Singapore’s economy is among the freest and most competitive in the world. It is the fourth largest financial center in the world. The commercial sector is highly developed, it is the fourth largest commercial center in the world after London, New York and Tokyo, and its port is among the five largest in the world in terms of traffic. Singapore is also one of the most important logistics hubs in the world. It is no coincidence that many foreigners dream of working in Singapore.
Tourism is a well-developed sector. Singapore is a popular tourist destination with over 10 million arrivals annually. To attract more tourists, the government has legalized gambling and built a large number of casinos.
Working in Singapore
Singapore has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world and is the country with the highest concentration of millionaires relative to its population. The unemployment rate is 2%, which means full employment.
Employers in Singapore are open to foreign professionals and the salary level is really high if the company is interested in your profile. It is no coincidence that over 50% of the service sector workforce is from abroad. Foreigners are attracted by the stability and economic strength of the country, as well as the opportunities for advancement.
Many of the world’s most important multinational companies operating in the fields of consulting, law, finance, technology, energy, etc. are based here. Therefore, it is quite easy for professionals from these fields to obtain a work permit, especially if they already have a few years of professional experience.
According to a survey, almost 60% of companies in Singapore have problems finding qualified professionals to fill vacancies.
The resume and cover letter are written according to the Anglo-Saxon pattern. If you are still in your country, the interviews will be conducted via Skype. As English is the main business language, all interviews are conducted in English and in some cases you may be subjected to a test to check your English skills.
Not always and not all foreign qualifications are fully recognized in Singapore, so it is advisable to check the Enic-Naric website.
Most in-demand jobs in Singapore
The sectors that currently offer the best opportunities are:
- mechanical engineering, chemicals, electrical engineering, electronics, etc
- finance and law, financial analysts, lawyers, accountants, etc.
- IT cyber security, software developers, etc.
- trade sector, digital marketing specialist, sales manager, account manager, etc.
There is a Strategic and Skills-in-Demand List (regularly updated by the Ministry of Labour) that contains a listing of occupations that are useful for the development of the country. The list also includes the skill sets that are expected to be needed in the coming years. Job seekers can check if their occupation is included in this list. They should also use the Self Assessment Tool that indicates the likelihood of obtaining a work permit.
Working in Singapore, work visas
To work in Singapore, you must be proficient in English and apply for a work visa before entering the country. This work permit must be applied for by the employer while you are still in your home country.
The authority that issues the work permit is the Ministry of Manpower. Numerous documents (birth certificate, diplomas, employment certificate, etc.) must be submitted. Waiting times are generally long.
In theory, anyone can apply, but in practice, only Singaporean employers are able to complete all the paperwork. They must also prove to the authorities that they have not found a domestic employee with the same qualifications for the job.
There are different types of visas, the main ones are:
1.Employment Pass, (highly skilled workers), this residence and work permit allows foreign professionals and executives to work in Singapore. It has a renewable duration of 2 years. Workers must earn at least $4,500 per month ($5,000 in the financial sector).
2.S Pass, (mid skilled workers), this work permit allows mid-level skilled workers and technicians to work in Singapore. They must have qualifications and work experience. Workers must earn at least $2,500 per month ($3,000 in the financial sector). Employers must pay monthly taxes for hiring these workers.
3.EntrePass: The EntrePass allows foreign entrepreneurs to start and run a business.
Foreign citizens who intend to live permanently in Singapore may apply for permanent residency. In recent years, significant restrictions have been placed on the issuance of the permanent residence permit, the issuance of which is at the full discretion of the competent authority.
It is very difficult to obtain a permanent residence permit, and the government tries every means not to grant it. Official statistics show that the average length of stay of foreign workers in Singapore is less than four years. The government tends to select people who do not want to move to Singapore permanently, and in any case does nothing to encourage them to stay.
There are very few foreign workers under thirty or over sixty in Singapore. There is a tendency to encourage the entry of workers in their thirties/forties with work experience and young children to migrate when the children reach school age. Everything is designed to discourage people from settling permanently. Since it is a crowded city-state, this is understandable.
Work in Singapore, useful resources
- Ministry of Manpower, official website with information on visas and work permits, statistics and news on the Singapore job market
- SSG, you can find useful information
- Guide to Working in Singapore, what it’s like to work in Singapore
Work in Singapore, job search
To look for work in Singapore, you can use:
1 Linkedin, in addition to reviewing job openings, it is very important to create a network of connections
2 Direct search, sending your self-application to companies in Singapore is a very effective practice.
- Kompass, search by category or company name
- Times business directory, list of companies in Singapore
3 Public Employment Service, the government website contains job offers and many other useful information
4 Job search websites and recruitment agencies
- Jobsbank, government agency
- Jobstreet, website with job vacancies in Singapore and other Asian countries
- Jobsdb, popular website
- Fastjobs, website for those looking for a job fast
- Adecco, international recruitment agency
- Jobscentral, job search website
- Aegis, recruitment acency
- ST Jobs, website for job search
- Grabjobs, job search website
- Careerhub-consultants, recruitment acency
- Internsg , internships opportunities
Working in Singapore, conclusion
Singapore is a small and rich country, and it picks and chooses who enters. It does not allow fortune seekers to enter. It is only possible to look for work opportunities on a tourist visa, which is prohibited but not a risk. If you find a sponsor, you have to leave the country to get a work visa and then return.
So, if you have decided to move to Singapore in search of a job, the first thing you should do is look for a job, both on the Internet and submit your resume in person (taking advantage of the 90-day tourist visa).
Remember that even though the minimum wages are $2,500 (S Pass) and $4,500 (Employment Pass), in most cases the passes are only approved at higher salaries (S Pass $4,000 and Employment Pass $7,000). The higher the salary, the more likely you are to get the pass. Recently, many have been turned down because the salaries are considered too low.
Salaries may seem high, but you need a lot of money to live in Singapore. Remember that foreigners have to show something that a local cannot do. But for them, the government does not exist. They have to pay for everything themselves (schools, healthcare, pensions). And the cost of living in Singapore is very high. The foreign worker does not have to cost the state a dime, he just has to produce wealth.
A Westerner cannot find low-skilled work. Sinhalese or Indians are hired for these jobs. A Westerner’s application is not even considered.
Singapore highly protects jobs that do not require good skills and a bachelor’s degree (preferably STEM) because that is what they lack. Singapore has the highest percentage of highly skilled workers in Asia and in the entire Pacific region, 54% of the workforce is highly skilled, even more than in New Zealand and Australia.