hui
PSC Scholarship Recipient

Designation: Health Policy Analyst,
Sector Development and Commissioning Division,
Ministry of Health

Studied: Master of Science (Bioengineering),
Stanford University, US

Bachelor of Engineering (Biomedical Engineering),
Tsinghua University, China

“It was intensely fulfilling when, in the span of a few short months, we were able to develop from an uncoordinated bunch of novices into a team that gave experienced competitive rowers a tough fight. My experience reinforced the importance of teamwork and perseverance, both essential traits any Public Officer should possess.”

Both scholarship holders also learned from internships which helped them to understand the Public Service better ahead of their postings. On her part, Li Hui took up two internships in Singapore and Beijing. Her first internship at MOH required her to examine how design principles could be applied to streamline the financial counselling process in public hospitals, making it more fuss-free for patients and their families. “MOH’s patient-centric approach and emphasis on understanding patients' experiences from their point of view left a deep impression on me,” she muses.

Her second internship programme was at CapitalBio, a Chinese life science corporation based in Beijing. She helped to develop a data acquisition system and had the opportunity to observe the development process of a biomedical instrument from ideation to production. “This internship gave me a glimpse of the rapidly growing biomedical industry in China and the vast diversity and potential of China’s economy,” she tells us.

Growing through opportunities

Both Qi Sheng and Li Hui agree that the Service provided opportunities to be exposed to varied experiences and that honed their professional development – one example is the chance to observe operations in various Ministries through secondments and cross-agency postings.

Qi Sheng's current role in MOM is his second posting, after having spent his first posting in MOH. During his time there, he reviewed the design and regulation of Integrated Shield Plans as part of a comprehensive re-look of health insurance plans under the MediShield Life review. This portfolio required him to understand what Singaporeans needed out of their health insurance plans and if there were any gaps to be bridged.

Qi Sheng says honesty and humility are two essential characteristics for those aspiring to be public officers. He expounds, “No one has a monopoly on good ideas – it’s important to learn from everyone and anyone so that the policy 'end-product' can be as robust as possible. It is only through listening and observing that we can really understand what people really need and craft appropriate policy responses.”

Li Hui has just begun her Public Service career and is determined to work hard to hone her analytical capabilities and leadership skills. She enthuses, “I look forward to future postings to gain greater exposure of the unique challenges each agency faces, broaden my skillsets, and learn how different stakeholders work together to achieve whole-of-government objectives while strategically managing trade-offs.”

She advises aspiring PSC scholarship applicants to seek out opportunities to better understand the scholarship and career prospects in the Public Service. She concludes, “It is important for a career to be aligned with your values and personal goals. If you identify with the values of the Public Service and believe that it is your calling in life, I believe you will go far!”