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Any chance to save in Singapore?

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MyCsPiTTa
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Any chance to save in Singapore?

Postby MyCsPiTTa » Thu, 02 Apr 2009 7:12 pm

Hiya,

Sorry if my question sounds a bit naive - I haven't done as much Singapore research as I should as most of my job hunting is spent on Hong Kong at the mo - but:

I'm a biotechnology research associate hoping to find a job in HK or SG. According to the salary surveys I've seen, a job like that would bring in between SG$3000 - SG$5000.

That's enough to satisfy the P2 work visa criteria so I would assume that means it's a reasonably "respectable" job.

But I understand even a small place to live (and me and my wife, with no kids, are prepared to live VERY cheaply) will be at least SG$3000. Not to mention other living costs. I may be wrong on these figures though...

So, is it really true that in Singapore a postgraduate qualified professional is barely likely to even afford rent? I was under the impression SG was a land to make a good wage for yourself...

PS: I am a NZ citizen with an M.Sc. in biology currently in Hong Kong looking for biotech jobs in HK or SG.

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Postby winger7 » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 10:11 am

i can give u some sort of an answer regarding hk cuz ive been looking for jobs in sg too, but for me anyway it seems to be easier saving up in hk, not that ive lived in sg before but it would seem that its just as easy to save up in sg as it is in hk

MyCsPiTTa
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Postby MyCsPiTTa » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 10:45 am

Well, I haven't had any luck with science jobs in HK (yet) but I estimate a low-end science job will bring in about $HK25-30K per month. And that is by NO means a respectable professional wage for a place like HK...

However, I would still only spend 1/3 of that on rent - even in HK, a place ranked in the top 10 for cost of living.

But in SG I would spend 75 to 100% on rent alone? That's worse than science in NZ (which, by the way, is pitifully paid).

I must have my numbers wrong... The reason I think so is that surely SG govt wouldn't count expats on a P2 visa as a good candidate to immigrate when their job is barely going to pay for housing... let alone an Q or an S!

However the few salary surveys and costs of living I have managed to scan so far seem to back it up.

Please someone tell me otherwise! :( The reason for my interest is that I may have to give up on science in HK and look to SG (which is much more "sciencey"). But I want to know it's worth my while. It's funny as I was under the impression science graduates were flocking to SG. I wish I knew some of them to talk to!

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Postby winger7 » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 11:22 am

sorry but im probably not the best guy to talk to when it comes to science but i guess pay and rent i might be able to relate to u in a way. Im pretty sure rent cant be 100% for ur pay in singapore, that just isnt logical. If you're looking at apartment rents of 1500 SGD u could be looking at the pretty solid apartments. You would have to clearly match ur pay to ur rent, not ur rent to ur pay. So look, for cheaper accomodation. Plus chances r apartments will be better value for money in terms of size, HK has some of the smallest living spaces in the world :)

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Postby MyCsPiTTa » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 12:00 pm

Tell me about it! I've been cooped up in my friend's 600Sq ft apartment for two weeks. But it's nice, only 2 yrs old and he pays HK$10K - I could swing that, or live cheaper!

By "solid" apaprtment you mean a good way right?
Ok, so I was under the impression tiny places in SG started about SG$3,000 pm. So my numbers are already wrong. Thanks. I'll look deeper into it ths weekend.

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Postby winger7 » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 12:07 pm

haha dont take my words as facts, im basing it on assumption, ive never lived in singapore but been there a few times, living spaces seem to be decent there and more reasonable for size. I would say an apartment of 600 sq ft in singapore would be cheaper than one in hk.

anyway do u have lots of working experience? cuz im looking to move to singapore too but it doesnt seem realistic to me anymore, why would they want to hire foreigners if they r no different to locals there right

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Postby MyCsPiTTa » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 12:35 pm

I've got 9yrs experience in life science, molecular biology, biotechnology, research etc. I wouldn't say that makes me particularly special, no. But I can only try. Also I'm looking for non-research as well as research roles such as sales, support, technical specialist etc. Not a lot of experience in those but, hehe, basically I'll do anything at the mo.

What field are you looking in in HK? I've got the added disadvantage I'm not even a HK resident - I need an employment visa here too :(

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Postby cavalier » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 6:23 pm

You can definitely find something for less than $3000. I was paying closer to $2000 for a 2 bedroom HDB flat in a popular area. Rents have come down since. If you are willing to live outside the city area, you should be able to do better.

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Postby mpp » Sat, 04 Apr 2009 11:35 pm

@MyCsPiTTa...
well the rental rates in singapore are quiet varying...you can get a 2 bedroom condo for $5000 (in the main city area) or a 3 bedroom condo for $2500 a little far away from the city (with travelling time around 45-mins to 1 hr to to city) also in singapore you have HDB housings where rents are around $2000 .....so it all depends what type of apt you want and how much traveling you are willing to do...grocery and food is cheap here.....but u can't afford a car in singapore as it is very expensive, but public transport is excellent ...well on an average you should get a decent accomdation for $2000 here though a bit far from main Business district area....and other monthly expenses may go to $1500 or less...hope this is useful info for you......

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Postby MyCsPiTTa » Mon, 06 Apr 2009 9:07 am

Thanks, that is very useful. Although it slightly more confirms my earlier worries. A lot of the "science" jobs I'm seeing on e.g. JobsDB are $3500 or less. Hell, I saw an optometrist position paying $1,500! Optometrists must grow on trees over there! But either way, an optometrist obviously mustn't enjoy the sort of lifestyle in SG as they do where I'm from. Unles they enjoy living in a cardboard box under a bridge...

So I have to wonder if what I'm seeing on these jobs sites is some sort of "local discrimination" like there is in HK. i.e. a local gets paid a pitance compared to a foreigner doing the same job. The majority of the jobs say "negotiable". Maybe the ones that state the salary tend to sway towards the lower end of the market.

Regarding the housing; if an example of lower end housing in SG is SG$2,000 for a place 1 hr away from the city, I can't see how SG faired better than HK in the recent "cost-of-living" study of the worlds' top cities. We pay exactly the same for a 2yr old, 2 bdrm apartment in Kowloon, 11 mins from the city - and there are slightly older places for cheaper without having to get into the really cheap places. Sure, it's probably smaller, but that wouldn't cramp my liestyle as much as 2 hrs wasted travelling bewteen work each day.

Hah, sorry - it must just sound like I'm whinging now. I'm just suprised. I must jsut be looking too-low-paying jobs. But so far I haven't seen much in my field that makes me think SG is a better option than NZ for science. And that's funny - SG = world reknowned biotechnology hub of the future; NZ = researchers scrambling for pitiful crumbs of govt funding.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 06 Apr 2009 12:28 pm

MyCsPiTTa wrote:Thanks, that is very useful. Although it slightly more confirms my earlier worries. A lot of the "science" jobs I'm seeing on e.g. JobsDB are $3500 or less. Hell, I saw an optometrist position paying $1,500! Optometrists must grow on trees over there! But either way, an optometrist obviously mustn't enjoy the sort of lifestyle in SG as they do where I'm from. Unles they enjoy living in a cardboard box under a bridge...


One thing you need to beware of it "terminology". Labels here are not what they always appear on first glance. Construction companies place advertisements looking for Engineers. But when you question them further they only are looking for Technicians. They are only paying technician salaries as well. They call them engineers so they can feel better. Optometrists are only now starting to be licensed. A lot of those positions are not really optometrists at all but technicians who are working in the front of an eyeglass shop.

Another thing you must remember if you are trying to come here on a local contract. The normal family in Singapore has the kids living at home until they are 35 or older. Therefore, it's highly possible that there are 3 or even 4 breadwinners in a single household. This means their monthly costs are very low so once you cut out the huge rental component their salary doesn't look too bad. Unfortunately, for the expatriate jobseeker this poses a problem when coming here on a local contract. Your basic costs are elevated due to the rental and economies of bulk that a family of multiple earners enjoys.

The locals also enjoy subsidized medical costs as well probably living in an HDB subsidized flat that you will have to rent for open market values.

You should be able to push for housing allowances at least. Then it wouldn't be too bad. However, I think somehow you are not connecting with the right companies. There is more money if you have the performance track record to back up the education. It's just finding that employer that's the problem.

sms

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Postby touchbyangel512 » Thu, 16 Apr 2009 4:34 pm

Hi guy,

ever tried Biopolis? or gone to http://www.jobstreet.com.sg or jobsdb.com.sg? you might find what you are looking for.

cheers

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Postby MyCsPiTTa » Thu, 16 Apr 2009 4:58 pm

I haven't looked at Biopolis directly, though I am aware of it - I will probably look in person if I ever make it over there.

I do use JobStreet and it is fantastic! I get emailed at least 5 appropriate jobs every day from them. The problem is they often specify the need to be a SG resident.

For now I have decided to concentrate on HK for jobs anyway. I must admit, partly because I'm a bit scared of the heat over there! But maybe later... HK might eb a good training ground...

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 16 Apr 2009 5:05 pm

For the positions that say Citizen or PR only.....

Send in your CV anyway. If you are good, and your cover letter is good they might have a glance at the meat of your CV. If it piques their interest, who knows? They might change their stance rather than let a good one get away. (you'll need a good Cover Letter to get them to even look at the first page of your CV though - it's called creative writing but be sure you can back up anything you write)

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Postby pakjohn » Thu, 16 Apr 2009 6:05 pm

For the positions that say Citizen or PR only.....

Send in your CV anyway.


Very much agree, worked for me on more than one occasion.
Pakjohn


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