Singapore at a Glance
Working in Singapore
Well over 100,000 expats are currently working in Singapore, and more than 7,000 multinational companies operate in the small island state in Southeast Asia. Singaporeans have been working hard to transform the former British colony into a prosperous independent state and a regional center of the finance, trade and high-tech industries.
Employees in Singapore are contributing to the country’s continuing success story. After two years of negative growth during the global crisis, the city state returned to the economic stage as the world´s fastest-growing economy in 2010, although this growth has slowed down since.
The country is often described as the world´s logistic hub. It provides a stable base for international companies that want to expand into the Asian market – both cause and effect of the high numbers of foreigners in Singapore.
Singapore has a highly developed, knowledge-based economy focusing on export as well as refining imported goods. The fact that Singapore holds majority of the global market for oil refinery and equipment is little known. Tiger Balm, on the other hand, also made in Singapore, conquered the world quite a while ago.
Multinational companies play an important role in Singapore´s economy. Siemens’s production of hearing aids, for example, which satisfies 30% of global demand, is mainly done by employees working in Singapore.
A well-established network of private enterprise and government-linked companies seems to be working in favor of Singapore’s economic development. Two sovereign wealth funds, Temasek Holdings and the Government Investment Corporation, act as the investment arm of the government, holding stakes in big national and international companies.
This swift recovery of a nation relying heavily on export has been facilitated by what might be seen as one of Singapore´s limitations. The relatively small workforce of about 3.6 million Singaporeans in 2012 allows for a flexible, open and innovative economy which can react promptly to a change in global market conditions.
The government invests a lot in one of its biggest assets, the Singaporean people. A combination of a good educational system and a competitive, business-friendly environment fosters homegrown talent. In addition, it also attracts and retains foreign business and highly-skilled foreign-born individuals to Singapore.
People working in Singapore´s new technologies sector, including clean tech and bio technologies, regularly profit from government investment. Over 2,000 scientists, researchers, technicians, and administrators are currently working in Singapore´s Biopolis, an international research and development facility for biomedical sciences.
Most people working in Singapore are employed in one of the main industries, including electronics, oil and gas, financial services, shipping and chemicals. Medical and IT professionals are in high demand. To find out which professions have a need for new employees, refer to the Ministry of Manpower.
Tourism and the Medical Sector
Healthcare is one of Singapore´s major sectors. Hundreds of thousands of “medical tourists” are treated by doctors and nurses working in Singapore every year. Conventional tourism also plays an important role, creating plenty of jobs for both skilled and unskilled employees working in Singapore. Again, the government has been working hard to transform Singapore from a popular stop-over point into a tourist destination in its own right. In an attempt to attract more tourists and to make the city a more attractive place for foreigners, the state has even legalized gambling and introduced casinos.
You can also check out our extended article on the Economy of Singapore for a more in-depth look at economic opportunities and the recent challenges.