Singapore continues to set itself apart as an ideal destination for legal work, for both providers and consumers.
It’s similar enough to Australia that Aussie lawyers won’t feel out of their depth, while offering different opportunities and an expat lifestyle like no other.
“Similarities-wise I think they’re both very globally focused and I think the common law element makes things a lot easier, and [there are] no difficulties for coming over as an Australian lawyer,” Major, Lindsey & Africa consultant Nathan Peart says.
“Differences [are], I think, the practices tend to be far more regional and so your mix of work is interesting but very, very different.”
Peter Chow, Squire Patton Boggs’ Asia-Pacific head of international dispute resolution/arbitration, has similar thoughts to Mr Peart.
“The laws in Australia and Singapore are quite similar, particularly in contract law or corporation law,” he says.
“Like Australia, there are lawyers in Singapore servicing domestic retail sectors such as conveyancing, criminal work and matrimonial matters. But in certain sectors such as major projects and infrastructure, Australia has a more mature practice.”
Prospects at large
Singapore has enjoyed a vibrant economy for many years, which in turn drives its demand for lawyers.
However, the current economic downturn, coupled with an increasing number of lawyers moving to Singapore recently, has thinned out the job opportunities, according to Mr Chow.
“But there is always room for lawyers of exceptional quality or relevant expertise,” he notes.
“Those with an entrepreneurial spirit and who are able to adapt to a changing market tend to do better.”
A good network also helps, especially for lawyers arriving from overseas, Mr Chow adds.
“Australian lawyers, particularly those who have gained experience in top-tier Australian firms, generally have a good reputation and are known for their high-quality work,” he says.
“They usually are able to find positions outside Australia, such as [in] Singapore. Many leading lawyers in international law firms around the world originally came from Australia.”
The managing partner of Clifford Chance’s Singapore office, Kai-Niklas Schneider, says the practice areas and clients serviced in Singapore are diverse.
“Our Singapore office covers a breadth of practices including banking and finance, corporate, capital markets and dispute resolution, and the office provides integrated services across the south-east Asia region,” he says.
“We act for a number of Singapore-based local and international companies, as well as regional and global clients based elsewhere.”
Mr Schneider says Singapore not only one of the world’s major financial capitals, it is also a global technology hub leading in areas such as fintech.
“It will continue to increase its stature as a global legal hub, with more clients viewing it as an increasingly important venue for them to be based or to transact business,” he says.
“This is driving our clients’ need for high-quality advice that covers English, New York and Singapore law.”
The areas of law in which Singaporean firms look to hire Australian lawyers can vary, but they are limited, according to Mr Peart.
t first glance, Wong Kuan Ying looks like a typical Singaporean boss, with her smart, full-length trousers and impeccable posture, even at the end of a nine-hour shift. Her colleagues in Singapore’s West Coast Market Square food court are dressed more casually, in shorts and T-shirts. Some of them look past the working age: you avert your eyes from their tired knees; they avert their eyes when you thank them.
Kuan Ying tells me she is 72 but she doesn’t look it. Each day when she gets home, however, she has to unscrew her right leg from below the knee. Acute diabetes has left her missing the lower part of one leg, and all the toes from her other foot.
Some days, she says, the prosthesis feels like a hard, heavy stone biting into the soft wrinkled folds of her stump. Even on the days it fits well, it is a relief to take it off and let her skin breathe. “I am much better now,” she says. “In the early days, I would hold this stump and cry.”
Kuan Ying’s job could have easily have gone to a younger, stronger person – or a foreign worker willing to work for less. But the Singaporean government is actively pushing its elderly to continue working.
In 2012, it introduced the “policy of re-employment” – to encourage citizens to continue working beyond the official retirement age of 62, while giving employers the flexibility to decide who they wished to retain, and the terms of their retention. The “minimum” re-employment age was set at 65 in 2012, and in 2017 it will be raised to 67 – though people can work beyond that if both parties agree. The country has, meanwhile, tightened its foreign worker intake to allow more residents to get jobs.
The main reason for this is what Singapore anxiously calls the “silver tsunami”: by 2030, one in five people in the city-state will be over 60. Added to this, Singaporeans have the third-highest life expectancy in the world, at 82.7 years.
At 10pm in the market the dinner crowd has gone home, and the last of the stores are closing up. Only men drinking beer in the open remain. It’s take-it-easy hour, but for Kuan Ying there is still plenty to do: clean the dishes, stack them away, clean the counters, count the cash. If someone asks for a coffee or tea, she pours it out from the long-spouted kettles with the flourish of a juggler.
More than 22,000 new jobs are projected to be created in the manufacturing sector in Singapore over the next eight years, such as for data scientists and robot coordinators, a new study has found.
These higher-value positions will pay on average 50 per cent more than current jobs displaced during this period, the study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) added.
Observers say a key challenge will be to seize this window of opportunity in the sector by equipping workers to acquire the skills to fill new places.
Manufacturing accounts for a fifth of the Singapore economy and the sector has been hit hard by the current slowdown, but recently it has shown signs of a comeback.
Disruptive technologies have also impacted the sector, with some 23,000 jobs forecast to be displaced by 2024.
Last month, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said the Government will continue to invest in advanced manufacturing to position workers and companies for the future.
The Committee on the Future Economy, which will release its report early next year, has also identified advanced manufacturing as a key growth sector.
Singapore Manufacturing Federation president Douglas Foo said manufacturing has to remain a core part of the economy.
Singapore is an attractive destination for foreigners to work in and if you are one of the people looking for jobs in Singapore for foreigners, then the following questions will probably cross your mind:
- How easy is it for foreigners, living outside of Singapore, to get a job here?
- How does one go about looking for jobs in Singapore for foreigners?
The short answer is – It is not as easy as it seems for foreigners to get jobs in Singapore and you will need to put in a lot of effort to get a job. Singapore does have/demand a lot of foreign talent but this is for specific skills/industries/levels and there is a good amount of competition from foreigners/locals already living in Singapore.
If you search online job boards/sites for Singapore, you will notice most job postings state that only Singaporeans or Permanent Residents should apply. There will be fewer listing for jobs in Singapore for foreigners, on the job sites. The reason for this simple – It is easier and more cost effective for companies to hire people who are already in Singapore, especially when these people have the talent/skills they need.
Here are a few suggestions you will find useful, while looking for jobs in Singapore for foreigners:
1) I have come across many foreigners/people who just land-up in Singapore for a very short time and without having any meetings/interviews. They hope to get interviews while they are here and/or plan to attend a career fair. In my experience this approach does not yield much success to get jobs in Singapore for foreigners, unless you spend enough time here (a few months). If you are coming for a short visit, then it is much better to have a few meetings/interviews scheduled with potential employers and recruiters before you arrive. Also please be aware that career fairs are not catering to people living outside of Singapore and will not help much.
2) Don’t dismiss the online job boards altogether. You will find jobs where foreigners are eligible to apply, however, you will need to spend extra time searching for these. I recommend using a job aggregator, specifically Indeed, which will enable you to find all jobs for foreigners in Singapore at one place. This includes job boards and company websites. It can save you a lot of time, as opposed to searching each site separately. Use the advanced search form, so that you can conduct a specific search (for example – one which excludes job advertisements that contain the words Singaporean, PR, Citizen, etc.).
3) Use ALL your contacts (friends, family, colleagues, association members and so on). This is probably your best bet to get leads for jobs for foreigners. Make the process easier by using online networking sites like LinkedIn.
4) Be clear on your knowledge, skills and abilities and make sure that you apply to matching jobs. This will save you the time spent on applying to every job under the sun and also increase your job search success rate. Keep this in mind when contacting recruiters for jobs also.
5) Prepare your marketing material very well. Your resume, cover letter and other job search material must be relevant and of high quality.
6) Practice, practice and practice your interview responsesand also what you will say during various other meetings.
7) Be ready to compromise and take jobs which may not be your first preference, or pay you as much as you want. It is important to first get your foot in the door.
It’s D-Day for the US Presidential Race.
The race to the oval office between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has been a closely monitored affair the world over. It’s like watching a drama, thriller, comedy and documentary all rolled into one – just that it affects the real lives of Americans (and the rest of us too).
Over the weekend in his last rally before Americans went to the polls, Donald Trump took to the stands in Tampa, Florida to address his supporters.
When one thinks of countries in Asia which have seen a large influx of American companies setting up local bases in the past decade or two, places like China and India always comes to mind.
This is mainly due to the manufacturing sector relocating to these countries, given that operational costs are lower.
Trump then laid down the stats as to how much America has lost.
70,000 factories was moved away from America, especially after China entered the World Trade Organisation, and he called the “the greatest job theft in the history of the world”.
His main agenda? American jobs.
Singapore Caught In The Crossfire
Read more here
Offering multifaceted opportunities for exploration, be it shopping, international trading, tourism, or education, Singapore stands out on even if it’s just a tiny dot in the world map. As well, it is a great job hunting spot, where pay is attractive to most foreigners.
However, contrary to what I’ve heard and past beliefs, landing a job in this country is not as easy as it seemed. I’ve heard of many stories and know of unfortunate ones who spent months searching for a job and end up going back to their home country with hopelessness.
This year, the demand is even tougher, as the Ministry of Manpower tightened rules in accepting and approving foreign talents’ employment passes, trying to limit the influx of foreigners.
What’s more, effective December 1, 2011, the granting of employment pass eligibility certificates (EPEC), which made it easier for foreigners to be hired, was discontinued.
Side Note: In reply to Yahoo! Singapore’s queries on why the scheme was removed, a MOM spokesman said, “The EPEC Scheme was not meeting its intended objective of helping employers recruit EP-calibre talent.” Of the EPEC applications received each month, only less than 10 per cent were approved, he added.
Now, how can job-seekers living outside of Singapore get a job here? This question is overrated but since I’ve been asked to give out advice countless of times, as if I were some expert, in this page I hope to be able to provide sound suggestions to the hopefuls, before I exit.
On my part, I just got lucky, I guess. In any case, here is the synthesis of tips I’ve collected:
1. Stock up on CASH. You will need lots and lots.
This is for your food and transportation expenses for the first jobless weeks, for advanced and deposit money for room or bed space rental, for utilities and other things. Essentials are as follows:
ROOM – Prices of room range from 300SGD to 1200SGD or higher, depending on the size of space, location, amenities and arrangements with the agents, main tenants or house owners. Staying in a HDB room or flat is much cheaper than in a condo or landed house. If you have not decided to stay for long, stay in rooms for transients instead, as some landlords require minimum number of months of stay (3-6 months) from their tenants.
FOOD – If you want to save up some more, you might want to look for a place where cooking is allowed. Most landlords don’t allow real cooking but just light cooking (e.g. noodles only). Eating out for every meal is costly (and might be unhealthy).
2. Don’t go touring around for leisure just yet. Save that for later; FIND a job first.
Let me lay down the facts: Time is limited and nobody can guarantee you’ll get a job. Recommendations by friends do not seem to work here as much as they do elsewhere. Relationships with friends are not judged by the company. They don’t get the job for you; your qualifications do.
It’s wise to spend every jobless day sending your CVs to recruitment websites such as JobsDB, JobStreet, JobHub, Strait Times, Monster, CareerJet, etc. Allocate about five hours per day reading along job offers online. Walk-in applications may also work but it’s better to apply online to save effort, time, printed copies of your resume and explore more companies with positions to fill.
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Employers sense in me a denial of their values.’ He rolled over onto his back. ‘They fear me. I suspect that they can see that I am forced to function in a century I loathe. This was true even when I worked for the New Orleans Public Library.”
― John Kennedy Toole,
A slew of opportunities await young professionals who are looking into carving their own place in the corporate world. But in order to find the right opportunity, you’ll need to stand from the crowd and differentiate yourself from the rest of the candidates out there who want the same opportunity as badly as you do.
And how do you differentiate yourself? By carefully planning your job search and taking proactive steps during the process, you can set yourself apart and ultimately get the job you want. To be more specific, we have outlined a five-step guide for you to help you succeed in your job search.
1. Clearly define your skills and interests
Every how-to article about finding success during your job search talks about defining your skills and identifying your strengths and weaknesses and it comes with good reason.
Traditionally, inexperienced job seekers as well as some of the more seasoned ones start searching for a job right away based solely on their degree or on their previous job. But in a world where job functions are broadly defined, you are better off defining your strongest attributes as well as your interests before you put yourself out there.
Just because you have a degree in information technology (IT) doesn’t mean that you have to work as a systems administrator or a technical support specialist. There is a broad range of job functions out there that you can choose from as long as you’re able to clearly define your skills and interests.
Start by asking yourself, “What am I really good at? What are the things that I am most passionate about? What do I value the most?” By asking yourself these questions, you get rid of the ambiguity of what you do and start gaining a sense of direction in your job search.
2. Create a powerful resume
Many candidates underestimate the power of a well-written resume. Don’t be one of those candidates who don’t give much thought about what they put on their resumes. If you want to stand out from the rest of the candidates, then having a well-crafted resume is surefire way to do just that.
If you are still on the early stages of your job search, it’s most useful to have a master resume that you can customize according to the type of job or position you are applying for. Instead of creating multiple versions of your resume from scratch, you can have one that you can readily turn into something different whenever you need to.
There’s a multitude of ways on how you can write a resume. Remember, you resume is your first shot at making a good first impression. More than anything, your resume should reflect who you are while emphasizing the specific skills and experiences that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
One of the hottest trends right now is to have a visual/graphic where, instead of just containing text, you resume incorporates visual elements like graphs, charts, bold typography and even images. But, at the end of the day, what it all boils down to is substance. You can dress up your resume in whichever way you want, but you need to ensure that it’s getting the right message across.
If you are doubtful or unsure about the kind of resume you have, don’t be afraid to ask the opinion of others. In fact, it’s best that you have someone with much more experience to review your resume just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything.
3. Strategize your job search
You have identified your skills and interests and you have created a powerful resume, now it’s time to start searching for jobs.
For starters, if you don’t have a vast professional network, then online is the way to go. When creating your account on an online job board, make sure that you’ll have your profile completely filled out. Most online job boards have filters to help you identify prospective employers according to your field of interest and/or geographic area. Maximize all those tools available to you to help you search for that perfect opportunity.
When it comes to narrowing down the jobs you want to apply to, remember to look for positions where you can add the most value to employers. Again, this is why identifying your skills and interest is so important. It prevents you from applying for jobs that you clearly aren’t well suited for.
At the same time, knowing your skill set and range can help you discover certain jobs or field of specialization that you may not originally be interested in but you are very much qualified for.
Strategizing your job search is all about knowing where to look, not getting stuck with limitations or your preconceived notions as well as keeping track of your progress or even your lack thereof.
4. Do your research
Assuming that you’ve already sent out your resume and you already got an interview invite or two from the companies you applied for, then it’s time for you to do a little more digging.
Once you’re scheduled for an interview, whether it’s via phone or face-to-face, it’s vital for you to have significant knowledge about the job your are interviewing for and the company you applied to so you can make a good impression.
Your research should be substantial and in-depth and not just a quick Google search. This entails visiting the company website, browsing through recent news articles and yes, even looking at the profiles of their current employees.
But more important that finding information about the company is knowing how to use the information you have gathered to your advantage.
There is a downside to doing your research if you are not careful in using the information you have. Don’t ever go to your interview and say “I’ve read about you on… and I think you should have done this” or “you should have done that”. If you are not careful, it might just cost you the job. Remember, there is no real need for you to point at the information you have gathered unless you feel strongly that it will be for your benefit.
The best way to use the information you have is by tailoring your answers and your interview examples to fit what you have already researched about the company. You can highlight the things you see in the company that you could be most helpful with. If the company launched a new product, for example, and you are applying for a sales or marketing position, you can mention some of your ideas on how you can position the product to the target demographic. Of course, there are a lot more different ways on how you can use your knowledge to you edge during the interview.
But what if the company you are interviewing for does not have a significant presence online? You can mention during the interview that you normally do your research but you unfortunately weren’t able to find anything about the company you are interviewing for.
Most likely, the interviewer will start talking about the company which is always a good conversation starter during the interviews. Just make sure to point to the fact that even if you know very little about the company, you are really interested and you are excited to learn more.