Finding a job in Singapore

Even in a period of international economic difficulties, Singapore remains a very attractive place. More than 4000 MNC's have established their regional Headquarters in Singapore. The Health and life sciences sector, IT and telecommunications, to quote a few, are still busy recruiting. In the banking sector, the outlook is paradoxically relatively positive due to the relocation in Singapore of finnacial firms and talents from the US and Great Britain.


Job hunting in Singapore


There are no particular format for the CV in Singapore. The American influence is though perceptible. A clue is to culturally adapt the CV content depending on the targeted company's origin and culture. It is essential to take care of the presentation (simplicity and lisibility), to concentrate on achievements rather than merely describing “held positions”, and, above all, to be cristal clear about your professional projects and the job you are looking for.

Compensation & benefits

Tips for negotiating the compensation & benefits package. As housing prices have been sky rocketing recently, housing allowance is an essential aspect to take into account while negociating an expatriation package. Company car is also an important point. Although public transports are very good and taxis are cheap, having one’s own car remains a must to go here and there in Singapore. In contradiction on what can be read in various guides, cars are not seldom in Singapore. The overall automotive park is only watch with much attention.


It is useful to know that employers are not obliged to offer any kind of severance plan to their employees. Severance package is therefore to be negotiated in the work contract. The work contract is allthemore important that labour laws in Singapore only applies to employees earning less than 1600 S$. In case of dispute, the work contract is the only document to be referred to.

More information on job market trends in Singapore :


Visa and work pass

Non resident Foreigners who want to work in Singapore must obtain a work permit or a work pass .

Employment pass.

It is attributed to expatriates being assigned to Singapore by their company. Mais The Employment pass presents one major drawback: it only lasts as long as the work relation. In case of termination, EP Holders and their family must leave the country within 15 days.

There are 3 categories of Employment pass depending on the applicants'level of compensation:

  • P1 Pass : for candidates with a gross montly salary of more than 7000 SGD;
  • P2 Pass : for candidates with a gross montly salary between 3500 and 7000 SGD;
  • P3 Pass : for candidates with a gross montly salary between 2500 and 3500 SGD.

Dependent pass.

The Dependent pass (DP) is attributed to spouses of EP holders. This visa authorize spouses to work provided that their employer has filed a "letter of consent"to the  Ministry of Manpower. With such a visa, it is also possible a company, at least within the "sole proprietorship"status, which provides the new entrepreneur with the pleasure of filing his own "letter of consent".

The validity of the letter of consent ceases in the following situations:

  • When the dependant pass is cancelled
  • When the EP holder is no longer employed by the company that had sponsored him.

In case of job termination, EP holders must cancel their EP within 7 days after the end of their work contract. They can at this stage remain in Singapore within the framework of a long visit visa, which nevertheless won't be able to last more than 30 days.

S Pass

S Pass are attibuted to foreign workers whose monthly compensation exceeds a minimum of 1800 SGD. Applications are approved based on a multiple criteria points system: salary, academic background, qualification, skills, job type and professional experience.
Companies are limited in the number of S Pass holders they can employ. The proportion of S Pass holders, as compared to the whole company's headcount, should not exceed 25%.
S Pass holders whose monthly compensation exceeds 2500 GD can file a demand for a dependent pass for their family. S Pass holders with a monthly compensation of less than 2500 SGD are not allowed to bring their family along.

In case of job termination, S pass holders must cancel their EP within 7 days after the end of their work contract. They can at this stage remain in Singapore within the framework of a long visit visa, which nevertheless won't be able to last more than 30 days.

Long visit pass

It concerns unmarried spouses of EP holders, unmarrieddaughters being more than 21 years old, children with disability, stepchildren, parents and stepparents.

Entre pass :

For entrepreneurs who are not EP holders. Applicants must submit a detailed business plan for their future activity. Entrepass is only attributed for a 1 year period and is renewed in consideration of the company's actual financial results.

Personalized Employment Pass (PEP).

PEP is a new pass aimed at retaining the best talents in Singapore by reducing redtape burden and administrative insecurity. Contrary to EP, PEP allows its holders to remain in Singapore between two jobs, for a maximum period of 6 months. PEP is attributed to EP holders depending on their merits. It is attributed only once, for a period of 5 years with no extension possibility. The idea is to incite highly qualified foreign talents to ultiumately file a demand for becoming Permanent Residents.

Permanent resident.

Becoming a permanent resident permanent is an interesting option. But it comes with a substantial constraint, at least for male children, who will have to do their military duties in Singapore.
More information on visas: Ministry of Manpower

Employment of spouses: check the Singapore situation on the Permits Foundation website, a foundation to promote amongst States, the spouses'right to exert a local professional activity.


Banking & Finance


Communications & Media



Information Technology

Shipping Companies:

Offshore and Marine Engineering:

Tourism (Integrated Resorts):

Work regulation

The Singapore work regulation, employer friendly and flexible, is based on the 1968 Employment Act, inspired by the British Common Law.

The Employment Act concerns all employees with the notable exception of:

  • Executives and managers
  • Sailors
  • Home workers
  • persons with a status assimilated to Public Service

Dispositions on vacations and work hours apply only to (manual) workers with a growth monthly salary not exceeding 4800 SGD and to employees with a growth monthly salary not exceeding 2000 SGD


Parties to the contract are free to organize their contractual relations according to they wish. In principle, dispositions relatives to the employee should not be less favorable than the applicable lawc(Employment Act).
The work contract is written and comprehends the following clauses:

  • definition of the parties
  • job description
  • Employee mission and responsibilities
  • Starting date
  • Trial period (from 1 to 6 months depending on the employee's level of qualification).
  • Number of vacation days
  • Termination of the work contract


The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a social coverage savings based system which includes health insurance, disability, pension and housing for the member and his beneficiaries, as well as a saving plan invested in stocks.
Contribution to the CPF are restricted to foreigners with the Permanent Resident status.

At the end of their stay in Singapore, foreign workers can withdraw the money they have invested in the CPF. But if they want to come back, they will have to refund the whole original capital before being allowed to resume contribution to the CPF.
Foreign workers who do no contribute to CPF must subscribe a private insurance. Be aware of hospital costs that can be very high in Singapore.


A fiscal resident in Singapore must pay taxes on all revenues originating from Singapore or that have been transfered in Singapore.
The income tax rate is amongst the world's lowest. It can vary from 2% on the first 7 500$S part of the revenue to 28% for the part exceeding 400.000 $. Fiscal deductions are allowed in various situations (beneficiaries, training fees, life insurance premium).

Work hours

Work hours are limited to 44 hours a week, split on 5 days 1/2, with daily schedules from 8:30 to 17:00 and from 8:30 to 13:00 on saturdays. International companies are usually organized on a 5 days week, with daily schedules from 9:00 to 17:00.

Vacation and hollidays

Workers in Singapore are legally provided with 7 days of vacation from the first year, and 14 Days when they reach 8 years of seniority. In practice most companies are giving a 14 days vacation to their employees.
There are 11 hollidays each year.
Sick leaves should not exceed 14 days per Year. There are allowed only to employees with a 6 month seniority and upon presentation of a health certificate.
Maternity leave lasts 8 weeks. A 3 days paternity leave is granted by some companies.
Exceptional leaves are granted in case of wedding or decease.

Trade unions

Singapore allows Trade unions in all sectors but : police,  civil defense, Defense ministry,..


(MOM- 2009)


  • Local: 1.936.000 (65%)
  • Foreign: 1.053.000 (35%)

Employment by industry (%)

  • Manufacturing: 18,1
  • Construction: 12,9
  • Others: 0,7
  • Services: 68,3


  • wholesale & retail trade: 13,6
  • Transport @ storage: 6,5
  • Hotels & Restaurants: 6
  • Information & Communications: 2,9
  • Financial services: 5,5
  • Business services: 12,9
  • Community, social & personal services: 20,8


Hours worked

  • Weekly paid hours worked: 46
  • Weekly paid overtime hours: 3,4

Labour turnover

  • Monthly recruitment rate: 2,2
  • Monthly resignation rate: 1,8

Labour Relations

  • Employers Trade Unions: 3 (2571 members)
  • Employees Trade Unions: 65 (526 000 members)


  • Workplace fatal accident: 70
  • Accident frequency rate: 1,8


Singaporean companies


APRIL- Asia Pacific Resources International- Fiber plantations/ Paper

CapitaLand - Real Estate

City development - Real Estate developper- Commercial centers ownership

Creative Technology - Digital Entertainment products for PC

DBS Group - Banking

Far East Organization - Owner of Fullerton Hotel- Real Estate

Flextronics - Electronics

Frazer & Neave - Food & Beverage

Keppel Corporation - Solutions to the Offshore & Marine Industries, Sustainable Environment and Urban Living.

Mobile1 - Telecommunication

NOL - Neptune Orient Lines - Containers transportation & Logistics
► Careers at NOL

OCBC- Overseas Chinese Banking - Banking

Olam International-  Supply chain management of agriculture products and food ingredients.

ST Engineering - Singapore Technologies - Aerospace & Defense

Sembcorp - Capital goods
►Careers at SembCorp

Singapore Airlines - Transportation

SPC - Singapore Petroleum Company - Oil & Gas

Singapore Press Holding- Strait times, The Sunday times, Business Times, Mypaper,...

Singtel - Telecommunication

Starhub - telecommunication

Temasek Holdings - Asia Investment House headquartered in Singapore

UOB - United Overseas Bank- Banking