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Considering a relocation to Singapore, what should I expect?

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WCUSA
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Considering a relocation to Singapore, what should I expect?

Postby WCUSA » Thu, 20 Nov 2014 8:30 am

I'm currently considering a relocation to Singapore with my SO after I graduate in May 2015, and was hopeful I could get some guidance from some of you on what I would expect job/career wise if I do.

I'm a white male, US citizen. In May 2015, I'll be graduating with both a MBA and a Master of Hotel Administration from a highly ranked US university program (hotel program is the better known of the two). I have roughly six years worth of experience working in hotels, with the last two primarily as a independent hospitality consultant in the US market. The other four were primarily with a resort operator who only has properties on the west coast of the US. My experience in the industry runs from finance, marketing, to operations. I'm looking to relocate to the Asia region for a period of 2-3 years, and afterwards likely move back to the US as I feel it'd be best for my long term career prospects. Singapore is first in consideration, followed closely by HK, Shanghai. To a lesser extent Taiwan, Korea, and Japan are also being considered. I currently only speak English, and conversational Spanish.

1) What kind of job prospects could I expect with my education level and experience if I were to move to Singapore?

2) Is there a rough salary range I should expect?

3) Will this salary be enough for me to live comfortably in Singapore, and also save a reasonable amount?

4) Are their any preferred employers in the hospitality industry in Singapore?

5) Would you recommend a different local instead, and why?

Any other info is appreciated. My research so far extends to looking at the JobBank website, as well as doing some basic research on visa requirements.

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Re: Considering a relocation to Singapore, what should I exp

Postby the lynx » Thu, 20 Nov 2014 9:17 am

WCUSA wrote:I'm currently considering a relocation to Singapore with my SO after I graduate in May 2015, and was hopeful I could get some guidance from some of you on what I would expect job/career wise if I do.

I'm a white , Male, US citizen. In May 2015, I'll be graduating with both a MBA and a Master of Hotel Administration from a highly ranked US university program (hotel program is the better known of the two). I have roughly six years worth of experience working in hotels, with the last two primarily as a independent hospitality consultant in the US market. The other four were primarily with a resort operator who only has properties on the west coast of the US. My experience in the industry runs from finance, marketing, to operations. I'm looking to relocate to the Asia region for a period of 2-3 years, and afterwards likely move back to the US as I feel it'd be best for my long term career prospects. Singapore is first in consideration, followed closely by HK, Shanghai. To a lesser extent Taiwan, Korea, and Japan are also being considered. I currently only speak English, and conversational Spanish.

1) What kind of job prospects could I expect with my education level and experience if I were to move to Singapore?

2) Is there a rough salary range I should expect?

3) Will this salary be enough for me to live comfortably in Singapore, and also save a reasonable amount?

4) Are their any preferred employers in the hospitality industry in Singapore?

5) Would you recommend a different local instead, and why?

Any other info is appreciated. My research so far extends to looking at the JobBank website, as well as doing some basic research on visa requirements.


Welcome to the forum. I will have to be honest and nice with you about this one.

Hospitality industry in Singapore (and many parts of Asia) is about cheap labour. I assume you will be looking into managerial role based on your qualifications. You will not have an easy time trying to look for that in Singapore or any major Asian city for that matter.

1. Singapore has local-first hiring policy, especially in industries where (cheap) local and regional manpower are available. So you will not be able to get that job because you would be competing with locals and neighbouring foreigners for the same thing. And MBA and Master in that field are not uncommon here. In fact it is among the most convenient courses to take!

Even if it is not about local-vs-foreigners hiring process, the abysmal pay that is the norm of hospitality/tourism industry will put you off. Korea, Taiwan, China are already relying on cheap labour to do the job (local and neighbouring foreigners) even for managerial level and having a (westerner) foreigner in the management is not a welcomed notion, unless it is an internal transfer initiated USA HQ if it is a chain.

2. You will need Chinese (Mandarin) to survive because of the huge boom in Chinese-speaking tourists in this part of the region. Key: Nouveau-rich mainland Chinese, Indonesian Chinese and ABC-BBC-CBC. Spanish only helps if you work for Hispanic countries. Maybe the Philippines will make use of that (I need Filipino friends to help me on this one).

3. To live comfortably with the familiar comforts you are probably experiencing back in the States (depends if you're from places like Iowa or NYC), living in Singapore is expensive if you want your Mustang, steak and beer. And air-conditioning in your house. The sky is the limit but I know some westerners who are able to enjoy occasional comforts that (almost) match the taste of home with minimum $7000 per month (without car), and that's pretty high for average salaried people.

Based on my experience travelling within the region, your best shots are:

1. Have an employer in USA to do an internal transfer to their Asian branch and make sure their application for you is on the basis that you're a star employee with niche skills whom the Singaporean/Asian branch desperately needs to keep the business going, and that they can't find it among local people in that country. Think The Sands, Hilton, to start with. Get experience.

2. Save some money. Go to places like Laos and connect with people to set up businesses that cater to hospitality/tourism. I personally know one or two who did that. Make your own niche. Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines are over-saturated with Western expats taking a huge slice of that industry already. Red ocean.

3. Have you thought of Maldives, Mauritius? It is a expat-dominated industry there.

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Re: Considering a relocation to Singapore, what should I exp

Postby uscate » Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:30 am

lynx, you are MUCH MUCH MUCH nicer than I will be….Perhaps because this guy is from the US (as am I)….so what I'll say (very nicely) is….DUDE!!! Do you not have a CLUE???? MBA and Master of Hotel Admin….GFL in getting a job in the US, let alone Sing!!! For God's sake - check the archives of this site - you'll have PLENTY of great info as to why you SHOULD NOT anticipate getting a job in Sing (unless you have some wealthy family connection, in which case I say - Oops)….

OK - rant over….OP, please just check the archives - you'll have some great info from people wiser than I, who will give you roughly the same info….

Good luck to you -

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Re: Considering a relocation to Singapore, what should I exp

Postby WCUSA » Fri, 21 Nov 2014 4:10 pm

uscate wrote:lynx, you are MUCH MUCH MUCH nicer than I will be….Perhaps because this guy is from the US (as am I)….so what I'll say (very nicely) is….DUDE!!! Do you not have a CLUE???? MBA and Master of Hotel Admin….GFL in getting a job in the US, let alone Sing!!! For God's sake - check the archives of this site - you'll have PLENTY of great info as to why you SHOULD NOT anticipate getting a job in Sing (unless you have some wealthy family connection, in which case I say - Oops)….

OK - rant over….OP, please just check the archives - you'll have some great info from people wiser than I, who will give you roughly the same info….

Good luck to you -


Wow. You're right your reply wasn't very nice.

Seeing as in how I've come across quite a few people in the hotel industry from Singapore who've stated I should consider it as an option, with high probability for finding a well paying job, yes I do think I have a clue.

Also, thank you for your "GFL" in even getting a job in the US. I actually already have multiple job offers lined up within the US, however I'd like to explore options in Asia.


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