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Hire Employees in Singapore - Overview

Historically, Singapore has been seen as the 'gateway' between east and west. It not only provides businesses with easy access to a range of prosperous asian markets, it is an excellent source of global talent.

Professionals from all over the world move to Singapore to take advantage of its superb geographical location, modern infrastructure and worker-friendly tax system (second in the world for ease of business). Here we explain everything you need to know about hiring employees in Singapore.

Facts & Stats

Population

5.98 million (3.53 million workforce)

Capital City

Singapore

Languages Spoken

English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil

Currency

Singapore Dollar (SGD)

GDP per capita

340 billion USD

Ease of Doing Business

2nd in the world

Minimum Wage

No statutory minimum wage (for most industries)

Average Wage

SGD 5,847 per month (2022)

Paid Leave

7 days

Singapore: Business Environment

Business outlook

Singapore’s economy has displayed signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2022, outperforming similar economies with growth of 4.4% on a year-on-year basis. While its GDP growth forecast for the year has been narrowed from 3% to 5% to 3% to 4%, it is forecast to outperform most other developed economies.  

Business regulation

The Employment Act 1968 (Employment Act) is Singapore’s main labor law which sets out the basic terms and working conditions for employees and applies to both nationals and foreign nationals working in Singapore, with certain exceptions. As an employer, it is important to understand your legal responsibilities before hiring in Singapore.

Employment contracts for employees covered by the Act should be drafted in accordance with it making provisions for matters such as paid leave, working hours, sick leave, paternity leave, termination notice periods and so on. For more information, take a look at our Singapore PEO page for more details on Singapore labor laws.

Business culture

Known as one of the Four Asian Tigers, Singapore is strongly shaped by its competitive work ethic and motivated workforce. The culture also shows great respect for elders, and this extends to business matters where the hierarchy of age and position are observed. During meetings or negotiations, the oldest or most senior person should be spoken to or introduced first. 

Allow for some social conversation before addressing business matters and avoid the need to fill in moments of silence. Singaporeans may take some seconds to speak as they are contemplating what has been said. 

Meetings in Singapore tend to be formal and reserved and move at a slower pace compared to Western countries and a  calm, polite, and patient demeanor is recommended during negotiations. Decisions are often made after consultations with head office and a group consensus is reached resulting in a lengthy negotiation process.

Punctuality is expected and is seen as a sign of respect. Be sure to call if you are running late and apologize for your tardiness.

If you are considering doing business in Singapore it is important to be aware of some of the cultural differences in business relations beforehand.

Recruiting employees in Singapore

Recruiting employees in Singapore – Overview

Most medium-sized to large firms in Singapore rely on employment/recruitment agencies to find the right candidates. Other common recruiting methods include posting vacancies on internet job websites and placing newspaper advertisements in popular publications such as The Straits Times.

Campus recruitment at Singapore’s universities and polytechnics as well as job fairs are another way employers hire employees as it allows them access to a large pool of potential candidates and the opportunity to conduct on-the-spot interviews.

To make the process easier, our global PEO services can help you find the perfect candidate for the job.

 

3 most important recruitment tools in Singapore

  • Randstad (https://www.randstad.com.sg/)
  • Randstad is one of Singapore’s leading recruitment agencies which also provides outsourcing services such as payroll, recruiting strategies and employer branding.
  • JobStreet (https://www.jobstreet.com.sg/)
  • JobStreet is one of the most popular job sites in Singapore and according to Forbes, is  now Southeast Asia’s largest online employment company.
  • LinkedIn (https://sg.linkedin.com/)
  • The Skills Path is a job-matching initiative on LinkedIn Singapore that aims to match job seekers based on their skill set rather than experience.

Interviewing employees in Singapore

Interviewing employees in Singapore – Overview

Interviews at management level are usually conducted one-on-one although larger multinational forms may conduct group interviews during recruitment exercises. Although many companies in Singapore are embracing behavioral-type questions aimed at assessing an employee’s abilities, some interviewers may ask questions regarding a candidate’s wellbeing, background, and even common acquaintances.

It is not uncommon for some interviews to be more hands-on and begin with a practice test where an employer assesses the candidate’s technical aptitude for the work.

Can I ask the candidate’s previous salary in Singapore?

Although it is legal for an employer to ask this question, job seekers are not required to declare this information to employers.

What is the typical salary increase at a new job in Singapore?

On average, candidates can expect a salary increase of 20% when starting a new job.

Onboarding employees in Singapore

Onboarding employees in Singapore – Overview

Employee onboarding in Singapore will vary depending on the organization and the nature and culture of the business. For some organizations, onboarding may be a one-day process while for others it could stretch to a year.

Steps should be taken to make the new employee feel welcomed with introductions being made to members of their team. Enough time should be allocated to explain the nature of their role, setting clear expectations, and familiarizing them with relevant company policies and procedures. In addition, adequate training and support should be given and the opportunity to ask questions or further clarification.

Best remote working tools to use in Singapore

Below are three remote working tools to help employers to track the progress of their employees and increase productivity:

  • Google Drive: Google Drive is a cloud storage tool that can help organizations easily access and share files. It also offers a range of office applications such as Google Docs and Google Sheets.
  • Zoom: This communication tool allows staff to hold online team meetings over video or audio calls and enables the hosting of live webinars, video demos, online training and more.
  • Asana: This project management tool allows employees to to create tasks, projects and workflows for themselves, clients and teams. This reduces time spent on matters such as writing emails and having meetings.

Holiday Schedule in Singapore [2022]

Singapore has 11 public holidays in a year. For 2022 the dates are as follows:

  • Jan 1 → New Year’s Day
    Feb 1 – Feb 2 → Chinese New Year
    Apr 15 → Good Friday
    May 1 → Labor Day
    May 3 → Hari Raya Puasa
    May 15 → Vesak Day
    Jul 10 → Hari Raya Haji
    Aug 9 → National Day
    Oct 24 → Deepavali
    Dec 25 → Christmas Day

What is the typical salary increase employees in Singapore expect?

When changing jobs in Singapore, an employee can expect an average increase of 20% in their salary.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ):

This depends on the nature of the work. A freelancer may be more appropriate for short-term, project based work and can be hired on a fixed term contract as and when required. This can also be more cost-effective as you only need to hire a freelancer when there is a lack of resources internally, making them the ideal choice for organizations with a more limited budget. On the other hand, employees may be more reliable as they are likely to show greater commitment to their work and the company overall.

Yes, foreigners can be hired under an Employment Pass (EP), Special (S) Pass or work permit, however, Singapore labor laws only allow Singaporeans and permanent residents to legally work as freelancers in Singapore.

Horizons can help you to quickly and compliantly hire employees in Singapore without the need to open a local subsidiary or branch. You can find out more by clicking here.

To hire a Singaporean employee, you must apply for a CPF Submission Number (CSN) to make CPF contributions as an employer.  You can advertise vacancies on various online platforms such as JobStreet, LinkedIn, or Indeed and through recruitment agencies such as Randstadt and Manpower. 

Draft an offer letter and employment contract for the employee to sign and have an employment lawyer review it to make sure it is compliant with the requirements of the Employment Act.

Horizons specializes in the strategic recruitment of qualified local and international talent to help drive your global expansion. With an extensive network in a number of major cities, Horizons has the local expertise needed to fast-track your expansion in Singapore. Find out more about our International Recruitment.

Hiring in Singapore, Made Easy

Your business can easily hire employees in Singapore without opening a local entity. We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 150+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.

$290/month

Per employee

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