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Old 12-05-2012, 09:13 AM
1,218 posts, read 2,116,479 times
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Is anyone familiar with the process of moving to and living in Singapore as an Expat? I am a finance professional with good qualifications who has always had an interest in Asia. I feel China, Korea, Southeast Asia is where all the growth will be in the coming decades and I've always had a strong interest in being part of it. I'm at a point in my life where I can take chances but I've heard mixed things about Singapore.

If anyone can help answer any of these questions or share any experiences/knowledge, it would be greatly appreciated.

1. Does anyone know how compensation compares to the US? I know taxes are significantly lower.
2. What about cost of living? I know it's super expensive to own there. How much would it cost to rent a small unit somewhere?
3. Does anyone know how a westerner would do from a career perspective there? Is there a glass ceiling or can a motivated worker move up the ranks to a high level?
4. What is the social life like for an english speaker? I've heard it's very family oriented and not too crazy, which is fine at this point in my life. I've been there once and would have to agree it was clean and relaxed. But is it easy to socialize and meet people, however?
5. Most importantly - does anyone have any idea how to get a job there? Online postings never seem to get responses. I've been told the only way is to move there without a job and network your butt off. Which is bold. Are expat packages common?
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:51 AM
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,281,369 times
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I have thought of Singapore, and concluded, for my own needs, it would make more sense to live in Johore Baru, Malaysia, which is less than an hour commute from Singapore by local bus, with minimal hassle at the border. The cost of living in Malaysia would be a fraction of the cost in Singapore. However, if you intend to be a businessman in Singapore, there might be advantages to being in Singapore.

If you are going there on spec, it would be easy to base yourself economically in Johore Baru, and find the rest of your answers conveniently at hand in nearby Singapore.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:26 PM
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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Probably, the easiest way to move there, is to obtain a job with a company in your home country, that has operations in Singapore, and then transfer to Singapore.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ccm123 View Post
Probably, the easiest way to move there, is to obtain a job with a company in your home country, that has operations in Singapore, and then transfer to Singapore.
Good point. Expat's pay packet vs local's salary.

Singapore PMI has contracted for a 5th straight month, below the key 50 mark. They are in recession, whether or not they want to admit it. The 2010 list of top 100 best-paying jobs has interesting wage numbers.
- Foreign exchange dealer and broker $17,434
- Operations manager (Finance) $9,528
- Budgeting and financial accounting manager $8,600
- Treasury manager $7,780
- Finance sales associate professional $5,944
- Financial analyst $5,670

Service apartments (1-bedroom) range from $5k - $7k/month. However, you can rent a housing board flat for 1/3 or half of the private condos.

~~~~~ edited
What was I doing giving you 2010 numbers, when 2012 numbers are available.
- Foreign exchange dealer/ Broker $22,302
- Marketing and sales representative (institutional sales of financial products) $20,834
- Trade broker (including oil and bunker trader) $19,500
- Financial/ Investment adviser $15,500
- Commodities derivatives broker $15,000
- Financial/ Insurance services manager (eg financial institution branch manager) $10,250
- Risk analyst (financial) $9,335
- Treasury manager $9,160
- Budgeting and financial accounting manager (including financial controller) $9,150
- Securities and finance dealer/ broker $8,367
- Insurance sales agent/ broker (including independent financial planner) $7,632
- Fund manager $6,603
- Financial analyst (eg equities analyst, credit analyst) $6,565

Last edited by dougie86; 12-05-2012 at 10:41 PM..
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:38 PM
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I am also interested in getting a job lined up in Singapore in the future. For a beginner, should I get an internship there first? I currently don't have any real job experience yet. I've been looking for pharmaceutical internship programs abroad via the agencies but they charge way too much(over $8000 for just 3 months if you go for NextStepConnections) and the ones I could find are only available in China(Hong Kong & Shanghai)
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:43 PM
Location: The North
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Singapore is an easy place to get a work permit if you have some professional experience in many fields. Like most things they go about the business of who they admit very mechanically with a points system based on education and work experience. They know which fields they need workers in and which they don't. A little research on their websites and you will almost for certain know if you would qualify or not. If you don't then you'll have to get an employer to relocate you there.

As for cost of living, its pretty insane. Its almost impossible to come out ahead moving there unless you are extremely well compensated where the tax savings are so great they overcome the high cost of renting or buying. The locals are fine as the subsidized housing is very affordable, but the expat is really up against it.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:14 PM
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The heat and humidity in that part of the world is tough for me. There is no escaping it 24/7/365. Some people like that. If you like to be outdoors a lot (like I do), it's hard to be outside a lot doing outdoor recreational activities in that kind of heat & humidity. You have to get used to the population density too.
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