Singapore is highly developed and has one of the world's most successful economies. Graduates with specialised skills are particularly in demand.
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. Approximately one in four skilled workers in Singapore is from overseas (Contact Singapore, 2011). Your chances of getting a job may therefore depend on your chosen field of work.
If your salary expectations are realistic and you show flexibility, there is a good chance of finding graduate employment in Singapore.
Typical problems encountered: non-Singaporean citizens need to have secured a job offer before applying for a work permit. For more information see visa and immigration.
How to improve your chances: apply for an Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) and a Visit Pass, which are valid for up to one year. This will give you time to look for a job.
Language requirements: Mandarin Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil are all official languages. English is widely spoken and is the main language of commerce, education, administration and technology. Other Chinese dialects are also widely used and many Singaporean graduates are bilingual.
Where can I work?
Major industries: banking and finance, biomedical sciences, chemicals, communications and media, electronics and precision engineering, oil drilling equipment, IT, maritime services.
Recent growth areas: biomedical sciences, IT, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, life sciences, electronics, interactive and digital media.
Industries in decline: freight transport, shipping, general manufacturing.
Shortage occupations: nursing, business analysis and security, new media, communications, software engineering.
Major companies: CapitaLand, City Developments, DBS Group, Fraser and Neave, Golden Agri-Resources, Keppel, Neptune Orient Lines, OCBC Bank, SembCorp Industries, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Exchange, Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), ST Engineering, United Overseas Bank, Wilmar International.
Average working hours: most companies operate on a five-day week from Monday to Friday, although some may also be open on Saturday mornings. The average working week is 44 hours.
Holidays: 11 public holidays. You may be entitled to annual leave if you have worked with a company for at least three months. Annual leave allowance ranges from 7-14 days, depending on the length of service.
Tax rates: personal income tax rates are lower than in many other developed countries. As a non-resident, you will be liable to pay income tax if you have worked in Singapore for 60 days or more. Tax information for non-residents is available from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
Working practices and customs: punctuality is very important and business in Singapore is conducted on a more formal and hierarchical basis than in the UK.
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