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Thursday January 24th 2019

Singaporeans can also be foreign talent

Chinese chef at work in Qatar
Many of us thought that one can be an expatriate only if he  is highly educated, highly specialised or highly connected. That’s true for most expatriate postings for many  countries in the world. Things, however, are a little different in the Middle East.

Oil rich countries in the Middle East, such as those in GCC, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE are highly dependent on an external workforce. 8 out of 10 workers in these countries is an expatriate. In the Middle East, anyone in the labor force that is not a local is termed an expatriate. In other words, an expatriate can be a construction worker, a technician, an engineer or  a CEO.

What does that means to  Singaporeans, especially those who are unemployed, retrenched, over 40 or structurally unemployable? A lot.

Firstly, it means almost any Singaporean can be an expatriate too.

Were you formerly a photocopier technician,  IT support specialist,   logistic specialist,   cabling engineer,   bank backroom officer,   civil engineer and   see how your job specialty has vanished over the years, taken over by ‘foreign talent’  or simply had your wages depressed over the years?

Well, you may be able to find your glory days again.

You see, in the Middle East, there are expatriate positions available even for mundane positions such as graphic artists, civil servant, technicians, retail shop managers, electricians, nurses, hotel concierge and pastry chefs. There are positions available across all industries and up and down the hierarchy chain.

An expatriate position means you get a pay higher than your home country, a housing allowance and air tickets to fly home at least once a year. Not too bad especially if you are unemployed or over 40s  and finding it difficult to get any employment  in Singapore.

Of course, before considering such opportunities, you must be aware that the Middle East is hot, has minimal social and entertainment choices, is restrictive towards pork and alcohol and frankly, damn boring.

You will also need to work with multinational colleagues; many whom will not share the same aggressive work culture and mentality as Singaporeans. Your colleague could be an American, a Lebanese, an Indian or a Filipino.

Will you be able to take such a varied cultural lifestyle? Are you sure you can leave your friends and family behind? Will you be able to fit into a strange environment and culture?

If your answer is Yes, then have a good hard evaluation of your own educational and working experience. The super opportunities and high=salaried jobs  in the Middle East go to the oil and gas, banking, finance, utilities, aviation and shipping-related sectors. Salary may not be as super but good opportunities also exist in the  food and beverage, hospitality, building and construction, government, IT, education and facility management industries.

Next, start to look for a job.

The internet is your best friend. Start with Middle East job portals. Look up MNCs and see if they have Middle East openings. Look up Singapore job portals that has overseas employment opportunities. Check with friends or acquaintances that has Middle Eastern experience. Write to the local Middle Eastern hospital, hotel, school, government agencies HR department and check if they have an opening. You’ll be surprised that your chances may be good as these institutions are looking for people all the time.

The jobs are there. How quickly or how best you can find one depends on how hard you search for them. Do not be lazy. Fruits nor job offers do not simply drop from the trees.

And when you do find a job, do not forget to drop a note to thank Gilbert or myself for letting you know about Middle East opportunities. And there’s really no need to boast to anyone that you’re a ‘foreign talent’.  They’re everywhere!

This article is contributed by a reader of He is currently working in the Middle East and would like to let more Singaporeans be aware of job opportunities in the Middle East.  Singaporeans can also be  ‘foreign talent’ outside  their own country too! Check out his blog at:

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11 Responses to “Singaporeans can also be foreign talent”

  1. Johan Anderson says:

    Most of my friends own businesses in Singapore. Their usual complaints about employed Sporeans were most of them are a bunch of lazy jackasses, whom equipped with loudmouths, self-centered and inconsiderated manners. Worst of all, they demand for high salary even though their skills were not up to par… So, stop being an idiot to think that by hiring Sporeans you are doing what best for the country. Stop being an idiot by listen to the opposition parties who like to attack on the ruling party. They are not smart…Their real motive is to create racial tension between different ethic groups for their own selfish interest. They are trying to destroy Singapore…

  2. ME Man says:

    Quote: “Their usual complaints about employed Sporeans were most of them are a bunch of lazy jackasses, whom equipped with loudmouths, self-centered and inconsiderated manners. Worst of all, they demand for high salary even though their skills were not up to par…”

    I think you are absolutely right about the dis-qualities of some Singaporeans. Certainly sound very much what has been described of people in the civil service, GLCs or maybe even the government?

  3. Expat PR says:

    Having been here in SG for 2 years plus, I have to agree that there are some Singaporeans who make it difficult to want to hire them again. Yes there are some that work hard, sadly though, they are the minority. My experience is that many find the positions beneath them expecting because they have college or a degree that they should immediately be considered for the executive position or have all benefits such as mobile, expense card, travel etc. Even in Australia, people with degrees have to start at the bottom and work their way up. What we do not tolerate in Australia is this “Urgent Leave” rubbish and “MC” for what is clearly to management just another excuse to have a day off at Sentosa or recover from the partying at Clarke Quay. The other disturbing fact is that having scheduled an interview for a Singaporean, they decide to not show up or in many instances are late. My success rate in hiring Singaporeans (my first preference) is less than 10% – honestly – and I pay well above the market rate for the customer service staff I do in the contact centre… 2500 basic vs 1700 for your other contact centres here. Oh and I provide full medical and dental too as well as ++’s and CPF. the Malay, Hong Kong, China & HK originating staff are happy – very happy as are the couple of Singaporean’s that have deigned to accept a position and we promote internally, several already assosciate managers, team leaders and managers in their own right and very few of them have degrees such as are routinely held by Singaporeans yet they are all PR’s (doing their NS as well) and a coupe are becoming Citizens too. I can guarentee you that the people I have promoted to Manager are earning more that their aloof degree bound Singaporean counterparts who insist on focusing on the banking sector. Yes I manage an MNC here. Yes I WANT to hire Singaporeans but flaming well apply for the job and show up for the interview. I care more about your passion for working and getting ahead than your petty entitlements. ALL Ang Mo’s here know about the MOM laws and comply with them to the letter. ALL Singaporean’s know how to “Have” urgent leave and extra MC for rubbish reasons so my advice is don’t be so hung up on yourselves, get on with promoting what you can do for me as an employer and sell me on the extra’s that you can bring to the table. I might only be advertising for a Call Centre Agent, but can use your Marketing, Business, Economics, Science or Computer Degree at some time in the future in a position aligned to that qualification with the appropriate remuneration. You may even, observing from the ground up see an opportunity for me to action which will get the appropriate recognition as well… Start small but Think TALL and do the things that most Singaporean’s refuse to do.
    And before you flame this post, I employ over 100 people here in Singapore – 214 regionally and promote people to positions both within Singapore – throughout the Asia region and also to Europe and the US… sounds like an employer of choice to be honest yet no-one from Singapore applied for 3 senior Manager level positions with a basic of 7.5k here for 6 months (even with Headhunters looking) so I had to get someone from overseas for my last post, the other two being internal promotions.

    • Expat PR says:

      I should also mention that genuine MC (people DO get sick) is always accepted but we CAN tell the difference. We expect you to look after yourselves and have health and wellness programs twice monthly yet the attendance records show that not one of my 16 Singaporean Nationals staff has ever attended… makes you think.

      • NOah says:

        I am truly intrigue. if what you say is true about your offer and NO Singaporean takes it up… give me the details , and let see if you walk the talk or just….

        contact me

        And yes, I am a Singaporean with no degree but enough working experience globally,and not shy of starting from the start line again.

        Back to you now Mate.

  4. NOah says:

    Expat PR……

    Still no response???

    Whats the deal??

  5. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all of us you actually understand what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally visit my website =). We could have a hyperlink exchange arrangement among us

  6. mIKE says:

    e2i and the Ministry of Manpower regularly advertise jobs for singaporeans… these are the kind of jobs for singaporeans?? hospital attendant, security guard, kitchen helper, sweeper, delivery drivers, patient care services (amah), carpark cashiers,,,,, etc

  7. jj says:

    For the 2011 GE, PAP only lost one Aljunied GRC. This cause some panic to them, so they agreed to ministerial pay review with some money cut. Before that PAP kept arguing that it is important to pay high wage to keep talents in the government.

    Wages for bus drivers are low but SBS is reluctant to increase it untill now. The basic pay of their drivers is now $1600. Now even the foreign maids are entitled to one day off per week start from next year. All these wouldn’t be possible if WP didn’t won over the Aljunied GRC.

    Recently, MOM & NTUC kept saying they will help the lowly-paid workers in various sectors to have better pay & working conditions but i haven’t seen much improvement yet. From what i saw are PAP still stress on the important of university education, upgrading training, productivity, foreign talents & foreign workers…blah blah blah. PAP still resist calls for major changes from the people.

    The most lethal weapon & maybe the only weapon we the people has is the GE. Only when PAP lose some more GRCs then they will fear again & agree to make more changes.

    • SAF says:

      You’re right that we tell PAP our miserable conditions in the next elections, but that is 4 years away! Will I be jobless for that long? I really regret voting for PAP, as their recent policies have nothing but pain and misery for me. Hope can live that long…

  8. edwardsimon says:

    its hard to find knowledge about this Job Openingz – Online Job Portal thank you for this

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