Singapore is well known for its low taxation, the minimal cost of living, and warm, welcoming climate. Also known as the hub to Asia, Singapore is notoriously safe and welcoming. Living and working in the city is a dream shared by many.
Luckily, the job market in the Asian city is steadily growing. More industries are popping up, and there’s a huge increase in the number of expats and locals founding startups. Finding a job in Singapore is highly doable for expats - but how do you get started?
Before you get started, a word.
Managing multiple international bank accounts is quite complicated. To make things worse, most traditional banks charge high fees for foreign and multi-currency accounts.
Wise could help. With Wise, it’s free to open and manage a Borderless multi-currency account with no monthly fees. Once you do that, you can manage and send dozens of different currencies, all from the same account. And all around the world. (Likely, for a lot cheaper than your bank).
Give it a try.
Now, back to what you came here to read.
This guide will walk you through 8 steps for finding a job in Singapore.
Before getting into an exhaustive job search, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re eligible to work in Singapore. There are different kinds of work permits based on your qualifications. The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore has published an online self-assessment tool, to gauge your likelihood of eligibility.
While the assessment can give you an idea, you shouldn’t take it as a guarantee that you’ll be eligible. Some factors, like permit quotas and your personal background, aren’t calculated with the online assessment.
Also, keep in mind you can’t apply for a work visa without a job in place and a salary offer that meets a minimum requirement. Therefore, applying for your Singapore work visa is one of the last steps you’ll take.
While Singapore is host to many markets, some industries are stronger than others. Historically, Singapore has been a welcoming home to finance professionals, especially those in audit and securities.
While the financial job market is as strong as ever, new industries are rising quickly in the Southern Asian city. Jobs for IT workers, digital marketers and compliance specialists are surging.
Demand in the fields of tech and eCommerce is also high with a huge push in hiring UI and UX designers, as well as hospitality, service, tourism and computer science. Other prevalent roles in Singapore include talent management and HR leadership.
Before committing to work in Singapore, it’s a good idea to review whether the most common employment practices are a good fit for your lifestyle.
With information about salaries, skill training, leaves of absence, holidays, hours, contracts, and much more, the Ministry of Manpower has a comprehensive list of employment resources to help you get an understanding of what working in Singapore will be like.
One of the best places to look for open positions in Singapore is online. With a multitude of web resources available to aid in your search, the following sites are some of the biggest and most used by Singapore job searchers.
- Monster contains listings across every market in Singapore
- eFinancialCareers has job openings in Singapore’s biggest market - finance
- Jobs Central includes a huge number of listings in a lot of industries
- Job Street where you can create a personal profile and host your CV so employers can find you.
- Indeed Singapore which is the local version of the global meta-aggregator with a great user interface
- LinkedIn where you can find new job postings daily and narrow them down to your interests
Even with most openings online, there are plenty of advantages to working with a recruitment agency for your job search in Singapore. A recruiter will help you work on your CV, cover letter and interview preparations.
They’ll also give you a better understanding of your industry and potential employer, including tips about the company’s history and culture.
While it’s important to do your research and choose the agency that’s the best fit for your industry and skills, the following have been well reviewed as trusted agencies in the city.
- 3C Synergy for jobs in construction, oil and gas
- Aegis for jobs across industries
- American Association Career Resource Center specialises in helping expats find jobs
- Career Hub Consultants for jobs in finance, tech, engineering, science and hospitality, among others
- Spencer Stuart places candidates in jobs across a range of industries
- Randstad which offers wide range of specialisations
- Phoenix Recruitment which specialises in construction and engineering sectors
Networking is very important when looking for jobs anywhere and is no less crucial in Singapore. Some great groups to meet with if you have a chance to visit the city during your job search include:
- Startup Grind Singapore to get involved with the city’s vibrant startup community
- TiE Singapore to meet aspiring entrepreneurs and mentors
- Any of the many business and professional gatherings listed on Meetup
If you can’t get to Singapore, it’s still a good idea to network. Reaching out to other professionals on LinkedIn, either through their blogs or on Twitter, can yield great results in getting job leads and introductions to businesses in Singapore.
Getting a job offer is a huge accomplishment but doesn’t represent the final step in the hiring process. Next, you’ll need to apply for a Singapore work visa.
Luckily, Singapore is a multicultural city that’s home to many expats, and is typically welcoming of foreigners seeking visas. To obtain one, you’ll need a job offer, to pay a registration fee and to submit your application. You can apply for your visa online and have it processed in just 7 days.
Before you apply, it’s important to know what type of visa you’re eligible for. The common visa types¹ are as follows:
- Employment Pass for professionals earning at least 4,500 Singapore Dollar (SGD)
- EntrePass for entrepreneurs looking to start their business in Singapore
- Personalized Employment Pass only given to high earners already holding an employment pass, but offering huge flexibility in employment terms and eligible industries
- S Pass the most common visa type for typical foreign workers, provided to mid-tier professionals earning at least 2,400 SGD per month, and who have passed the requisite assessment
Once your visas and currency exchange are in order, you’re ready to move to Singapore! As a multicultural hub that takes pride in its safe and friendly environment, adapting to life in Singapore can prove much easier than doing so in other Asian cities.
The majority of the people speak English and there are plenty of available (and excellent) cuisines. Finding housing isn’t the crunch that it can be in other business hubs like New York and London. For tips and information about living in Singapore, check out Living In Singapore’s excellent compiled list of expat blogs.
Got the job and sorted all your documents? Congratulations! You're ready to move. If you need to make payments before arriving in Singapore you could take a look at a low-cost international transfer option with Wise. You’ll be able to send money using the mid-market rate and just for a small transparent fee (which will most likely be cheaper than your bank).
Getting a Borderless multi-currency account from Wise can be a financially-wise choice if you plan on doing international transfers regularly. With it, you’ll be able to send and manage dozens of different currencies, all from the same account and with no monthly fees.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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