Singapore job offer

Got attempting job offer from Singapore but don’t know anything from the region. Does anyone have some experience working and living there, and how is the salary.


Where do you live now. It would help to be able to make comparisons.

how is the salary? uhhh - you are the one with the “job offer” - YOU should know what the salary is! if you don’t know the salary, then you don’t have much of an offer, do you?

there are people here who could help, but you are going to have to help yourself first by making some sense and sharing more information. until then…


hmm…im sorry to say this but you started the forum with lack of info…anyway
FYI: if you are working in asian countries…you will be earning low compared to the salary of the americans or europeans…but the cost of living is low if you are living in asia…

I don’t know where you live, but Hong Kong and Singapore are counted in the top 10 most expensive countries (cities actually) to live in, and not at the bottom of the list (from a recent publication).

Here are stats from late 2007 on CNN Money which show them both in the top 20 (Hong Kong no. 5, Singapore no. 14):

And I don’t know what salaries you talk about but I see a lot of expat people in Asia make loads of money, much more than they ever would be able to make back in their home country.

I agree - Singapore is not cheap.

But as for expats in Asia making loads of money, well, certainly there are some, especially in “hardship” locations where they are compensated for a perceived lower quality of life, but Singapore is not really on this list anymore. There are so many young brit, aussie, indian, etc. professionals who want to live/work in Singapore now that supply is outstripping demand, meaning the old “expat package” is hard to come by. Not to mention so many Singaporeans now with similar or better international educations than the expats, and of course with better language and culture skills for the region. And remember that since locals often live with family and receive government subsidized housing (hdb), companies are used to paying less than what an expat would really need to have the same quality of life.

Below is a rant/question I posted elsewhere. Still looking for some answers, examples, or a reasonable analysis of the personal economic situation:

“and a question for you and those in singapore in general:2.5k/month?? (The 2.5k/month was SGD, for a recent ID grad, I believe.) it is not a cheap place to live anymore - how do you all do it? will you live with family and not pay rent? will you have an hdb flat? will you never set foot inside the ubiquitous air conditioned malls to purchase anything? (again, not cheap there) i guess it could work as a young person sharing a place temporarily, but how do people save, move up and eventually buy their own place there? (especially a place that a designer might be interested in) who is making the car, country club, etc. dream a reality? how does a long-termer sort out generally low salaries with generally high costs? nice place, just can never figure the personal economics out.”

2500 K is low for an expat. its the minimum to get an employment pass.
I would shoot for a higher figure. Make sure they pay for you’re flights & somewhere to stay while you look for a place to live. Make sure its in writing or they may try to pull a fast one.

People work very long hours here. Expect to work 12 - 14 hour days from 5 - 7 days a week depending on the company. No leisure time here.

Design is not valued here like in the west. Just compare Creative
( singapore company ) to Apple ( US company ). This is the difference.

The country is very strict & laws for everything from flushing the toilet to chewing gum. It is the safest country in the world I think. Anything unusal is perceived as a risk. But good design comes from taking big risks.

So if you want good design go to Europe or US where anything goes.

You will not make $$ or good design in Singapore but you will experience a very unique place that could open doors to you later in you’re career as China is becoming more important in the big picture.

Faci, where are you from ?

maybe I could briefly answer your question:
most fresh grads and unmarried people in Singapore live with families.In fact the government encourages people to live with or near to their relatives.
In that way, it cuts costs. Food is not expensive, but the bills are.
Depends on how you utilise. Owning cars is expensive. But buying a car now is around 30% cheaper than it was more than 10 years ago. Housing is getting expensive. But if its compared with other advanced countries, its still reasonable to rent. More expensive to buy. Public transport is efficient and inexpensive. So are the medical bills. Luxury items are definitely way more expensive since most of them are imported.

HDB flats are as expensive as the houses in the States and are way smaller than what North Americans are used to. Very peaceful and easy place to live in. But I must admit the design scene is not as vibrant as in Europe, US and Japan. However the trend is changing and heading towards an upward trend.
In fact there is an upcoming international design event coming next year. I was also told there is an upcoming exhibition when the F1 formular racing event commences this year. The first F1 racing to be held right in the city centre.

Singapore’s value comes in as a valuable gateway to China.Changes here are rapid. If you look at the rate the country goes, the design scene should only get better as the place gets more cosmopolitan and diverse in culture.

… are you sure you don’t have leisure time ?..

unless you are talking about small companies that are family owned, you should be getting good leisure time… the pay is not as lucrative, but if you know where to supplement your income, you shouldn’t do poorly at all…
a good 5 digit income per month is achievable especially if you hold a teaching post at the university with a few projects to do.

if you were working for a proper company, the pay is still pretty good.
Especially those who pick the teaching and consulting route.
Not bad at all. But if you were to work for a small establishment, then the pay is really low. Thats the kind of gap you get.

But if you were to compare designer salaries to other attractive jobs such aslaw, the pay is low. At current, lawyers are very well paid, so are the teachers here. biomedics, project managers, bankers and the like gets paid in 5digit figures a month if they have 7-10 years of work experience.

… are you sure you don’t have leisure time ?..
unless you are talking about small companies that are family owned, you should be getting good leisure time…

No, I am talking about large companies who are listed on the stock market

the pay is not as lucrative, but if you know where to supplement your income, you shouldn’t do poorly at all…

a good 5 digit income per month is achievable especially if you hold a teaching post at the university with a few projects to do.

if you were working for a proper company, the pay is still pretty good. Especially those who pick the teaching and consulting route.

This is only possible if you are a local Singaporean .Not possible for an expat due to the employment pass.

If you are on a employment pass you are only allowed work for one employer. You must be working & living here 6 months before you apply to become a permanent resident. Then you can work for more than one employer maybe if they allow you. I am certain if a company is bringing you over here they will have it written into the contract that you cannot work freelance also.
Three designers here were recently sued by their boss for moonlighting outside office hours.

If you are a director then you will earn 5 digit figures per month ( $ Singapore dollar ) but jobs like that are not easy to find.
It is typical to find creative directors here who are very young ( 26 – 28 years old ). I find it totally bizarre as back in Europe you would have to be much older. The companies own people almost like slaves. Maybe this is the remnants of colonialism. It is common for workers to come into the office every weekend to work as they know no other way of life. Sad but true !

See here for a pdf of average salaries in design for Singapore, China, etc.

Aquent Asia Pacific Salary Monitor 2005 | 2006

Westerns are charged more $$ simply for being presumed to be wealthy.

If you are coming from Europe you are paid 1/2 to 1/3 of what you are paid back home.
After converting your money into US $ and taking tax into consideration you may want to think long & hard about the offer you are made.

In Singapore the role of the designer is not the same as in the West.

In the East the budget will dictate everything whereas in the West it is the design the dictates.

The idea that good design can increase sales is not understood here. Maybe because there are so many copied versions flooding the market from China here which can damage the sales.

A little strange from what I see. Just curious, where are you from ?

The work pressure is high, and the stress is definitely higher than in the west, but if you work for good companies, you shouldn’t be working like slaves like you described. Even if you were working for the Japanese in Singapore, it shouldn’t be the case. Working for stat boards especially under the creative section is not stressful at all. But if you were working for smaller establishments, you’d probably be squeezed dry.

Over here expats are paid much better than locals. So I am puzzled why you sound as though it is the opposite.(?) Many Singaporeans do complain how foreigners take away their jobs especially high paying jobs.
Reason being that
in general foreigners are paid better than locals for white collar jobs, even though the qualifications are very similar, especially true when you come from the west. They’ll compensate you pretty close to what you have at home, if not more. Unless the area you are looking at is different from mine, the compensation shouldn’t be low. It should be competitive. Most of the high end private properties here are taken up by foreigners. The high class areas in districts 10 etc are predominately taken up by westerners,not the locals. If they are Asians, they would most likely be indonesian chinese. Locals take up the low-mid level private properties. For the 85% of the local population, its government subsidized public housing— that is HDB flats.
Prices are very high at the moment. So not many locals can afford private housing comfortably.

A lot of the professors at the local universities are foreigners too. In certain faculties, a lot of them are Americans, and I know their pay isn’t low at all.

I don’t think the laws are that strict. The place is getting dirtier and some areas a lot of rubbish and litter. Not clean as it was before. It really isn’t that clean which it shouldn’t be.

Are you sure anything unusual is a risk? If its 5 years ago, I could believe you. But today when you talk to people, people are much more open to accept it. Lack of entrepreuneral spirit is present though. Risk appetitite is small. But accepting somethng unusual is getting more common. Higher expectations for design quality is present.

Singapore is one of the safest countries to live in. You could walk,swing in the middle of the night and no locals will bother about you. I hope it can remain that way. I don’t like to think I walk into a corner or street or train station , fearing if anyone would stab me or follow me. I wonder when the integrated resorts come up, if we could still have the peace here.

You need chaos in life. But too much off balanced chaos will not value add life. It complicates and damages life. There must be an optimallievel of discipline and there should be an optimal level for chaos to groom the kind of creativity that improves our lives.

Thats another topic and area to think about.

Yep, some great points made especially by cherry girl.

I just would like to add, you might need to manage your expectations though. Despite, Singapore’s push to be Asia’s creative hub, the mindset for design is still remarkably Asian.

I think it will be a long while before Asia can move to a level as the west in terms of how it will treats and deal with its designers.

In terms of working like a slave, lets be realistic here. A design consultancy in Asia and in the West is no different. If there is a job or work that needs to be done, it has to be done. Design work is about budgets and time lines, this is a fact of life, no matter which part of the world you are from.

by leaving.

don’t forget that you have to be married before you’re allowed to buy a flat.

Singapore is an awesome place to live, everything is there and salaries honestly are not bad. I’m from Singapore (went to school there) my parents both work there and are now Permanent residents (aka they can buy a house) Singaporeans are extremely friendly and accepting of outsiders.

All in all it is a great place to live, party, experience and especially meet singles. :slight_smile:

hi… im from KL,Mlysia.
i got a few offers from singapore b4 but concerning the pay vs living expenses… i dont think i’ll live well there…
dont get me wrong - most offers come with good salary infact twice or tripple from wht i earned in neighbouring Malaysia.

but expecting living expenses like renting, food etc… i rather be in my homeland where expenses are cut half compared to singapore.

anyways, singapore is a quite pleasent place to live n they’re having a good base in promoting design there.

i wish Kuala Lumpur can be more like singapore in terms of design welfare n global design eminance in future.

how to get job in singapore?

by starting to apply to companies there? got bunches of list :wink: