Singapore Expats Forum

Best place for engineering jobs - HK, Shanghai or Singapore?

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

MarcSohl
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon, 29 Sep 2014
Location: Sverige

Best place for engineering jobs - HK, Shanghai or Singapore?

Postby MarcSohl » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 6:07 am

Hi everybody,

I'm a 26 year old Sales engineer from Sweden that currently works for a major Japanese automotive parts supplier. I plan to move to Asia in 2015 to obtain a masters degree and search for jobs in parallel. There are three places I choose between: HK, Singapore or Shanghai.

Let me explain more about my background and what my goal is before I turn to the background of my problem:

My background:
I graduated with a BSc in Mechanical in 2012 and have around 2,5 years work experience from my Japanese company.
I lived in Shanghai from 2009-2011 and studied Mandarin Chinese and had internships/part time jobs at the same time. I worked mainly as an account manager and with human resources. I speak Chinese on an advanced level and want to enhance my Chinese skills even more (hopefully fluent level).
I visited HK during 4 days in 2010, but have not visited Singapore yet.

My goal:
I plan to pursue studies (1 year MSc) at a university in either Shanghai, HK or Singapore. My plan is to look for jobs in parallel so the university must be located in the city I will work in later. During my studies, I want to build up a good network and get settled.

I preferably want to work with Technical sales, Project management, Manufacturing/production engineering or similar at a big/medium sized technical company.

All of these cities are for sure more fun than the city I live in now and I just want to get away from here, in around March - August the next year. But of course I want to do some pre-studies first.

My questions:
- Where should I study?
I know that the quality of universities in Singapore and HK are better than Shanghai. But there are a couple of reputable ones in Shanghai too and the study fees much lower.
To me, it seems like HK is the best when it comes to upper education. Singapore has two reputable universities (University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University). HK has at least five (HKUST, University of HK, Polytechnic university, Chinese university of HK and the City University of HK). In addition, the fees seems much lower in HK and they have managed to apply the UK's education system which means 4 years for a BSc and 1 year for a MSc. In Singapore, it's harder to find 1 year MSc programs.

- Where is it most easy to find engineering jobs?
This question is very relevant and probably more important than my first question. I assume that Shanghai has most of the jobs for manufacturing, Singapore for IT/telecom (?) and HK is more of a financial hub. I have no clue about the job market for engineers in HK to be honest. I have tried to search for information but not found much. I believe it's not impossible to find engineering jobs in HK, but how big are the shares? In case it's 3-5 times more engineering jobs in Singapore, I will of course have that in my mind when making my decision.

- Which place is best/most fun to be at?
This is a very hard question of course. Please take into consideration that I'm 26, have no kids and don't see a big problem with the pollution in HK or Shanghai. To me, it's not that bad (not if I stay there for a couple of years at least). Hong Kong seems to be more vibrant when I read people's comments and Singapore a boring city for expatriates with families. Is this really true? Singapore is one of the biggest and most famous business hubs in Asia. I doubt that the city is really that boring? I have friends who visited Singapore and some of them say it's boring too. I guess you need to be there for a longer time to really enjoy it.

Sorry if I'm not clear, but let's start from here and I will try to add more information if needed.

I suppose that this thread will be valuable for other young engineers like me who plans to move to Asia for work!

Thanks in advance.

brian_singapore
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon, 29 Jul 2013

Postby brian_singapore » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 8:20 am

IMHO HK is better for the young and un-attached. Or for young couples. Much more vibrant and happening city. Singapore on the other hand it a much better place for a young family. Ten years ago, it probably would have been my first choice. Now Singapore is as I have a young family.

You mention the goal of continuing your Mandarin studies.... Singapore does have Mandarin as an official language, but most people speak Hokkien and everyone does business in English. I believe the universities here are also taught in English (as are the local school systems). I suspect you'll have more opportunity to speak Mandarin in Shanghai, somewhat less so in Hong Kong (but more then Singapore as they deal a lot with the mainland) and probably very little in Singapore. (But I may be corrected on this point by other forum members).

Other then a few short (<=4 days) touristy trips to Shanghai 7 or 8 years ago. I've had very little exposure to the City, so couldn't comment.

PNGMK
Director
Director
Posts: 4896
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 9:42 am

I would recommend Shanghai for the uni studies and then see where you go from there for work. I lived in Shanghai for 3 years and it was truly a great experience.

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:16 am

brian_singapore wrote:IMHO HK is better for the young and un-attached. Or for young couples. Much more vibrant and happening city. Singapore on the other hand it a much better place for a young family. Ten years ago, it probably would have been my first choice. Now Singapore is as I have a young family.

You mention the goal of continuing your Mandarin studies.... Singapore does have Mandarin as an official language, but most people speak Hokkien and everyone does business in English. I believe the universities here are also taught in English (as are the local school systems). I suspect you'll have more opportunity to speak Mandarin in Shanghai, somewhat less so in Hong Kong (but more then Singapore as they deal a lot with the mainland) and probably very little in Singapore. (But I may be corrected on this point by other forum members).

Other then a few short (<=4 days) touristy trips to Shanghai 7 or 8 years ago. I've had very little exposure to the City, so couldn't comment.


Shanghai is equally good, or even better, for the young unattached. Especially caucasian males. Job prospects for his field will be better in Shanghai, and his language skills will be much more useful.

brian_singapore
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon, 29 Jul 2013

Postby brian_singapore » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:20 am

about 2 months ago I attended a company workshop which included attendance from our (female) Shanghai representatives. When conversation turned to romance and marriage they complained about the lack of eligible bachelors available in Shanghai and filled the rest of us in on the 5 cs - the criteria against which any bachelor is measured.

Career
Condo
Car
Cash
Credit Cards

It definitely sounded like a good place to be as an eligible bachelor.

:D

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:37 am

brian_singapore wrote:about 2 months ago I attended a company workshop which included attendance from our (female) Shanghai representatives. When conversation turned to romance and marriage they complained about the lack of eligible bachelors available in Shanghai and filled the rest of us in on the 5 cs - the criteria against which any bachelor is measured.

Career
Condo
Car
Cash
Credit Cards

It definitely sounded like a good place to be as an eligible bachelor.

:D


It's the same as Singapore. I should also ammend my comment above to say that if you're looking to get *attached*, Shanghai isn't the place. Only if you plan to stay single.

None of the three are that great for getting attached, fwiw.

brian_singapore
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon, 29 Jul 2013

Postby brian_singapore » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:45 am

I've been attached for so long I've lost all ability to evaluate this kind of thing...

User avatar
the lynx
Governor
Governor
Posts: 5239
Joined: Thu, 09 Dec 2010
Location: Midgar

Postby the lynx » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 1:19 pm

I've been meaning to ask this, all the discussions about 5Cs and the propensity of "certain" groups of girls to use these yardsticks to find men, is it really the Sino-Asian thing?

You will always have tongues wagging how the girls from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and (add an Eastern Asian country here) latch themselves on rich men the moment they smell their money from few miles away. And that they don't make good long-term girlfriends because it is perceived that they are only good to do things less than that? Don't people have gold diggers everywhere else?

Please enlighten me because it seems to be the most-talked-about stuff in the dating sphere in this part of the world.

User avatar
Wd40
Director
Director
Posts: 3797
Joined: Tue, 04 Dec 2012
Location: SIndiapore

Postby Wd40 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 1:54 pm

It is directly linked with materialism in this part of the world. I will link to this article that I shared few days back:

http://qz.com/158282/china-may-actually ... the-world/

User avatar
the lynx
Governor
Governor
Posts: 5239
Joined: Thu, 09 Dec 2010
Location: Midgar

Postby the lynx » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 2:08 pm

Wd40 wrote:It is directly linked with materialism in this part of the world. I will link to this article that I shared few days back:

http://qz.com/158282/china-may-actually ... the-world/


Interestingly, Singapore is not in the list. Considering Hong Kong is now SAR of China, it is grouped together.

brian_singapore
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon, 29 Jul 2013

Postby brian_singapore » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 2:44 pm

the lynx wrote:I've been meaning to ask this, all the discussions about 5Cs and the propensity of "certain" groups of girls to use these yardsticks to find men, is it really the Sino-Asian thing?

You will always have tongues wagging how the girls from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and (add an Eastern Asian country here) latch themselves on rich men the moment they smell their money from few miles away. And that they don't make good long-term girlfriends because it is perceived that they are only good to do things less than that? Don't people have gold diggers everywhere else?

Please enlighten me because it seems to be the most-talked-about stuff in the dating sphere in this part of the world.


I would have heard similar things in any conversations back home. What I posted was a snippet of a wide ranging discussion on suitable mates and was concurred as criteria. All of the folks in the discussion were looking for companions with similar backgrounds to themselves, not a step up the economic ladder. Oddly, the nature of the workshop meant we had representatives from virtually every Asian country :-)

Not saying it's not more prevalent here; I have no idea. Only that similar criteria is often bandied about back home. Except maybe the Credit Cards. Everyone has those back home.

brian_singapore
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon, 29 Jul 2013

Postby brian_singapore » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 2:50 pm

the lynx wrote:
Wd40 wrote:It is directly linked with materialism in this part of the world. I will link to this article that I shared few days back:

http://qz.com/158282/china-may-actually ... the-world/


Interestingly, Singapore is not in the list. Considering Hong Kong is now SAR of China, it is grouped together.


I can see how a countries state of development significantly impacts the weight people give material wealth (and the need in a companion)....

In Canada, if you fall off the ladder your life will suck but you won't die.

In a developing country you may never have the chance to get on the ladder and may die.

PNGMK
Director
Director
Posts: 4896
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 2:58 pm

brian_singapore wrote:
the lynx wrote:I've been meaning to ask this, all the discussions about 5Cs and the propensity of "certain" groups of girls to use these yardsticks to find men, is it really the Sino-Asian thing?

You will always have tongues wagging how the girls from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and (add an Eastern Asian country here) latch themselves on rich men the moment they smell their money from few miles away. And that they don't make good long-term girlfriends because it is perceived that they are only good to do things less than that? Don't people have gold diggers everywhere else?

Please enlighten me because it seems to be the most-talked-about stuff in the dating sphere in this part of the world.


I would have heard similar things in any conversations back home. What I posted was a snippet of a wide ranging discussion on suitable mates and was concurred as criteria. All of the folks in the discussion were looking for companions with similar backgrounds to themselves, not a step up the economic ladder. Oddly, the nature of the workshop meant we had representatives from virtually every Asian country :-)

Not saying it's not more prevalent here; I have no idea. Only that similar criteria is often bandied about back home. Except maybe the Credit Cards. Everyone has those back home.


Yes... it's a pretty much Asian thing. Although everyone has criteria the pragmatic nature of the 5C criteria is pretty Asian.

As a Chinese friend told me in Australia when I asked him why Chinese-Australian girls don't usually date white Australian males - "no prospects". If you asked a white aussie male why he doesn't date Australia-Chinese girls you'd most likely have a more nuanced answer and less outright bias (apart from the obviously racist bogan responses).

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:50 pm

the lynx wrote:I've been meaning to ask this, all the discussions about 5Cs and the propensity of "certain" groups of girls to use these yardsticks to find men, is it really the Sino-Asian thing?

You will always have tongues wagging how the girls from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and (add an Eastern Asian country here) latch themselves on rich men the moment they smell their money from few miles away. And that they don't make good long-term girlfriends because it is perceived that they are only good to do things less than that? Don't people have gold diggers everywhere else?

Please enlighten me because it seems to be the most-talked-about stuff in the dating sphere in this part of the world.


Honestly it is just as bad in most places. Some girls will follow the 5Cs, others won't and will be "normal". IME I've seen a rather similar propensity for both in a lot of places.

But for example in the US, it would be offensive and sexist to even insinuate it. :cool:

MarcSohl
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon, 29 Sep 2014
Location: Sverige

Postby MarcSohl » Tue, 30 Sep 2014 2:43 am

zzm9980 wrote:
brian_singapore wrote:IMHO HK is better for the young and un-attached. Or for young couples. Much more vibrant and happening city. Singapore on the other hand it a much better place for a young family. Ten years ago, it probably would have been my first choice. Now Singapore is as I have a young family.

You mention the goal of continuing your Mandarin studies.... Singapore does have Mandarin as an official language, but most people speak Hokkien and everyone does business in English. I believe the universities here are also taught in English (as are the local school systems). I suspect you'll have more opportunity to speak Mandarin in Shanghai, somewhat less so in Hong Kong (but more then Singapore as they deal a lot with the mainland) and probably very little in Singapore. (But I may be corrected on this point by other forum members).

Other then a few short (<=4 days) touristy trips to Shanghai 7 or 8 years ago. I've had very little exposure to the City, so couldn't comment.


Shanghai is equally good, or even better, for the young unattached. Especially caucasian males. Job prospects for his field will be better in Shanghai, and his language skills will be much more useful.


I think Shanghai is an okay city, but there are two things I can't withstand: The size of the city and the farmers. In addition, there are not so many parks, there's no ocean close by, no mountains, nothing. In HK, you are surrounded with nice vegetation and it's close to the ocean. The same it goes for Singapore. So that's a big drawback for Shanghai in my opinion.

I often got sick while living in Shanghai, especially during the Winters (they don't have proper radiators but air conditioners) and I always ended up at hospital eating antibiotic.. That's one drawback as well. But if I go back to Shanghai I will for sure live a more healthy life though (i.e no open bars, eat properly, no street food etc. I guess it made me sick)..

How is the job market for engineers in HK v.s Singapore?
Are there many engineering jobs for Westerners in Hong Kong, or should I aim for Singapore or Shanghai instead?
I know there are a lot of manufacturing jobs in Shanghai, but to my understanding the salary level is not very high there, not even for foreigners, or? (Bear in mind that I will apply for jobs on-site, that means no expat-contracts). Does anyone have experience of working on a local contract in Shanghai/Hong Kong or Singapore? What salaries can you expect after 3 years job experience as a foreigner?

Should I go for a pure technical masters degree or should I apply for a more management related masters program?
They do have master programs in engineering subjets with a focus on management and that's what I've looked for previously. However, in case it's a no-go in Asia, I will apply for a master program in mechanical engineering, manufacturing or similar. Here I have no clue as well. What's best in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong?

My Chinese practicing is not as important as the job market, I also want to enjoy and feel satisfied in the city I live in. I can speak a lot of Mandarin in HK, Singapore or Shanghai for sure, I've met Singaporean, Malaysian and people from Hong Kong here in Sweden and I've spoken Chinese with all of them.


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Careers & Jobs in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests