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Excerpted from the Singapore Career Guide

General Trends

Singapore is one of the world's most prosperous countries. The cosmopolitan city-state has a highly developed and successful free market economy, with a per capita GDP of 62,400 USD, the seventh-highest in the world. The country’s economy is remarkably open and corruption-free. Its infrastructure is outstanding, with excellent roads and air transport facilities. With one of the world’s busiest ports, Singapore has strong international trading links. It serves as a hub for Southeast Asia, home to regional headquarters and branch offices of multinational companies doing business there. More than 70 percent of the country’s GDP is generated by the services sector and about 29 percent by industry. Singapore’s GDP recovered last year, rising from the previous year’s 1.9 percent to 4.1 percent. Moreover, unemployment is a mere 1.9 percent.

Employment Outlook

Key Trend

Expatriate Employment

It’s harder now for expats to land jobs in Singapore than it was two or three years ago. More than 100,000 expats already have jobs there, and economic growth has slowed. But, perhaps the most important reason is government immigration restrictions.

Non-residents must have a valid work pass before they can work in Singapore. The majority of expats working there come on an Employment Pass. This type of work permit is for foreign professionals working in managerial, executive or specialized jobs. To obtain an Employment Pass in Singapore, a foreigner must have acceptable qualifications and a job offer with monthly earnings of at least 3,300 SGD. The employer or its agent must submit the request for an Employment Pass.

Areas of Job Promise

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower maintains a list of skills currently in demand and expected to be in strong demand by industries in the coming years. The list is updated regularly.

In addition, Contact Singapore, an alliance of the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Ministry of Manpower, provides information about a number of Singapore’s industry sectors, and lists job openings in each of them.


Salaries in Singapore are competitive, with last year’s increases averaging 3 to 6 percent.

This year, most companies plan to give new hires raises of about 5 percent, according to Achieve Group, and current employees shouldn’t expect increases of more than 3 percent. And, employers are more often basing salary increases on performance.

However, Singapore’s skills shortages are driving up wages, particularly for candidates with niche skills.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Singapore Guide.

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