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Singapore: Career Prospects - Must read

Finding a graduate career in Singapore

Read our guide to life after graduation for international students in Singapore

Iron Orchard Road Singapore

There’s plenty of perks to staying on in Singapore to work after you’ve completed your studies. Aside from its key significance as a global centre of trade, Singapore enjoys strong international ties and offers fresh graduates plenty of chances for professional advancement. With a strong pro-business and stable political environment, where better a place to kick-start your career? Let our overview of graduate career prospects in Singapore walk you through the transition from student to professional.

What’s the graduate market like?

Set apart by its unique location, Singapore is largely dependent on exports to maintain its economy. Set along important shipping routes in Southeast Asia and surrounded by deepwater ports, Singapore is a key centre of trade and logistics. Whilst the economy has slowed in the first quarter of 2014, it has been predicted to remain stable and improve as the year rolls out. Despite the slight setback, unemployment rates remain low, and job prospects favourable.

Electronics is Singapore’s standout industry, being the major contributor to the nation’s economic growth and employing some 80,000 people: 19% of the overall manufacturing workforce. Students of Electrical Engineering, ICT, Mechanical Engineering, Science and Technology are offered a spate of employment options, as well as the opportunity to engage with one of the world’s most innovative technology sectors.

One of the four ‘Asian Tiger’ economies, Singapore is also the banking and financial centre of Southeast Asia.  Economic advances in the sector have increased demand for skilled professionals, pushing employers to look abroad in order to meet their needs. Students of Finance, Accounting and Business Management then will graduate facing a shortage for skills in their area of expertise.

Singapore also has incredibly developed telecommunications, tourism, trade, petrochemical and construction industries, each with sound prospects for students of Media and Communications, Hospitality, Tourism, Logistics, International Relations, Civil Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Technology and Science. A number of multinational corporations also have offices in Singapore, such as BP, Boston Consulting Group, Shell, Phillips and Sinochem International Oil.

Can I stay?

If you are studying at any of Singapore's Institutes of Higher Learning then you'll be eligible to apply for a one-year long term social visit pass. This means that you will have up to one year after you gradaute to look for a job and be put forward for a work permit if you'd still like to stay in Singapore.

The type of work permit you'll need will depend on the salary you're offered, and as a graduate that will most likely mean you'll need what is called an 'S pass'. Unfortunately, only your employer can put you forward for an S pass which means that you'll need to have a job offer in order to stay past the expiry date of your student pass, or long term social visit pass. Once you've secured employment, your employer will lodge your application on your behalf.

If you're offered a higher paying job (with a monthly salary of over SG$3,300 (US$2,629)) then you might be eligible for an Employment Pass (EP). As with the S pass, your employer will need to put you forward for this permit.

Whichever permit you're on, your employer will need to submit the application for you, and will require some of your personal information such as passport and nationality details to do so. If it is your first application for a work permit then your employer will also need to submit a Declaration of Business Activity to MOM. Depending on the sector, your employer will have a quota of foreign workers they are allowed to employ, and so this serves to declare that you will be counted towards it. You can find more information about the work permit application process on the MOM website.

How can I find a job?

It’s always best to spread yourself across as widely as possible when searching for a job. You should consult newspapers, visit careers fairs, websites and job boards, as well as taking a look at the Singapore Business Directory, the Business Times or even the Singapore Yellow Pages in order to get an idea of the different companies and organisations you might want to chase up. 

Even if you aren’t a student at the Singapore National University, Nanyang Technological University or Singapore Management University, you can still attend one the career fairs that they host. You should also be sure to check the Career and Education website for information about nation-wide careers events. 

The easiest way to get started is to read up on the state of affairs in Singapore: what’s happening in your industry, and which professionals within it are most in demand? The Online Citizen, Bloomberg Singapore and the Singapore Economic Development Board are all great starting points, whilst Contact Singapore is a key resource in finding information specific to the industry you’re looking to crack.

You can also search for jobs directly using search engines such as JobStreet, JobsDB Singapore and JobsCentral Singapore

Can my university help?

Your host university will almost always be able to help you in some way, whether by giving you the contact details of a company or organisation, or providing you with advice on how best to start your search. For example, the National University of Singapore has a careers centre that lets students search directly for jobs and internships online, as well as providing advice, links, and information about career events. It’s always a good idea to approach student services at your host university before you graduate to help you sort out a preliminary plan for when your studies are complete.


Now that life after graduation doesn’t seem so scary, why not browse courses in Singapore now and get your study abroad planning process on the road?  


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About Author

Iron Orchard Road Singapore

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.