Working in Singapore

Living and Working in Singapore

There are a lot of things I love about Singapore. It has consistently been ranked as the best place in the world to do business for several years running. It is an extraordinarily clean and well-managed city-state with many different people of different ethnic backgrounds living together in harmony. Although it is a bit of a nanny state and perhaps a bit uptight for some, this is by all means a fantastic place to launch an Asia-Pacific career or business.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Geography
  • People/population numbers
  • Economy, major industries, and career opportunities for a young professional
  • Singapore Jobs boards
  • Business Associations and Chamber of Commerce
  • Cost of living for a young single professional
  • Visa process
  • Expat sites
  • Expat Web sties

Profile of Singapore


Singapore is an urbanized island located in Southeast Asia, on the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula between Malaysia and Indonesia. The terrain is comprised of a gently undulated central plateau.

Singapore is located 1 degree north of the equator and has not distinct seasons with hot, humid, and rainy weather. Monsoons are frequent from mid-November until early March and again from Mid-June until September.


Singapore has a population of just over 5 million as estimated by the last census in 2010 and is the second most densely population country in the world, only behind Monaco. Singapore is a multicultural country with a large number of Chinese immigrants, with significant number of Malaysian and Indian minorities.

The country has four official languages: Mandarin, Malay Tamil and English, with English being the main working knowledge and Mandarin being the second most common working language, especially in small and medium size companies.

Economy and Career Opportunities

Singapore’s skilled workforce and updated infrastructure have attracted investment from many multinational corporations (MNCs) from the United States, Japan, and Europe. Foreign firms are found in nearly all industrial sectors and account for greater than two-thirds of manufacturing output and export sales.

The manufacturing and financial sectors account for 26 percent and 22% of Singapore’s GDP with the electronic industry accounting for 48 percent of GDP.

The government is promoting activities to open the financial services, telecommunications, and retailing sectors to foreign corporations.

Singapore is also aggressively developing its biotechnology industry. Millions of dollars have been spent to build up this industry’s infrastructure and the recruitment of international scientists.  Leading drug makers, such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pfizer, and Merck & CO. now have branches in Singapore. Pharmaceuticals now account for more than 16% of the country’s manufacturing production.

Singapore’s tech sector remains the largest in the country. It is possible that government financial assistance for the more innovative tech companies will lead Singapore to surpass other tech centers in East Asia, although competition with inventors and product designers in Japan and South Korea may prove a challenge due to Singapore’s relative size. The nation needs skilled tech workers from foreign countries, such as China, South Asia, Japan and Western countries.

Singapore presents many career opportunities for young professionals with scientific, research, or tech backgrounds due to the country’s commitment to expand the biotech and technology sectors with foreign talent.  Those with business backgrounds will also find ample job opportunities due to the strong growth of the financial and retailing sectors.

Median Monthly Disposable Income (after taxes):  $3025.14

Job Boards for Expat Jobs in Singapore

In this list we’re only considering English-language Singapore job boards. Nonetheless, you may find that some of the job positions posted on these boards require fluent- or native-level Chinese — it definitely helps to be bilingual in China.

Enjoy Browsing!

1. Monster Singapore

2. Singapore Job-Q

Singapore job postings in all industries. Can also post your résumé.

3. Tiptop Jobs-Singapore

Local and international job openings in all industries.

4. How to use top job boards in Singapore

Advice with list of top five job boards

Business Associations and Chambers of Commerce

The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce Business Directory is comprehensive listings of companies doing business in the country.  Visit the Online Catalog that highlights each company’s products and services

There are a wide variety of business associations in Singapore that you may contact for networking and leads for jobs in Singapore. For a list of over 20 such organizations visit:

Visit: for a listing of all Chambers of Commerce in Singapore, as well as additional business associations:

Cost of Living in Singapore for a Single Professional

What follows is a breakdown of the average cost of utility and apartment various expenses in Singapore by USD. Updated May 2011.

Monthly rent

One bedroom in city center: $2090.95

One bedroom outside of city center: $1339.34

Monthly Utilities

Electricity, gas, water, trash: $135.38

1 minute prepaid mobile (no discount): $0.29

Internet (6 Mbps, Flat rate, Cable/DSL: $30.48

For a full cost of living including food, transportation, clothing, recreation, visit: . This site offers the option of converting USD to different currencies.

Visa Application Process

The Visa application process in Singapore is fairly easy.  Visitors from most countries do not require an entry visa in advance for stays up to 90days. Passports will be stamped on arrival to Singapore with a 30, 60, or 90 day visa.  This means that you will not need to apply for a visa to attend job interviews.

Below are the simple steps for those who will be staying in the country for longer than 90 days. For more information visit:

1. Check the validity of your current passport.

All travelers will need a passport that is valid for the next 90 days following your departure date. However, it is recommended that the passport be valid for 6 months following the date of departure.

2. Make sure your passport has blank visa pages.

Most destinations, including Singapore, require that you have at least two blank pages in your passport, allowing for entry of any required stamps upon arrival and departure.

3. Confirm if a transit visa is needed for any travel connections.

Check with your airline in case you have any connecting flights as part of your trip to Singapore. It may be the case that the countries where you will pass through have their own visa requirements. Please refer to the specific visa requirements f the specific country.

Useful Expat Web Sites

1. Enter Singapore: “Ultimate Support for Expats in Singapore.” Information on Singapore jobs and careers, housing, visa requirements, Singapore lifestyle, and shopping.  ”

2. Expat Experience: Useful site for relocation assistance for those moving to Singapore: housing costs links to rental agents, lifestyle, events, communities, getting around.

3. Singapore is an online web portal which provides property and related information catered to the expatriate community in Singapore.”

4. Singapore Expats Online: Forum for travelers, relocation advice, property information, Singapore jobs, apartment and car classifieds.

5. Singapore Forum: “The Singapore Expats forum is a community of people that have moved to Singapore. This is the place for Expats to meet and discuss anything about Singapore. You will find this forum a welcoming place to discuss the great attributes of your new home.”