Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

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OldschoolNewcomer
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Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

Post by OldschoolNewcomer » Sun, 18 Nov 2018 9:04 am

Hi all!

I am a European currently in my last year of university and am looking to start a graduate job in Singapore as soon as I have graduated.
What would be the best option for someone like me to approach the job market in the country.
To approach here companies that have Singaporean branches and submit my interest for an expat pack in the "Lion City" or apply directly to offers in Singapore?

What should I negotiate for (or aim for) in a contract?
How much would I, as a single young person, need to decently live in Singapore?

Any reply will be helpful!

Thank you!

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Re: Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 18 Nov 2018 11:01 am

Forget it. You are not going to get a work pass to work here without at least two years of experience. Even then, you will probably be undercut by Local or Regional Engineers with similar abilities AND the ability to speak at least one of the local languages in addition to drive since the 2015 General Election and you have to be vetted by the Ministry of Manpower. You can go to their website for more information: http://www.mom.gov.sg
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Re: Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

Post by OldschoolNewcomer » Sun, 18 Nov 2018 11:32 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Forget it. You are not going to get a work pass to work here without at least two years of experience. Even then, you will probably be undercut by Local or Regional Engineers with similar abilities AND the ability to speak at least one of the local languages in addition to drive since the 2015 General Election and you have to be vetted by the Ministry of Manpower. You can go to their website for more information: http://www.mom.gov.sg
Thanks for your reply!

I used the assemssment tool on MoM website and found out I can get an S-Pass, even after specifying I have no work experience. About the difficulty of landing a job I understand, very very difficult exactly for the reasons you mentioned.

Now, let's pretend I could make it. Any suggestions on how to approach it, apply straight to jobs in Singapore or instead approach a company here and submit interest for a role in Singapore (maybe get expat pack)?

Thank you again!

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Re: Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

Post by Strong Eagle » Sun, 18 Nov 2018 12:08 pm

OldschoolNewcomer wrote:Now, let's pretend I could make it.
And while we're at it, let's pretend that I can flap my arms and fly to the moon... because it's an equally likely outcome.

Here are a few points to consider as you ponder your actual chances of landing employment in Singapore.
  1. With the exception of menial jobs and a subset of jobs filled from India and elsewhere in Asia, virtually every EP issued is for an employee being transferred into the Singapore branch of an MNC. Drop over to the 20's and 30's making friends boards and sniff around. These folks were transferred in. So long as the MNC they are working for has a goodly number of locals working for it, granting of these EP's is almost a sure thing. You're not going to find a single one who found a job in Singapore independently.
  2. Sure, these MNC's also hire people already in Singapore, that is, EP's that were brought into Singapore by their company and have now moved on. Dell brings in a system architect who works for a couple of years and then moves onto HP. Or, a Barclays analyst joins HSBC. Within any given domain, it's a small world in Singapore... everyone knows everyone. I can call my friends at Dell to find out why you're leaving and if you are a liability. Whom do I call to find out about you?
  3. You have no track record. You have no network. Why am I going to fool with someone who is not in the country, has no work experience here, is going to cost me money to interview, and even more money to bring over, when I can hire expats who are already here in the country and whom I can readily vet?
  4. And, why am I going to fool with you, someone with zero work experience and who is already expecting an "expat pack" to live in a first world country with fabulous infrastructure, great food, beautiful women, and holiday opportunities beyond measure? This isn't quite like working in Bangladesh or Nairobi or Lagos.
  5. And finally, with Singapore's focus on hiring citizens first, why am I going to piss off the government by asking to hire trainees from abroad when the government wants me to hire local graduates? Why am I not going to be a good corporate citizen and hire locals into my business. It's just good business.

No, if you want to work in Singapore, your best bet is going to be to work for a company that will eventually transfer you here. That's the facts.

If you haven't already done so, take a look at the careers web pages of MNC's with branches in Singapore. See what you qualify for. See what kind of response you get. SMS gave you the straight poop.

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Re: Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

Post by OldschoolNewcomer » Sun, 18 Nov 2018 9:30 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:
OldschoolNewcomer wrote:Now, let's pretend I could make it.
And while we're at it, let's pretend that I can flap my arms and fly to the moon... because it's an equally likely outcome.

Here are a few points to consider as you ponder your actual chances of landing employment in Singapore.
  1. With the exception of menial jobs and a subset of jobs filled from India and elsewhere in Asia, virtually every EP issued is for an employee being transferred into the Singapore branch of an MNC. Drop over to the 20's and 30's making friends boards and sniff around. These folks were transferred in. So long as the MNC they are working for has a goodly number of locals working for it, granting of these EP's is almost a sure thing. You're not going to find a single one who found a job in Singapore independently.
  2. Sure, these MNC's also hire people already in Singapore, that is, EP's that were brought into Singapore by their company and have now moved on. Dell brings in a system architect who works for a couple of years and then moves onto HP. Or, a Barclays analyst joins HSBC. Within any given domain, it's a small world in Singapore... everyone knows everyone. I can call my friends at Dell to find out why you're leaving and if you are a liability. Whom do I call to find out about you?
  3. You have no track record. You have no network. Why am I going to fool with someone who is not in the country, has no work experience here, is going to cost me money to interview, and even more money to bring over, when I can hire expats who are already here in the country and whom I can readily vet?
  4. And, why am I going to fool with you, someone with zero work experience and who is already expecting an "expat pack" to live in a first world country with fabulous infrastructure, great food, beautiful women, and holiday opportunities beyond measure? This isn't quite like working in Bangladesh or Nairobi or Lagos.
  5. And finally, with Singapore's focus on hiring citizens first, why am I going to piss off the government by asking to hire trainees from abroad when the government wants me to hire local graduates? Why am I not going to be a good corporate citizen and hire locals into my business. It's just good business.

No, if you want to work in Singapore, your best bet is going to be to work for a company that will eventually transfer you here. That's the facts.

If you haven't already done so, take a look at the careers web pages of MNC's with branches in Singapore. See what you qualify for. See what kind of response you get. SMS gave you the straight poop.
Hi!

Lots of interesting information to keep in mind, the reply is a bit of a "piss off you'll never make it", but the truth must be said so I thank you for writing it.

I understand how close to impossible it would be for me to individually apply for a job in Singapore, where there are lots of highly skilled fresh graduates and also that a company here would most likely keep me in Europe for one or two years before moving me to Singapore.

I am also having a look at graduate schemes here and many of them have an international outlook sending applicants all over the world, including Singapore. Grads schemes are retributed but how much would one need to make to live decently in Singapore? Considering these schemes are not expat packages and thus no benefits are included?

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Re: Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 19 Nov 2018 6:00 am

$2600 to $5K depending on if you are from India/Myanmar/Malaysia or a European country. Depends on whether you could share a bedroom or rent an entire bedroom or you would only be comfortable in a private apartment. As a westerner, it's possible you could rent a room in somebody's home assuming you are single. But your style may severely be cramped. As long as you took public transport, you could probably make do with $3500, but it wouldn't leave much for savings or for visiting regional destinations. Of course, this would also depend on whether you smoke and/or drink, a carnivorous or vegan, etc., etc., and didn't require a car but could make do with buses and the trains (MRT).
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Re: Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

Post by Strong Eagle » Tue, 20 Nov 2018 1:06 am

OldschoolNewcomer wrote:...the reply is a bit of a "piss off you'll never make it"...
Your projections are welcome here. I really hope you do make it... I also believe that operating with a firm understanding of reality is essential to making it.

You've got three basic categories of firms that make application for work passes of all types. The first is local firms (and occasionally MNC's) that are seeking semi-skilled to skilled labor. Singaporeans don't want to do this kind of work, and they don't want to work for the wages offered. This is also an area of abuse... and a reason why the jobs board exists... local firms hoping to hire cheap imported talent instead of hiring a Singaporean... it has become much harder for them to do. This isn't going to be for you.

The second area are technical companies that body shop out people as contractors, mostly direct contract, but sometimes also part of a managed services package. Get skilled but cheap people from the sub-continent and rent them out. These people were being contracted into the MNC's, thereby saving permanent payroll costs, and giving great flexibility to the MNC's in the ability to hire and fire.

This segment was on fire for a while, until the government realized that it was short circuiting career paths for recent graduates. Instead of hiring, training, and promoting locals in long term roles, MNC's turned to body shops for cheap solutions. Only now, it seems that the government is much more carefully scrutinizing these applications... lots of posts on these boards from people who have waiting 3 months, 6 months or more for an EP that never comes. This isn't you, either... the body shops wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole.

That leaves segment 3... the MNC's. Walk into any MNC office and you'll see that it's populated with local people... and only handfuls of expats, relatively speaking. You may find specialists. You may find people on a career track being rotated in for a few years as they go up the corporate ladder. You may find senior managers who have the expertise to direct and grow major aspects of the company, for example, finance or logistics or IT.

It is these companies that have come under substantial pressure to stop hiring contractors from body shops. At the same time, it is these companies that hire lots of locals into professional jobs so the pressure has its limits. The MNC's must be allowed their freedom while the government promotes its "hire local" campaign.

And this makes you a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. You're not needed. In fact, you're a hindrance... hiring you as a graduate trainee makes one less position available for a local. You're going to be expensive to hire. You're going to expect to have your moving costs paid. It just doesn't happen.

SMS quoted you some numbers. Be aware that many of the non-white people on work passes in Singapore live in dormatories, or share many people to a room/house. They eat the cheapest food. They don't drink. They often come from a background in poverty and the conditions here are better than where they left.

Compare this to professional jobs, where even the government has decided that $6,000 per month is the low end of "reasonable" salaries. You can get buy on $6k... no car but a decent place and the ability to have a few beers. Above this, you can begin to live the life you are accustomed to.

By all means, follow your dreams... just make sure they are realistic or you'll be spinning your wheels.

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Re: Foreign Graduate finding job in Singapore

Post by OldschoolNewcomer » Tue, 20 Nov 2018 9:16 am

Strong Eagle wrote: By all means, follow your dreams... just make sure they are realistic or you'll be spinning your wheels.
I thank both of you for taking the time to reply to my questions.

I will keep on gathering information and scouting opprtunities to keep on working towards my goal, to be able to work in Singapore.

Some are surprised I would even want to try to go through all this struggle to probably just find myself unemployed by the time I graduate when It would be way easier for me to secure a nice job anywhere here in Europe. So let me end this discussion citing one of my favourite quotes by Groucho Marx: "I refuse to join a club that would have me as a memeber".

Thank you guys again!

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