Singapore Expats Forum

ADVICE NEEDED !

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

duffman
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Postby duffman » Thu, 03 Jul 2014 12:13 pm

JR8 wrote:
duffman wrote: Yeah good point JR8 ! When you worked abroad did you deal with many poeple who couldn't speak english/speak english well ? just curious :)

But i presume the higher up in a company the more english is spoken i guess ?

but i still needa getmy degree then find a job overseas aha (sorry for getting ahead of myself)


No. I think to an extent, when needed and without thinking about it, you simply change gears and speak in a simpler form of English. That covers most things. When dealing with the very rare case of someone who speaks no English, then I have simply routed the comms via a local colleague. [Do note though, that I've only worked for Western MNCs in Asia. Still mostly local staff, but the expectation was that comms would be in English. And if you were to work for a JPnese or Korean MNC this might be different. In SG English is the first language, so you can pretty much end the discussion there on that matter].

I can understand the interest in learning some conversational JPnese etc and so on. I found that interesting, and something of a cultural insight in itself. Wow what a delight it was to go out and order lunch (and be understood!!) :). But the idea of being proficient in it in the workplace.... no chance. I've heard the one person I knew who did, say that it takes about ten years of dedicated study. Unsurprisingly he is married to a local and now a long time PR, hence why he went to those lengths.


Thanks Jr8, yeah I always heard Japanese was a hard language to master and took some time but never really knew how long it took :(

But I do like how English is the official language in SG, but i just wasn't sure how widely spoken, and how well they speak it but thanks for the insight :)

duffman
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Postby duffman » Wed, 09 Jul 2014 11:57 am

do you guys reckon it would be worth working for PWC (or one of the big four) and working for a few years and getting my CPA ?

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:10 pm

duffman wrote:do you guys reckon it would be worth working for PWC (or one of the big four) and working for a few years and getting my CPA ?


That is a well recognised and well-trodden route. Join as a junior, get your qualifications, CPA/ACCA etc., spend a few of years in practice, then go to some MNC (perhaps one you have been working on as an external auditor!).

If you foresee a career in numbers, and longer term in finance, and maybe as a financial controller etc, then it's a good way to go.

p.s. Being a CPA/ACCA/CIMA etc is a good foundation for many things. As it gives you the 'soup to nuts/front-to-back' on what's required for a successful business.

brian_singapore
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Postby brian_singapore » Sun, 13 Jul 2014 9:45 am

My wife and I are professional expats and have cycled through 5 countries over the last 16 or so years.

Very important: There are a thousand roads that lead expatriates abroad and a thousand reasons people will give why any given road won't lead you there. Be eternally optimistic, listen to what everyone says and ignore the parts where they tell you 'it won't work because...' and adopt the advice that applies to your situation. Focus on your specific circumstances and evaluate every opportunity on whether it gets 'you' closer to your 'goal'.

First thing I'd recommend is learning a lot about the different visa options in each of the countries you may want to work in. Under the age of 29 many countries (mostly in NA, Europe, Oz and NZ) you can apply for 2 year working holiday visas which allow you to work in your country of choice. These are usually based on a reciprocating agreements (i.e. both countries agree to provide for their respective citizens) so accessing these depends heavily on your native country.

Most will have common themes; the majority of professional class visas you'd need to work for a company in a professional capacity would require a minimum of a university degree, a minimal amount of work experience (typically 3-5 years). This isn't universally true; Cambodia will give you a business visa for a flat annual fee (legitimately!), but then I doubt the professional career opportunities there are quite the same as more restrictive countries.

I've always found it easier to find jobs 'on-the-ground' looking for work. I travelled to Singapore for 1 month (which turned into 2) when I looked for work here last year. 16 years ago when I was looking for my first overseas job I did the same, travelling to England. It's also a lot easier when your employed in a services oriented company with close proximity to a lot of countries; just more companies doing cross-border business and willing to send staff there. I.e. Canada doesn't have near the number of companies doing daily business with continental Europe as say the UK. And because of the distance is more likely to have local offices employing local staff.

I don't have a lot of hands-on advice for someone just graduating as I'd already been working before looking for my first overseas job. I had already developed some specialist skills which made my searches a lot easier.

I would suggest you look for regional 'consultancy' type employment where your required to travel to client sites. These are usually weighted towards younger staff as the core requirement is the ability to travel 80%-100%. There are certainly veterans willing to do this but most eventually decide they need to settle down and spend time with family and move on. This also gives you the advantage of seeing a lot of countries on someone else's dime.

I would be careful of options that take you out of your target career path (i.e. Teaching English). It can be very difficult to get yourself back on track once you've been out of your area for some time. I'm always a firm believer of 'follow-your-passion' work-wise. That being said, there are plenty of people (including some of my good friends) who have done this and it has work very well for them. While I wouldn't to down this route personally, that doesn't mean it's not the right choice for someone else.

Once you start out down the 'expat' path, you tend to naturally start meeting many other professionals doing the same thing. This opens up a wider array of opportunties as you learn who employs expats and become someone who can work abroad and be tapped for expat roles. Not a lot of help in terms of finding your first position, but makes everything a heck of a lot easier after.... This is just generally true in any professional context.

In terms of my specific experience looking for work:

Job 1: Targeted England as a destination. I contacted recruiters and than travelled to England. First trip was 2 weeks. I then completed follow-up interviews via phone. I finally landed a position working for the consultancy arm of a software house focusing on product deployments and systems integration. This allowed me to travel to large number of European countries on a regular basis and eventually led me to Asia.

Job 2: Internal transfer to Thailand; our company had offices through most of Europe and APAC. I eventually migrated to a different part of the company and worked with our Thailand office very closely for 2 years. I eventually transferred to Thailand when the opportunity came up.

Job 3: Hired for a position in Sri Lanka. This one was found via our professional network after we decided to move on. We were looking and simply reached out within our professional network for anything available in Asia.

Job 4: Recruited for a project in New Zealand. This one was found via our professional network. A former co-worker contacted us for a long-term project in New Zealand.

Job 5: Targeted Singapore as a destination. We now have young children and were looking for a developed, child-friendly country in Asia. We contacted recruiters and companies about 2 months before I travelled here. I planned one month with the hopes of returning home and wrapping something up via video conference. Once here it became clear I needed to be on the ground through the entire process and extended my stay to 2 months.

Hope some of this provides some insight.

Brian

duffman
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Postby duffman » Mon, 14 Jul 2014 1:46 pm

Thanks JR8, at this stage PWC or one of the big four look like likely options to gain my CPA and some quality experience !

Thanks so much for your advice and detail brian_singapore ! Honestly really appreciate your time and effort ! Yeah just planning on being optimistic about the experience as a whole and taking any opportunity that may come my way :) (as well as taking advice from people who have walked this road before! which is why i posted this here)


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