While competence and skills were not an issue, Kamal Kumar still had to face an ordeal while hunting for a job in Singapore. He shares the lessons he has picked up along the way to help other Indians hoping to relocate to Singapore in search of a better career and higher salary.
Problems I faced as an Indian looking for job in Singapore
by Kamal Kumar
It was 2nd Sept’15, when I quit my job in India and moved to Singapore (SG) for my job search. The reason was a bit personal. My wife had relocated to Singapore 2 years ago.
Before leaving my job in India, I completed my basic search about the job market and industries in SG. I also spent a 1-month vacation in SG during June’15. During that period, I was selected by 2 employers in SG but offered a salary that was lower than my expectation. So, I declined the offer. But that gave me the confidence that I can get job in SG without any problems.
I went back to India, resigned after a 2-month notice period and shifted to SG as a full-time job seeker. I came here with expectations of getting an opportunity that was better than my Indian job. I was in manager position in the manufacturing industry in India.
During the first 2-3 months, I was getting jobs of lower salary compared to my Indian job. I kept declining those offers. After 3-4 months, the interview calls drops and the tough time began.
One thing that kept me calm and balanced was that I was actively involved in the local community services and participating in the events organised by ‘InterNations‘. These activities not only helped me in utilising my time productively, but also in creating a local community network.
The gap in my career was increasing day by day. That’s when I started looking for jobs back in India through my contacts. I’ve got good offers from India. I am now looking ahead to move back in India and get my career back on track.
During these tough times, I learnt many lessons that I would like to share with other Indians who are looking for jobs in Singapore.
How to get a job in Singapore from India
What makes Singapore a good country for Indians to work and live in?
Singapore is developed country with one of the most successful economies in the world. SG is an attractive destination for Indians to work, as one can fulfill the dream of earning a salary in dollars while staying close to India. There is good competition between highly-skilled natives and expats.
If you are looking for job in SG, here are some topics and questions that may cross your mind.
- How to get a work permit for Singapore?
- Which is better – search for a job in Singapore while working in India? Or go to Singapore and then search for a job?
- Are my skills or experience in demand in SG?
- Will I get the job in SG? What’s my backup plan if I don’t?
Getting a work permit in SG
The primary question that may come to your mind is – do I need work permit as a foreigner in Singapore?
Unlike in USA or Canada, in Singapore, firstly you need to secure a job, and then a Work Pass will be issued by employer.
For foreign professionals searching for manager and executive level jobs, candidates need to earn at least $3,300 a month and have acceptable qualifications. For high-earning existing Employment pass holders or overseas foreign professionals, the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) offers greater flexibility than an Employment Pass.
You may be thinking. “Can I search for a job if I am living in SG on a dependent pass?”
Yes, you can apply for Singapore jobs even if you are there as a dependent. After securing a job, the employer can issue a letter of consent with Ministry of Manpower or the employer may apply for an employment pass.
Search for Singapore jobs from India or after going to SG?
Can I search for job in SG while working in India? Yes, you can. However, employers prefer face-to-face interviews and they also prefer foreigners staying in SG.
It would be little bit difficult to find a job in SG while staying in India, unless you already have strong network in SG that works for you and prospective employer agree to complete the selection process online.
How to find jobs in Singapore?
To start with your job search, there are lots of online job portals that provide lot of information such as JobsCentral.com.sg, sg.JobStreet.com, JobsCentral.com.sg.
Another important source is the main English language newspaper in Singapore, The Straits Times, publishes a “Classified Jobs” and “Executive Appointments” supplement every Saturday that lists a wide range of job opportunities. The online version of these job listings can be found in the ST701 portal.
While searching online for jobs in SG, you will notice many job postings stating that Singaporeans/PR should apply. There are fewer job openings for foreigners. The reason is that Employers in Singapore are granted some quota from Ministry of Manpower, in which they can hire foreigners. In simple terms, if there are 10 job openings in the market, it may be possible that only 2 are open for foreigners and the rest for Singaporeans/PR holders.
Another important point is that in India, you can find thousands of job consultants who promise you jobs and extract a good amount of money from you for resume services and job search.
There is no such thing as a paid consultant to find jobs in Singapore.
You can hire consultants for resume services, career counselling and coaching services in SG to advise you on the right path. But the job consultants work for the company not for the candidates. They look for the right people for the job, not jobs for the people. You can contact recruitment consultants to discuss about the job opportunity.
Are my skills & experience in demand in the Singapore job market?
Before jumping into the job search, it is very important to take a closer look of the job market and prepare for the sector that offers best employment opportunity.
Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore Work Force Development Agency publish a labour market guide, listing jobs which they expect to be in demand in the upcoming year. It includes information on expected labour shortages in different industries, average wages, and the relevant skills and qualifications for these jobs.
It is advisable to consult the skills in demand list on Ministry of manpower website.
Will I get a job in Singapore? What’s my backup plan?
One of the main reasons of not getting the first job in SG is being inflexible and not willing to compromise with a low salary jobs that you are offered. So, it is advisable to accept the first job even if it is lesser than your expectation.
It is important to first get your foot in the door. You should try to remain flexible and keep the options open. However, you should also keep cost of living in SG in mind before accepting any offer.
It is advisable to keep in touch with your previous employers and other contacts in India. It might be possible that after 6 to 7 month of job search in SG, you have to come back to India to have your career on track.
So be flexible, act smart, be ready to learn new things, expand your professional network and take right decision on right time.
Good luck for all Indian professionals, looking for job in Singapore.
Image source: Singapore Air