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Working in Singapore

With a fast growing economy and a high standard of living, Singapore is one of the most attractive destinations for expatriate workers. These foreigners account for one third of the Singaporean population, spreading across all facets of the economy, from labour to service to white collar jobs. Some benefits foreigners receive include open recruitment policies, low personal taxation, and an English speaking environment. The Singaporean economy has been one of sustained growth ever since it gained its’ independence in 1965. Singapore did however experience a recession in 2001, but after several policy changes the economy has since experienced even higher growth than before. Basic wages have also shown an increasing trend in recent years, with the unemployment rate remaining low. Singapore’s workers are dedicated and efficient, and are known for their high levels of productivity and good work attitude.

Manufacturing is the largest sector in Singapore, with electronics making up over half of that sector. Singapore is also rated one of the most business-friendly economies in the world, with lots of opportunities for foreign expatriates in multi-national corporations. Foreigners are an important resource for Singaporean companies across all industries. Opportunities are traditionally available in the following sectors: trade, science and technology, industrial development, tourism, manufacturing, and engineering. High growth industries such as banking and finance and medical services and sciences are beginning to present increased opportunities for foreigners. Other high growth industries in Singapore include: chemicals, communications, healthcare, information technology, and maritime services.

Non-Singapore citizens need to have secured a job offer before applying for a work permit. Therefore, the application process is important, but it is also a straightforward process.

All job applications begin with the submission of a curriculum vitae, or CV. This should include important details that are relevant to the position you are applying for, and be presented in an organised and professional manner. Most Singaporean employers prefer to read a CV in chronological order, meaning the applicant should list their previous work experience beginning with their first job and progressing to their most recent job last. Also, where a CV is required, it is useful to attach a passport-sized photograph.

The application process itself may vary depending on the company. Some companies require a CV, while others require an online application prepared using their specific guidelines. Whichever the case, be aware of deadlines and review your application twice before submission.

Most companies will also require an interview. For people living outside Singapore this will most likely be done over the phone, and then in person or via video-conferencing as further interviews are required. Singapore is recognised as a conservative society, so it is better to present a “reserved” image during the interview process.

Singapore’s high standard of living and low unemployment rate help illustrate the high quality working conditions that exist in Singapore. For most foreigners, working in Singapore will not present a major culture shock, and will be a rewarding experience.

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