Tuesday, 15 February 2011

My job hunting addiction in Singapore

I decided to change my job when one consultant called me in the middle of September 2010 and tempted me about a Vignette opening in one of the reputed investment bank here in Singapore. In fact, until that day, I had no intension of changing job. I thought of giving a try. I updated my profile and sent to the consultant. To my surprise, eventhough I posses what they're looking for, I haven't got interview call!! Since then, my mind keep thinking of job change and applying jobs became my addiction. After attending few interviews and being rejected several times, I understand that there are many factors in Singapore job market which influence the recruitment strategy. Please note that these are my personnel observations and I may be wrong! Just observations ...

1. Main important factor is salary. Every position in Singapore has fixed budget. Let's say, Java developer. The budget for this position would be somewhere between 4000 SGD to 4500 SGD maximum for a 5 years experienced professional. Eventhough the candidate is from IIT or MIT doesn't matter. Budget is fixed. Companies will not offer a dollar extra because they have a burden of EMPLOYER CPF CONTRIBUTION and AWS on top of the salary. I didn't get jobs because my current salary is far above market standard.

2. Language barrier - Companies need people who can speak mandarin to communicate with their China offshore teams. Moreover, they prefer people from their own race to socialize with them. Since I am an Indian guy, not much response from non-Indian IT companies.

3. Political barrier - Yes. From company's perspective, why they need to hire me? I am an expat who is on Permanent Residence. They would prefer to hire local people with less experience and provide training! By doing this, they are impressing government and contributing to their country's economy.

4. Competition - Not only from fellow Indian guys, also I need to compete with people from China, Phillipines etc etc.
Also, when Indian guys takes interview, they ask questions on API and fact memorisations.

5. I am not a scholar acadamically though I had couple of Java certificatins. Singapore job market doesn't need any certifications. SOmetimes companies think I am over qualified due to these certifications.

After spending many sleepless nights thinking about all these things, I just removed my resume from job sites and decided to continue in my current job for few months. But surely I will give a try later ...


  1. Hello Surya,

    I am living in india and i have total 2.8 Years of experience in Manual Software Testing field with CMMI Level 5 company, can you tell me the way i can apply for singapore and work permit, what is the current situation for IT there? please suggest.

  2. Hi Piyush,

    The CMMI Levels are useless here since nobody know about them. Moreover, the chances are slim for testing because here developers also do testing and companies do not recruit testing people because its additional cost to them. I would suggest to gain more experience and gain specific skill set where companies needed. For eg: Java, PHP or BPM etc.

    Good luck,

  3. hi Surya,

    I'm interested in a career in Singapore. My profile is available at in.linkedin.com/in/jackeapen Could you plz advice me on the possibilities and the salary range I can quote in applications.



  4. Hi
    I am also planning to switch to a job in singapore. I am an electrical engineer. Can you guide me on where to apply as i have seen that mostly the vacancy specifies that person should be from singapore itself or has singapore PR.

  5. It would be helpful to your readers if you could elaborate on your present situation

  6. Hi Sumit,

    I am still continuing in my present job and failed to succeed in new job. But, the hunt continues.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hi Surya..!!
    I am planing to switch my job to singapore and
    i have 2+ years of experience on Java/j2ee and IBM WebSpearPortlets in Banking domain.I have certifications in java.Please tell me how to get job in singapore

    Thanks in advance

  9. Hi Surya,

    I am a mech. Engg with 3years of exp in power plant. I want 2 migrate 2 singapore for some personal reasons. Pl guide me that how can i proceed. Any website or some consultant. Also i want a sample resume on singapore standards brother.
    Pl reply to me. U can also mail me at bsingh2701@gmail.com. Thanx & regards.

  10. Hi surya,

    This is satish from mumbai and I m working in shipping company currently singapore is being hubline for shipping would like to switch my job to singapore have also posted my resumes on many job portals like jobsdb jobstreet etc but not got any call so far

    It would be bettet if you could suggest some consultants who recruits indian candidates in singapore and also explore something on my possibilities to get singapore permanent residency

  11. Hi Surya,

    I read your article and felt really inspired by it.
    I'm also looking for a job in Singapore and would need some guidance from you in this respect. Could you please write back to me?

    My ID: vignette.buckle@gmail.com

  12. is there any chances for freshers

    1. If you're fresh out of Harvard there may be a chance! Are you?

  13. Hi Surya
    I have international work experience of 18 months in sales and business development. I have worked in Poland, Italy and India. Do I stand chance to get job in Singapore in this field? How to go ahead? Please suggest
    Thanks :)


  14. I just happen to read Surya blog as i happen to saw this blog via a forum. Its a very nice reading. I have read most of the articles. It helps me to understand a bit of the frustration Indian IT expat facing while working in Singapore. I saw a strong desire for you guys trying to work in Singapore. You can try to go to my job site ie www.godirect.info where you can search for possible jobs directly from the Singapore companies. Hint : do look out for those highlighted in yellow as these companies dated their job posting. One last thing for those of you who are still in India, you also need to consider the cost of living here. The rental is not cheap. Meals are reasonable if you eat at hawker centre instead of food court. Good luck and be careful of scam from job recruiters that might landed you in bad debts.

  15. Hi Surya,

    can u suggest any genuine job consultancies and reply to my mail id mogili050233@gmail.com.
    Thanks in Advance.

  16. Your post is quite interesting in knowing some of the facts about Singapore IT life. Thanks for sharing.
    Could you please share any reliable consultancies to apply for a job in Singapore from India?
    Also, what is current job market and competition level there?

    Kindly email to me 'praneeth.pvs@gmail.com'