Singapore is home to one of the most secure economies in the world, and its workforce includes high numbers of expats, making it a popular choice for foreign citizens looking to work abroad. Singaporean employers are often keen to acquire skilled workers from other countries and salaries can therefore be extremely competitive. Unemployment is low at 2.2% and society is multicultural with many employees hailing from other parts of Asia, particularly China and India, as well as numerous individuals and families relocating to Singapore from all over the world.Electronics and chemicals are two sectors that Singapore continually has vacancies within, with financial services and ship repair a close second in terms of needing new employees. Due to recent alterations instigated by the government, unskilled workers are less likely to find gainful employment in Singapore; however, the country remains an attractive prospect for graduates.
According to the Manpower Group’s 2018 Talent Shortage Survey, more than half of Singaporean employers struggle to fill open vacancies, largely due to applicants with a lack of relevant skills and experience. The hardest to fill jobs are listed as:
• Certified accountants
• Online security experts
• Engineers (chemical, civil and electrical)
In order to apply for jobs in Singapore, you should initially research the sectors you hope to work in. Gaining background knowledge on how your area of expertise perhaps differs in another country can help you to decide which jobs to apply for. You do not need to be resident in the country in order to apply for jobs; there are numerous websites that enable jobseekers to apply online.
You will need to have a CV in order to apply for some jobs while others may require completion of an online application form. Your CV should be written professionally and set out in the standard format, detailing your qualifications, experience and relevant employment history. Keep it simple and highlight your strengths as often as possible to give yourself the best chance of getting an interview.
If you are applying for jobs in Singapore from abroad, and you make it to interview stage, you are likely to be offered a telephone or online interview. If your interview involves video calling, remember to dress as professionally as you would for a face-to-face meeting.
All expats wanting to work in Singapore must hold a valid visa or permit and you will need to secure a job before applying for a work visa. There are many different permits available, including:
• Employment pass – for professionals, managers and executives. To be eligible for this visa, you will need to earn at least £2,041 per month and hold certain qualifications.
• EntrePass – for entrepreneurs who would like to start a business in Singapore.
• Personalised Employment Pass – for those with an exceptionally high level of income.
• Work Permit for Foreign Worker – for semi-skilled workers, including those in the constructions or manufacturing trades.
• S Pass – for mid-level skilled workers.
• Miscellaneous Work Pass – for individuals undertaking a temporary work assignment for a maximum of 60 days.
Singapore is a popular tourist destination so there is always work available during the summer in hotels and hostels, bars and restaurants. If you are aged between 18 and 25, you may be eligible to apply for the Singapore Work Holiday Programme, which allows students from a permitted eight countries (including the UK) to work in the country for up to six months on a holiday visa.
Volunteering opportunities are abundant in Singapore and can be a great way of gaining experience if you can afford to support yourself whilst not earning. There are plenty of voluntary positions available in childcare, animal conservation, health and social care and education.
Qualified teachers who are also native English speakers are eligible to apply for teaching jobs in Singapore, as English is the country’s official language of education. There is also a demand for TEFL teachers due to the high numbers of expats from non-English speaking countries, though opportunities for these jobs are not as prevalent as in other Asian countries.
Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Most natives speak more than one of these languages. Native or proficient English speakers will have no issues communicating or working in Singapore as English is the country’s official language of both business and education.
Qualifications gained in the UK are largely recognised in Singapore as the country’s education system is based on the British system, so explaining your qualifications in an interview situation should not prove problematic.
Most employees based in Singapore work around 50 hours a week based on Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm and a half day on Saturdays, though working weekends is less prevalent than it once was. As an employee, you will be entitled to between 7 and 14 days’ holiday each year, depending upon length of service and seniority. However, this is boosted by the following 11 days of public holidays:
• New Year’s Day
• Chinese New Year (two days)
• Good Friday
• Labour Day
• Vesak Day
• Hari Raya Puasa
• National Day
• Hari Raya Haji
• Christmas Day
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