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Biotech/Biosciences Hiring Climate

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Is Singapore a good place to work (biosciences) for a first-time "living abroad" experience? (please explain in reply!)

Yes
1
33%
No
1
33%
Depends
1
33%
 
Total votes: 3

humanature
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Biotech/Biosciences Hiring Climate

Postby humanature » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 6:35 am

Hi all,

I'm interested in working in Singapore as an opportunity to live abroad and experience life outside of the United States. I have a B.S. in Biochemistry and will soon have a Masters from two different "Top 10" universities in my country. I have coauthored 3 peer-reviewed publications and have four years of research and internship experience (simultaneous with my coursework if that counts). However, I have never lived abroad and English is my only language (although I have very minimal knowledge of Japanese and Spanish). I am also a female of East Asian decent - I hear this matters to some degree.


And now, my questions:

1. To all the expats out there, is Singapore a good place for this experience? And is this the way I should do it? Any alternative recommendations? Internships or more short-term positions I can look into?

2. What is the hiring climate like for people with my qualifications? I'm wondering if most of the positions I'm qualified for will be filled by local people, or if there are enough places looking for foreigners with different experiences...

3. I see a lot of more academic-style positions listed, especially in Biopolis and other government-associated organizations (logically). However I was wondering what the start-up biotech industry is like over there. Does anyone work in big Pharma? And do they also prefer to hire locally?

4. Does anyone have any tips on how to go about my job search? A rough timeline? A good strategy? I read elsewhere on this site that it's important to call rather than simply sending emails... Has anyone actually had experience where posting their resume on a job site or replying to a listing has lead to employment?

5. Any scams or bad situations I should be wary of?

6. Major cultural differences between California and Singapore that can be easily avoided?

7. For the CV: How are non-religious people regarded? Although Singapore seems like a fairly diverse place, I understand there is a lot of profiling that occurs. Any good primers on this subject? If I am to include a photo, how should I present myself? Glasses, make-up, clothing, jewelry, hairstyles - are there any examples of good CV photos?

8. How easy is it to travel to other Asian countries from Singapore?


Thank you! I'm looking to your greater experience and knowledge in these areas to help me out!

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Postby JayCee » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 10:46 am

Those 4 years of research and internship experience you refer to, that's basically the work you did as part of your degree am I right? Hence you would be looking for graduate entry type positions due to not having any relevant work experience?

If that's the case, I wouldn't get your hopes up, you may find a company willing to employ you but getting the EP will be the tough part

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 12:12 pm


humanature
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Postby humanature » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 12:18 pm

They were not required for my B.S. degree, but I completed them at the same time as my coursework. The internships were full-time summer internships (also extracurricular).

But to answer your question: yes, I would be looking for more entry-level or technician positions since I have not had full-time job experience yet.

Hmm... so do you think my chances would be any different being sponsored by a company versus an academic institution? I found this online self-assessment tool to gauge the likelihood of qualifying for an E Pass or S Pass: http://sat.mom.gov.sg - it seems like your nationality and the university from which you obtained your degree count for a lot as well? Or are these simply prerequisites for consideration? The tool gauged me as likely to qualify for both an E Pass and S Pass.

http://www.mom.gov.sg/foreign-manpower/passes-visas/employment-pass/before-you-apply/Pages/Institutions.aspx

To be considered for an Employment Pass, a foreigner must have a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,500, and possess acceptable degrees, professional qualifications or specialist skills. MOM evaluates each application and qualification on its own merit, based on a wide range of criteria including:

- Global and country institution rankings by independent accreditation boards
- Hiring history by top companies in Singapore
- Validation by HR consultants in listed countries
- Employment outcome of the institution's graduates
- The institution's enrollment standards.

Although from reading through the MOM website it appears that university prestige may only matter for E Passes, whereas experience may be more important for S Passes.

humanature
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Postby humanature » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 12:28 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore


Thanks.

I was also hoping someone could provide some information that I can't find on wikipedia... mainly personal experience with what the current (as in right now, not 2009) biotech/biosciences research climate is like and whether there might be a place for me in it. I know there has been a lot of investment in biotech recently, especially with the building of Biopolis, but now that it's been up and running several years I was wondering how things were looking...

Also I was hoping that anyone else who has gone through this process might share their story. :)

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 12:39 pm

That was just to keep you occupied until somebody could contribute more relevant data..... :wink:

humanature
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Postby humanature » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 1:12 pm

Aha 8-) Then consider me sufficiently occupied as I await further replies.

Ratpick_2000
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Postby Ratpick_2000 » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 1:45 pm

Call the top Biotech companies with a presence in Singapore:

Actelion
Biogen
Celgene
Genentech
Genzyme
UCB

A couple of the big players dont have operations in the region such as:

Amgen
Gilead
Cephalon
Celgene

I wouldnt raise your hopes to high - I dont hear of many fresh grads being afforded the opportunity to base themselves in a foreign country without regional experience and/or a knowledge of the local markets.

Your best bet would be to get in with a Biotech in California and build up your profile quickly enough to warrant a move out here.

Good luck!

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Postby JayCee » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 2:11 pm

Ratpick_2000 wrote:Your best bet would be to get in with a Biotech in California and build up your profile quickly enough to warrant a move out here.


This is perfect advice and is pretty much the default answer for all new foreign graduates who want to work abroad but have no experience

humanature
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Postby humanature » Tue, 11 Jan 2011 10:21 pm

Hmm I see. I will try calling around and see what I get, but thanks for the heads up. It sucks to hear the prospects might be so low since I already graduated a couple years ago and it would likely take me a long time to get established here and then move over... (when I eventually want to settle in California).

What about year-long internship programs or work abroad programs that operate in Singapore? Do you guys know any that are legit & that I might be eligible for?

Thanks so much for your advice!

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Postby Barnsley » Wed, 12 Jan 2011 5:13 pm

humanature wrote:Hmm I see. I will try calling around and see what I get, but thanks for the heads up. It sucks to hear the prospects might be so low since I already graduated a couple years ago and it would likely take me a long time to get established here and then move over... (when I eventually want to settle in California).

What about year-long internship programs or work abroad programs that operate in Singapore? Do you guys know any that are legit & that I might be eligible for?

Thanks so much for your advice!


Not my industry but I know a guy who came straight from University in the US and works in Biotech and that was about 18 months ago. I think the Govt has tightened up all round since then though.
Life is short, paddle harder!!


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