Working in Singapore






A well-developed infrastructure, a stable political landscape, and an impressive open business policy - Singapore’s recipe for success. No wonder it has firmly established itself as a global business hub.

The open business policy has improved Singapore's image as a business-friendly country. Moreover, Singapore's attractive corporate tax rate, seamless and efficient application procedures, and even government funding for companies provide businesses with an opportunity to begin on a good footing.

"The local government is one of the most efficient in the world so the process has been a relative breeze, especially compared to the previous places I’ve lived."- Joe Escobedo, Expat in Singapore

Both MNCs and start-ups see Singapore as an ideal place to invest and grow their businesses. More than 7,000 multinational companies alongside 100,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have set up their base in Singapore. Many companies turn to Singapore to act as the launch pad to penetrate Asian markets.

Key Sectors

Manufacturing remains the largest sector in Singapore, but other key sectors include:

  • Trade
  • Science and technology
  • Industrial development
  • Tourism
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Information technology
  • Maritime services

The manufacturing sector has recently dominated the share of GDP with 19.8% in 2015, making it the most lucrative industry in the country. Wholesale-retail and business services come in with 15% of the share of GDP each and the finance and insurance which was once the major GDP contributor in Singapore has plunged to 12% of the country's GDP. Financial institutions range from wealth and asset management to equity, bond, foreign exchange and derivative markets, to reinsurance and captive insurance. Many multinational financial institutions have set up regional and global middle and back-office operations in Singapore, enticing professionals from other industries- especially those with experience in Infocomm Technology (ICT).

Getting Employed

Singapore's Ministry Of Manpower has a listing of the skills and occupations strategic to key industry sectors, wherein expats moving to the country possessing such skills will be given special consideration in their Employment Pass/S-Pass applications.

"There are a few forms to complete to apply for an Employment Pass, then once this is in and approved, the Ministry of Manpower grants you an ‘In-Principle Approval’. After this, your employer arranges an appointment at the MoM to have your photo and fingerprints taken (which takes all of 5 minutes), then your Employment Pass is sent to you a few days later. Simple."- Rowan Gibson, Expat in Singapore

But before you can even get on the skills list, you need to find a job - a challenge for foreigners. Non-Singapore citizens must secure a job offer before applying for a work permit.

"I was teaching English at Singapore Management University and they did everything for me. I got a letter of consent so I could work on my dependent’s pass."- Jennifer Gargiulo, Expat in Singapore

The Singapore government also provides a directory for various public service and government jobs.

Major employers include:

  • American International Assurance (AIA) Co Ltd
  • Barclays Capital
  • BNP Paribas
  • Citigroup
  • Credit Suisse
  • Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)
  • Great Eastern Life
  • Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC)
  • The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC)
  • JP Morgan
  • Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
  • OCBC Bank
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Temasek Holdings
  • United Overseas Bank (UOB)

Foreigners account for one-third of the Singaporean population. Expats welcome the rewarding benefits of open recruitment policies, low personal taxation, and an English-speaking environment.



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Expat Services in Singapore