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.
You do not have to be in the country to apply for a job and applications can be made online. Most job sites will require you to register with them before applying for vacancies.
Alternatively, you can apply for an Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) and a Visit Pass, which is valid for up to one year. This gives you time to look for a job and establish a network of contacts.
Application procedures vary, depending on the organisation and profession. Whilst some companies prefer a CV, others will use online application forms. Check individual company websites for details and to find out whether speculative applications are welcome.
Candidates need to secure a job offer in order to get a work permit. For more details, see visa and immigration.
Where a CV is required, follow the guidelines for a UK 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.
Initial interviews are often conducted by telephone for applicants outside Singapore. Further interviews are then undertaken in person, by telephone or via video-conferencing.
The employer will ask questions to assess your skills and qualities for the job role.
Large international companies may invite you to an assessment centre where you will sit written examinations or practical tests, as in the UK.
Interviews (and applications) are conducted in English unless otherwise stated in the job advert.
UK qualifications are generally recognised by employers, although it is up to the individual employer to decide as there is no central authority that assesses or grants recognition of degrees obtained from overseas universities. For graduate jobs with the Singapore Civil Service , for example, degrees are accepted from all universities accredited by the home government of the country where the university is located.
Professional degrees, such as those for engineering, medicine, law and accountancy, are usually recognised by the relevant professional bodies.
If you are planning to live and work in Singapore, check your UK tax and National Insurance position with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to ensure that you are not losing any UK pension rights.
Most companies in Singapore welcome speculative applications - check individual company websites for details. Networking is a big part of the Singapore business community. You can join professional organisations, such as the Law Society of Singapore or the Academy of Medicine, Singapore , to develop contacts in your chosen field. You can also approach networking organisations such as Business Network International - Singapore for help with business and job referrals. The Singapore Economic Development Board has information on companies that are moving to Singapore, so it may be worth approaching them for suitable contacts.
Opportunities are available to students undertaking undergraduate, Masters or PhD degree programmes. In most cases, students must have completed the first year of their studies. Opportunities are usually arranged individually and directly with participating companies. Some organisations advertise work experience vacancies on their website, though internships in Singapore are highly sought-after and attract large numbers of applicants.
Students may be able to apply to the AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales) , which offers members opportunities to gain work experience in partner countries.
The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) offers volunteering positions in partnership with the public and private sectors.
The Singapore Work Holiday Programme allows university students and recent graduates between 17 and 30 years old from eight countries (including the UK) to work for a period of six months in Singapore whilst on a holiday visa.
Use job-hunting sources and general gap year websites to search for opportunities. GapYear.com , for example, has some information on backpacking around Singapore.
Singapore has a strong education system, recognised around the world. There is an ethos of continuous learning and high quality adult education is available.
Singapore’s university education system consists of autonomous universities, private universities, specialised private universities and polytechnics.
There is a wide range of postgraduate courses available and you should check with the individual institution for more details. Postgraduate taught and research Masters usually take between one and three years to obtain. PhD programmes should be completed within two to five years. MBA courses are also on offer and are usually taken full time over one or two years.
Courses are usually conducted in English, with the exception of language classes.
Further details are available on the Singapore Education website.
The Institute of Technical Education (Singapore) provides technical knowledge and skills to ensure that its graduates are prepared for work in industry.
Institutions generally require that applicants have a 2:1 degree or above. Check with individual institutions for full details.
Application deadlines vary for each university but are usually at the beginning of November for the semester 1 intake and at the beginning of May for the semester 2 intake.
Applications are made directly to the university, usually by post or online. Some universities will ask international candidates to provide proof that they can financially support themselves during the course of study, for example, a recent bank statement that displays sufficient funds. If you apply for a research degree you will have to provide two academic references.
The Ministry of Education Singapore provides tuition grants to students who are admitted to the local universities and polytechnics. UK/EU students are eligible for the same grant, subject to the signing of an agreement with the Singaporean government undertaking to work in Singapore for three years upon completion of the programme.
With the bonus of the tuition grant, fees are substantially reduced. University course fees do not include exam fees, student union fees or sports fees.
There are some scholarships available to international candidates with outstanding academic records. See individual university websites for details.
Both the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Management University (SMU) offer exchange programmes with partner universities, including several universities in the UK.
Qualifications are comparable with UK ones. Degrees from Singapore are internationally recognised.
UK nationals wanting to work in Singapore need an Employment Pass (EP). Before applying for an EP you must have secured a firm job offer. For more information about the three categories of employment pass (P1 Pass, P2 Pass, Q1 Pass - for foreign professionals) and the S Pass (for mid-level skilled workers such as technicians), visit the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website.
If you want to spend time in Singapore looking for a job, you can apply for the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC). Once your application for an EPEC has been successful, you should then apply for a one-year Visit Pass to allow you to remain in Singapore. The EPEC is issued on a one-time basis and is strictly non-renewable.
A local sponsor - your employer in most cases - is required to apply for the Employment Pass on your behalf. To be eligible, you must receive a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,000 for the Q1 pass, S$4,500 for the P2 pass and S$8,000 for the P1 pass.
To be considered for an Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC), you must possess university qualifications from an approved list of international universities or hold a skilled migrant visa. Check the list of approved universities on the MOM website. All EPEC applications must be submitted online via the MOM website.
If you are not a UK national, contact the Singaporean embassy in the country where you are currently residing about how to obtain visas and work permits. If you are living in the UK, go to the Singaporean Embassy website.
You might also find it helpful to contact your ministry of foreign affairs (or your own embassy if you are not living in your home country) to ask whether there are any issues to be taken into account when considering working in Singapore.
UK nationals can become Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) by obtaining an Entry Permit. You must be a P, Q or S Work Pass holder to apply for permanent residency. For more information and to download application forms, go to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website.
The local employment centres, administered by Central Singapore CDC, are only open to Singaporean nationals and permanent residents.
Contact Singapore is a government-supported initiative providing detailed information and advice for jobseekers intending to relocate to Singapore. As well as their centre in Singapore, they have a network of centres around the world, including an office in London.
Universities and higher education institutions provide free careers support for overseas graduates. Details of internships and help with CVs, interviews and career planning are also available. See individual university websites for details.
The British High Commission - Singapore can help British citizens in Singapore with emergencies, for example, if you have been the victim of a crime or need a lawyer or a doctor. The contact number is +65 6424 4200.
Emergency contact numbers in Singapore are:
Find the latest travel advice and a traveller’s checklist on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.