The economy in Singapore is one of the world's strongest economies. Key employment sectors are banking, biomedical sciences, chemicals, communications, electronics, engineering, finance, IT, maritime services and media. Specialised skills and knowledge are in demand, in particular in IT and software development. Singapore is a country where online banking and mobile lifestyles have become the norm.

A competitive, pro-business environment has also created the country’s reputation as an investment hub. Many multinational companies have benefited from Singapore’s highly skilled workforce and favourable tax regulations, and have established headquarters to manage their regional, and often global, operations in the country. Increased financial liberation is helping Singapore to become a world-class financial centre for Southeast Asia. Large multinational firms with Asia Pacific businesses headquartered in Singapore range from automotive companies such as BMW and Porsche, to financial firms such as Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Société Générale, and communication and technology firms such as IBM and Nokia.

Jog hunting in Singapore

For graduate programmes or management development programmes in large multinational firms there are usually two intakes: one in the first quarter of the year, normally April, and one in the third quarter period, normally September. Some applications have rolling dates, so look for specific details on company websites. For graduate programmes, a minimum of a 2.2 in any degree discipline with not more than three years’ work experience is the common requirement.

There are many Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Singapore, so it is common for companies to have two separate entities in the country: one for the local Singapore business and one representing the Asia Pacific regional headquarters. Pay special attention to vacancies at a company’s Asia headquarters. Working at the headquarters will enable you to work with different countries and will expand your career network and career opportunities.

There are numerous recruitment fairs in Singapore and over 1,100 licenced employment agencies, international search agencies and headhunting firms in Singapore. You should be very meticulous when using their services as there is usually a commission rate which can vary. Campus career fairs are also worth visiting and some are free to the public. For details, check the websites of the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University.

Networking is particularly useful (see key resources below). Sometimes companies may only publish vacancies internally, even though the vacancy is open to internal and external candidates. It is important to ask around and look out for word-of-mouth information. It can also useful to contact UK companies with Singapore bases.

Application information

CV structure adheres to UK standards, with two pages being the maximum length. Companies frequently request a passport-sized photograph with your CV.

Interviews are normally conducted in person, by telephone or, on rare occasions, through videoconferencing. Before the interview, it is important that you do the necessary background research on the company, its mission, values, organisational culture, line of business and competitive advantages. 

If your initial application is successful, you may have to participate in an assessment centre and/or undergo a series of interviews conducted by managers or partners from the specific area of the business you have applied to.