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Moving to Singapore - please advise?

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nida
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Moving to Singapore - please advise?

Postby nida » Mon, 11 May 2009 1:59 am

Hi all,

My fiance and I are considering moving to Singapore this year. We both have good degrees and are currently working in London. I am a Marketing Executive and have 1.5 years of experience, and my finace is a Data Analyst and has 5 years of experience.

We have done a lot of research and are now looking for some local advice about the current job situation in Singapore. We have been applying for positions while still in London, but feel we have to move to Singapore first, as we haven't received any replies from job applications.

All the marketing jobs I have applied for were for PR's or Singaporeans only and that is my main concern, as I don't have that much experience yet. Is this true that companies are giving preference for locals and that there is little chance of foreigners getting a job there? We have read that the worst of the recesion has passed and things are starting to level off. Is this correct?

Any general advice or thoughts would be appreciated as we really want to move to Singapore as soon as possible.

Thanks a lot!

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Postby LoriW » Mon, 11 May 2009 3:25 am

From my own experience, I would find a job first! My own jobsearch in Singapore has been ongoing for about 2 years - or at least I was first considered for the position I was offered 2 years ago and it was only after lengthy wrangling with the HR department of the institute I'm going to be working at that the department I'm going to be working for managed to justify bringing in someone from abroad.

I'd say that 10 to 15 years ago, Singapore was an absolute "cash cow" for expat workers but I think that companies now are looking to fill positions with local workers. Expats bringing in specialised knowledge once justified will earn more than a local even if they are on local terms.

It is also a very expensive country to live in if you want to maintain the same lifestyle, but if you live as a Singaporean, I'd say there is a great deal of money to be made.

I move in July and will be giving up a 4 bed detached house with a large garden, a performance car, living in a rural location for 3 years.

For me, I'll be going with my eyes open since I know the country very well already. However, you're both young so it may well be worth taking the time off to go out there to look for a job.

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Postby Plavt » Mon, 11 May 2009 5:00 am

LoriW wrote: However, you're both young so it may well be worth taking the time off to go out there to look for a job.


Excuse me for butting in since I don't and never have lived in Singapore. However, from what I have read elsewhere on this board that is ill-advised. There seems to be a certain knack to obtaining employment in Singapore along with a potential employer having to justify the hiring of a foreigner over a local. I am not sure but local data analyst who maybe in abundant supply, no doubt Sundaymorningstaple, Strong Eagle or Saint can advise you better.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 11 May 2009 8:29 am

Frankly speaking, Marketing Executives are a dime a dozen. Data Analysts? Well, I can't speak with any authority there but I can tell you this....

Unless you are bringing something to the table that isn't available here locally, you will be hard pressed to land anything suitable. While you are hopeful that the recession, apparently your partner's analysis of the data leaves something to be desired. The recession isn't over, and in Asia it's still deepening. Additionally, Singapore's unemployment has gone UP even higher in the last quarter. As far as hiring locals over expats? Most countries have policies in place to ensure that their citizens are taken care of first.

So, unless you or your spouse are in a niche field with rare qualifications, you might want to save your money and invest it in a bank. You chances are better there. :wink:

sms

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 11 May 2009 9:26 am

You'll forgive me for chiming in somewhat off topic but the OP's comments that she is a 'marketing executive' with '1.5 years experience' shows how badly our language has been mashed to make things seem as they are not. How can anybody in any role be an 'executive' with 1.5 years of experience? It is a rare person.

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Re: Moving to Singapore - please advise?

Postby taxico » Mon, 11 May 2009 12:07 pm

nida wrote:My fiance and I are considering moving to Singapore this year.

Any general advice or thoughts would be appreciated as we really want to move to Singapore as soon as possible.


you didn't actually say what your motivations were...

do you just want a change in lifestyle? or are you looking for more money? or... what?

if you're willing to take a big pay cut, spend money and do something wacky just for the sake of a foreign experience - i think you'll find a job (read: ANY job).

but if you're here for money, and want to stick to what you're doing (for whatever reasons), you may want to reconsider given the current economic climate.

in the latter case, i don't think you should fly over here and expect hopes/wishes enough to tide you through what could be a miserable time job hunting, because... well, read sunday's post.

(find a job from abroad. it does work for most people.)

if it's the former, then i say "yeah!" why the heck not. fly on over and just do it. you only live once and you should make the best of it.

with sheer luck, anything's possible.

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Postby Saint » Mon, 11 May 2009 12:42 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Frankly speaking, Marketing Executives are a dime a dozen. Data Analysts? Well, I can't speak with any authority there but I can tell you this....

Unless you are bringing something to the table that isn't available here locally, you will be hard pressed to land anything suitable. While you are hopeful that the recession, apparently your partner's analysis of the data leaves something to be desired. The recession isn't over, and in Asia it's still deepening. Additionally, Singapore's unemployment has gone UP even higher in the last quarter. As far as hiring locals over expats? Most countries have policies in place to ensure that their citizens are taken care of first.

So, unless you or your spouse are in a niche field with rare qualifications, you might want to save your money and invest it in a bank. You chances are better there. :wink:

sms


Have to agree with SMS, I'm a Data Analyst/BA but with many years experience in a rather niche environment. The majority of Data Analyst jobs you see advertised here aren't what I would call proper DA jobs but more like monthly reporting clerks to be honest. Singapore companies love to give grand important sounding titles to positions as it makes the locals feel oh so more important.

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Postby OogieBoogie » Mon, 11 May 2009 1:18 pm

try to send you resume with an address in Singapore, and see if you can get answers. It would be very risky to leave a job to move in another country if your CV doesn't appeal anybody...

If you really to work here, then first of all come to spend a month in Singapore, and get interviews before trying anything foolish like resigning your current job and leaving your apartment.

Besides why moving now? And why Singapore?

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Postby LoriW » Mon, 11 May 2009 4:17 pm

If you have savings, then it could well be a lot of fun to fly out to Singapore and stay there for the 3 months you're allowed to just to see if you can get a job and how you get on with the country etc.

One other point, with the job I'm going to, I'm bringing 20 years of experience in the fine chemicals/pharma industry plus knowlegde of setting up a lab from nothing as well as knowledge of industry documentation standards as well as contacts within the industry. That's pretty specialised and niche market. Yet it took a good 6 months after the position was approved to actually employ me. The institution had to go through publicly advertising the job to prove that a local couldn't do it.

There's also a weird clause in my contract which I've never come across before which roughly states that there is a +/- sum in my monthly gross salary which may be deducted if the economy falls!

So definitely, as everyone else is saying unless you know you can bring something that no one else in the country has, don't just chuck it all in and move!

My partner will most likely be staying in the UK for the 3 years I'm in Singapore simply because he has 28 days annual leave, a very good final salary pension scheme, a reasonably well paid job - all of which are at our time of life a bit too much to give up on a whim.

However, he has written to various companies to see if there is anything out there - but it would only make sense for him to move if her were offered some amazing full bells and whistles expat contract - not a local terms contract like mine.

Yes, I will be earning significantly more than I am here in the UK, but at the end of the day, I'm going to Singapore to earn money to build up some savings - not spend it all as I earn it!

The cost of living - if you want to maintain a "London" lifestyle is probably more expensive - if you're talking about a decent sized flat, cars, nights down the pub, western food.

If you live as a Singaporean - HDB flat, no car, eat out at hawker centres, no european designer/high street clothes then you can live comfortably!

I'm a little embarrassed to be earning much what my cousin and his wife's combined salary is - he works in purchasing and has a BA from Australia and a Singaporean MBA, she's not well qualified but works as a lab technician. They manage to bring up 3 littles, run a MPV (Kia), have a live in maid and live in a 3 bedroom HDB flat/maisonette.

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Postby nida » Tue, 12 May 2009 3:46 am

Thank you all for the replies!

First of all, we are looking to move to Singapore for the life experience. Just to live in a different culture, do some travelling and just get the best out of it. We would however like to work in similar roles as our current jobs, even though we would be earning less. We basically want to do this while we are still young and don't have too many commitments and Singapore looks a great place for this.

By the way, Marketing Executive in UK is almost the same as Marketing Assistant. Don't ask me why :)

Any other advice would be great as we have taken a lot from your comments!

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Postby LoriW » Tue, 12 May 2009 6:26 am

Nida, It may well be wise to save up say 3 month's salary and spend 3 months out in Singapore both travelling and job hunting in that case!

I so wish I'd had the courage to do what I'm doing now at 45 when I was 25!!

Singapore is a fab place to use as a base for travelling South East Asia and Australia. Certainly over the past few years, my partner and I have stayed in Singapore for a 2 week holiday, spent a week visiting relatives then gone off to Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia etc.

In a way I think that if you're looking to get a job out there to finance a bit of fun then fab!! You might want to be prepared to take on something else other than your main professions - bar work etc though. Singapore is a country which asks for its pound of flesh in return for a salary though so if you are doing a "proper" job, you may well not have the chance to do much other than work!!

One of my cousins worked in marketing for a major chemical company for close to 20 years, then essentially "burnt out". One comment she made was that even if you're sitting on the loo and your Blackberry goes off you HAVE to answer it!

She and her husband who worked for a major investment bank both jumped off the high flying singaporean career ladder to "down shift" and choose alternative careers about 3 or 4 years ago. A very wise move in light of the economic climate today. She now runs a colour therapy/ reiki type business from home and her husband does "something with money", also self employed with less stress!

I think that with the economic climate and redundancies/re-trenchment going on over there, those already in employment are having to work hard to keep their jobs!

My new position is in research so I expect to be working 10 to 12 hour days - but at least I'll be paid well for it unlike now in the UK!!

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Postby Asian_Geekette » Wed, 13 May 2009 5:11 pm

OogieBoogie wrote:If you really to work here, then first of all come to spend a month in Singapore, and get interviews before trying anything foolish like resigning your current job and leaving your apartment.


nida,

If you do decide to come to Singapore and find a job, better try applying for the EPEC (Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate) first. If you get it, you have one year in Singapore to look for a job. For more information, check the link: http://epec.mom.gov.sg/epec/index.do
My business is not to remake myself, but make the absolute best out of what God made. -Robert Browning

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Postby Zeenit » Wed, 13 May 2009 8:34 pm

But If I am correct without a work permit you cant rent an apartment. So Service Apratments and Hotels are very expensive so please do your homework before arriving without a job.

SMS can advice on this point.
Zeenit


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