- About Singapore
- Working conditions
- Sectors and companies that are recruiting
- Applying for a job
- Major recruitment pointers
- Recruitment Resources and networks
1. About Singapore
Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in consumer electronics, information technology products, pharmaceuticals, and on a growing financial services sector. Real GDP growth averaged 7.1% between 2004 and 2007. The economy contracted 1.3% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but rebounded nearly 14.7% in 2010, on the strength of renewed exports. Over the longer term, the government hopes to establish a new growth path that focuses on raising productivity, which has sunk to 1% growth per year in the last decade. Singapore has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production and will continue efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia’s financial and high-tech hub.
Population: 4.7 million
GDP per inhabitant (2009): USD 62.100,-
Unemployment rate (02/11): 2.2 %
2. Working conditions
Despite the global recession, all industries are still hiring. Growth areas such as IT and software engineering still rely heavily on international talent as the supply of local graduates is insufficient to meet the demand. Employment contracts in Singapore are considered to be strict, yet the conditions for hiring and firing are flexible. There are, however, legal clauses that regulate employment contracts. In Singapore, a female employee is entitled to four weeks before and eight weeks immediately after the delivery of a child, totalling twelve weeks of maternity leave. Extensions or flexible work hours can be negotiated with the employer but are not required by law.
Employee benefits are often called fringe benefits or perks. There are various types of compensations provided to employees in addition to their normal salaries. Employee benefits in Singapore might include sick leave, annual leave, maternity leave, incentives & bonuses, relocation assistance; healthcare benefits, retirement fund contributions, housing allowance, allowance for children’s education, childcare benefits, transportation reimbursements, etc.
Legal working hours : 44 hrs / week
Length of trial / notice period: 6 months probationary period
Employment formalities: If taking up work in Singapore, either an Employment Pass or a Work Permit is required. An Employment Pass is needed for a foreigner with a degree, professional qualification or specialist skills, while a Work Permit is needed for any skilled or unskilled foreign worker. The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) handles the issuing of all types of Employment Pass.
For full information from the MOM website on employment-related passes: Click here
3. Sectors that are recruiting
Major industries: banking and finance, biomedical sciences, chemicals, communications and media, electronics and precision engineering, healthcare, IT, maritime services.
Recent growth areas: biomedical sciences, IT, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, life sciences, electronics, interactive and digital media.
(Industries in decline: freight transport, shipping.)
Major companies: CapitaLand, City Developments, DBS Group, Fraser & Neave, Golden Agri-Resources, Keppel, Neptune Orient Lines, OCBCBank, SembCorp Industries, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Exchange, Singapore Press, Singapore Telecom, ST Engineering, United Overseas Bank, Wilmar International.
4. Applying for a job
Application documents: Foreign expatriates looking to move to Singapore for work will need an up-to-date, readable, concise and interesting résumé in order to find a job. An appropriate cover letter is also essential for any person seeking employment.
Advice regarding the CV:Your CV should be no longer than two A4 pages and should include an objective personal profile, followed by your educational background, a summary of your work experience and positions of responsibilities, and references. When writing your personal profile (three or four lines maximum), state your career focus and/or aims and evidence of two or three main strengths. Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for. Companies sometimes request that you attach a passport-sized photograph to your CV.
5. Major recruitment pointers
Business Etiquette/knowing how to behave during interviews: You can do several things beforehand to prepare for an interview. Research the company, so that you have some idea of their corporate culture, their successes and their current direction. Prepare a list of your skills, matching it to the Company’s needs. Ask yourself possible questions, and formulate responses.
• Dress in neat, tailored clothes for the interview.
• Arrive on time. Canadians are usually punctual and expect punctuality in others.
• Shake hands with all those present at the interview, but be careful to allow adequate personal space, and avoid other physical contact.
• Be courteous and respectful. Canadians are deferential to authority and polite to each other.
Employers will look for your ability to respond to questions intelligently and quickly. During the interview, be yourself-and be modest about your accomplishments. Bragging, name-dropping and aggressiveness are considered to be in poor taste. Avoid raising the issue of salary or benefits early in the interview. However, if asked, be prepared to give your salary preference. After the interview, write a letter of thanks. This not only shows your courtesy, but it also provides another point of contact with the employer.
Languages you must be able to speak: English is the dominant language of business, and can be used to communicate throughout all industries as it is an official language of Singapore. Chinese dialects are also widely used, and being bi-lingual can be an advantage. In the Singaporean work culture, punctuality is highly regarded and therefore important. Another quick tip is to avoid intense eye contact with an older person because it is seen as disrespectful.
Flagship training: National University of Singapore
Compensation&Benefits / Taxes: Employee benefits are often called fringe benefits or perks. There are various types of compensations provided to employees in addition to their normal salaries. Employee benefits in Singapore might include sick leave, annual leave, maternity leave, incentives & bonuses, relocation assistance; healthcare benefits, retirement fund contributions, housing allowance, allowance for children’s education, childcare benefits, transportation reimbursements, etc. An employer is liable to pay his employee(s) within seven days after the end of the salary period, in accordance to the provisions of Part III of the Employment Act. Failure to pay salaries in accordance with provisions of the Employment Act is an offence. Employees who are not paid for work done can report employers to the Ministry for investigation. Employees in managerial and executive positions who earn basic monthly salaries of $4,500 and below are only covered partially on the basic payment of salary. Other types of employees covered under the Act are also covered for unauthorised deductions of salaries.
6. Recruitment resources and networks
If you are thinking of getting a job in Singapore on your own, there are a few avenues you can explore without even leaving your home country. One is to get in touch with the Singapore Economic Development Board’s International Manpower Programme, which has information on prospective employers, immigration issues and a profile of the industry you are interested in.
International Manpower Programme
Singapore Economic Development Board
250 North Bridge Road
Raffles City Tower
For those interested in a career in research and development, you can contact the National Science and Technology Board and send in your resume to:
The National Science and Technology Board
10 Science Park Road
#01-01/03 The Alpha Singapore
Science Park Road II
For those who want a good general purpose job seeking programme, they could do far worse than try http://www.jobsdb.com.sg – a friendly searchable interface with a lot of jobs and a very popular regional site.
Finally, http://www.google.com.sg as the search engine of choice, could also be of help to the would be Singapore worker.
Best sites for jobs: See above.
Where to network: Job fairs are a great way to begin networking with companies located in Singapore and to find specific job vacancies. A large career fair is organized by the Singapore Professional Centre (SPC) every year. Visit Career Services Singapore for more information.