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Opportunities for a young forgein graduate

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Opportunities for a young forgein graduate

Postby Daan » Fri, 24 Jan 2014 1:04 pm

Hi all,

I am wondering how big the chances are for a foreigner from Europe to get a job here in Singapore straight after graduation.

My interest lays in Finance (corporate or banking) and when I will graduate I will have a master degree in Business Administration with a Major in Finance (In Belgium people go for masters straight after bachelors, so I don't have work experience related to my degree). I do realise that people from all over the world start applying here in Singapore, therefore I hope my 9 month exchange at Singapore Management University will give me an advantage when they select people for an interview.

Where should I apply? Agencies? Directly at the firm? Probably both...

How strict are those quotas with regards to the ratio of local workers versus foreign?


Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 24 Jan 2014 1:22 pm

To be blunt? Virtually Zero.

Get yourself a couple or three years of solid post grad experience in a niche industry if possible, then start applying from overseas. If no nibbles and you still want to try, an exploratory trip here might be warranted. But without experience, I'm afraid you will be up against local grads with the same degree(s) and the added advantage of the MOM not giving out Employment Passes for position which can easily be filled by locals. Most positions requiring degrees only require a B. and while M. is good, it's no of any benefit unless it's already coupled with working experience, otherwise, it is academic only. The fact that you are getting your Masters here in Singapore might look good to a local employer, but getting it to fly by MOM will be your biggest hurdle.

Financial/Banking industry, there are a few agencies here, but they might tell you the same thing. Some of our financial types here will probably pipe in here and give you some names of agencies.

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Re: Opportunities for a young forgein graduate

Postby Barnsley » Fri, 24 Jan 2014 3:19 pm

Daan wrote:Hi all,

I am wondering how big the chances are for a foreigner from Europe to get a job here in Singapore straight after graduation.

My interest lays in Finance (corporate or banking) and when I will graduate I will have a master degree in Business Administration with a Major in Finance (In Belgium people go for masters straight after bachelors, so I don't have work experience related to my degree). I do realise that people from all over the world start applying here in Singapore, therefore I hope my 9 month exchange at Singapore Management University will give me an advantage when they select people for an interview.

Where should I apply? Agencies? Directly at the firm? Probably both...

How strict are those quotas with regards to the ratio of local workers versus foreign?


Looking forward to hearing from you guys!



If you are in singapore already .... start networking.
Life is short, paddle harder!!

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Postby econstudent » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 8:51 pm

re: 0% chance. Is this necessarily true?

Assuming OP speaks like 3-4 languages being from Belgium. Couldn't a company find him/her instrumental in dealing with foreign clientele for example?

And, this is my question, couldn't a company file with confidence for EP for theoretically having "enthusiasm" or something completely arbitrary? If not, then couldn't they leverage his/her language skills alone as basis for competitive edge over locals?

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Postby AngMoG » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 9:26 pm

econstudent wrote:re: 0% chance. Is this necessarily true?

Assuming OP speaks like 3-4 languages being from Belgium. Couldn't a company find him/her instrumental in dealing with foreign clientele for example?

And, this is my question, couldn't a company file with confidence for EP for theoretically having "enthusiasm" or something completely arbitrary? If not, then couldn't they leverage his/her language skills alone as basis for competitive edge over locals?


Yes, without exp, pretty much 0, since you have the double hurdle of finding a company to hire AND getting MoM to approve the visa. And no, enthusiasm doesn't count, otherwise there would be a lot more visas given out ;)

So which languages to you speak? Chinese, Japanese, Korean? Maybe Indonesian/Malay? Even if you speak those, there are plenty of locals that do as well. Almost all white expats here speak English (except maybe for a few Frenchies :P ) The company would have to have a job opening requiring European languages (which I assume you are talking about) for a good reason.

tl;dr: forget it.

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 9:54 pm

econstudent wrote:theoretically having "enthusiasm"



Lol! :o

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 10:30 pm

JR8 wrote:
econstudent wrote:theoretically having "enthusiasm"



Lol! :o



I think the word he's really looking for is "chutzpah" ;-)

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Postby econstudent » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 10:51 pm

So if a company requires some European exposure, then from what AngMog is saying, you can get hired and sponsored given that you facilitate that for the employer.

I think the question you should be asking is, if you get hired, will you get approved by MOM given no experience? Everyone here seems have their ideas of the labor market and what all companies want. But, I would try to see some "rejected" case studies from MOM first.

Anyway, I think you could easily network in through study abroad. Definitely go for it. BTW., the reason people tell you to network is precisely because "enthusiasm" can be a competitive advantage. I am sure you could even translate "nepotism" into MOM's lingo and get a visa based on that.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 11:16 pm

As an HR Manager here of a SME (200 man company) with roughly 40% foreign staff, I have around 14 years experience in dealing with MOM from an employer's P.O.V. so I speak with a fair bit of gravitas. What you have been told here is pretty much the gospel. While we do get the occasional surprise, it is fairly rare. So far, what you have told us, along with 80 cents will get you a cup of kopi and the local kopitiam, and not much else. Having European language skills here is not experience, sad to say. MOM requires around 2 years of experience minimum. They only hire new grads in areas where they cannot get locals because the technology is too new to have been taught in a local university. From what I've heard so far is nothing that would make MOM life an eyebrow. Sure you will get offers and you will get the occasional interview but at the end of the day, it's doubtful you will get an approval for something that a local can do.

If you have all those smarts, why haven't you be able to digest the virtually constant news since May 2011 regarding the tightening up of criteria here? Your degrees are nothing special, sad to say. Financial degrees are numerous here as are Masters Degrees. Unless you are fluent in both English AND Mandarin, I don't see you getting a leg up as most Europeans in the financial industries, even in your own country, speak English as a second language as well a French. Plenty of locals with those same qualifications.

Having said all of that, I'd say go for it. Learning a little humility might be a sobering experience for you. Who knows, you might even get lucky (but don't hold your breath - it could be hazardous to your health).

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Postby econstudent » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 11:29 pm

"They only hire new grads in areas where they cannot get locals because the technology is too new to have been taught in a local university. "


What technology can they teach in Belgium or, in my case, the US to undergrads that they cannot each in the most tech advanced city-state in the world?

What is the average starting salary of the employees you have been recruiting?

What tier universities did these graduates matriculate?

With all due respect, you seem to have a category or type of staff in mind, but you do not reveal the factors that MOM portrays to be important i.e., salary, occupation, university tier and exposure.

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 11:39 pm

econstudent wrote:What technology can they teach in Belgium or, in my case, the US to undergrads that they cannot teach in the most tech advanced city-state in the world?


Well quite: Little, which is why you're unlikely to get a job here.

In the SGn job-hunting stakes, it's not simply what you've been taught, it is what you have experienced that really counts.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 11:56 pm

Frankly speaking, your masters degree without relevant experience, is worthless as it is only an academic level that says that you are good at academics. It doesn't say anything at all about whether you can actually perform in the field. That is why, there are no EP levels that require a Masters as a criteria for consideration. The Bachelors degree is the only qualifying degree needed by MOM for consideration for an employment pass. AND relevant experience. You pass the first hurdle but not the second. Your employer would, more than likely pass one of the two hurdles that is presented to them as well, but fail the second.

First of all the potential employee needs to meet two individual criteria to be considered for an employment pass. a) minimum academic qualifications; and b) relevant experience for the position being offered (this usually means 2 to 5 years). For MOM the Masters is superfluous as the academic criteria is already been met (no additional points for additional degrees). But you must have experience in the field to meet the second. If you don't meet both, no go.

Secondly, the employer must able to a) demonstrate the necessity of requiring a foreign employee without any experience at all over a local graduate with the same qualifications for what is actually a pretty common position; and b) dependent on the unspoken quotas (if any) by MOM or Published quotas (in the case of an S pass). The employer may require a Masters degree in addition to the initial degree but that's their requirement and makes no difference to how MOM looks at the application.

I was going to address the technology question but I just glanced down before hitting Submit and noted that JR8 has already pegged it solid.

Edited to add. *to be considered does not mean you will be given an employment pass. It only means that your application will be accepted for consideration but is still subject to their unwritten point allocation spread for which nobody outside of MOM knows. This is subject to change as quickly as the wind changes directions, which is why we can only give pretty good guesses but are still caught off guard occasionally as the parameters shift a couple of degrees .

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Postby AngMoG » Tue, 28 Jan 2014 12:05 am

Look econstudent... nobody says you cannot try. By all means, go ahead. I would not say it is absolutely impossible if you set your mind to it, but it would certainly be difficult. I think your best chance is direct networking, and it would increase your chances if you were actually here. Agencies are a waste of time, since they won't deal with non-PR/SC who do not have serious experience. I certainly wish you the best of luck.

We are just telling you what we think your chances are; personally, I don't like to give false hopes. Nothing what you mentioned so far are any special skills that would put you above the average finance graduate who already is SG citizen or PR. European language skills are mostly worthless here. Finance grads are probably a dime a dozen. MBAs are not that difficult to get either. Banks are actually moving jobs out of SG. And companies here are in general unlikely to hire people who are not here. Add to that that MoM is reluctant to give out visas to people taking jobs that a local could do (which this one would most likely be).

When I came to Singapore, what you are trying to do was relatively easy, and there were no visa issues. I actually came to SG after my MSc, though I worked during my studies and thus had at least some work experience to show. In the years that I have lived here, this has gradually changed, and it has become very tough for fresh grads to both find a job and get a visa now. Even experienced employees now see their EPs not renewed, having worked here for 5+ years and with a degree, never mind getting a new EP.

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Postby econstudent » Tue, 28 Jan 2014 2:17 am

First of all the potential employee needs to meet two individual criteria to be considered for an employment pass. a) minimum academic qualifications; and b) relevant experience for the position being offered (this usually means 2 to 5 years).


You mean either right? Because entry-level positions require 0 years of experience, meaning we have to skip to part 2a below.

Secondly, the employer must able to a) demonstrate the necessity of requiring a foreign employee without any experience at all over a local graduate with the same qualifications for what is actually a pretty common position; and b) dependent on the unspoken quotas (if any) by MOM or Published quotas (in the case of an S pass).


So then, it is possible that OP leverages his Flemish skills to gain a position that demands it. :D Now based on this and some market research, you can actually go and calculate your chances Daan. Lol.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 28 Jan 2014 6:57 am

Jaysus! Your English comprehension is bad as well. I did NOT write either for a reason. I wrote AND as you need BOTH. MOM doesn't give a hoot whether it's an entry level position. The MOM's position would be that if it's an entry level position, there is even LESS reason to give the position to a foreigner without experience. As noted, most people in international relations, regardless of the country, will speak either English, Mandarin or French as a bridging language. Plenty of locals with the ability to converse in all three, fluently, can you?


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