The digital market in Singapore

Moving overseas to work can be exciting, but it’s a big decision. Our partner agency in Singapore has put together some answers to the most common questions people considering a move to Singapore ask.


What’s the market like out there?

Singapore is the multi-cultural gate way to the Far East and beyond. It is a hugely popular region for ex pats and locals alike which offers lower tax rates than the UK. The Digital market there has seen many UK candidates move either internally within a company or directly from competitors at a fast pace over the past 24 months. Mandarin and Cantonese are the most popularly spoken languages so anyone who can speak these are offered roles very quickly.

Similar to Dubai, the Singapore local market is relatively small with many people knowing each other, it has enjoyed rapid growth and it is considered the main base from which most APAC digital media accounts are coordinated. This means most Singapore based roles offer direct contact with offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Jakarta.

The digital industry is a smaller mirror image of many agencies in the UK so people looking to move will find that they are given a lot more responsibility and exposure to new accounts. Technology is still developing and there is sometimes an adjustment period with learning how business is conducted with Asian clients. Local employees also speak Mandarin/Cantonese so sometimes there is some frustration with communication, either with clients or internally, but English is still spoken within all the agencies.

How much experience do I need to get a job in Singapore?

Most candidates will need a minimum of two-three years experience as the client organises the Visa so they need more experience to justify the application.

Do I need to go to Singapore to interview?

No you don’t, Skype and video conferencing are the main methods of interviewing. Occasionally senior candidates are flown out to meet the team but most people accept the offer without visiting prior to starting.

How long does the whole process take?

Unless there is some delay internally within the company, the interviewing process usually takes up to three weeks so candidates shouldn’t be alarmed if an offer is made after the second skype interview. Once the offer is made then the client will start to organize the visa for which an attested degree certificate is needed. We often make candidates aware that they should have the degree ready before interviewing as being unable to locate it can delay the process quite a bit.

Is a move to Singapore a good way to broaden out my skills?

It depends on personal goals, a lot of applicants want to move to Singapore for very different reasons; they have visited the area before or they are single and want to leave the UK for a couple of years. It’s a perfectly placed base from which to travel extensively as well as being able to work at a global level.

Will I get relocations costs covered?

Depending on the level of role, usually yes. The relocation costs include: flight out to Singapore, two weeks paid accommodation by the employer and a return flight each year. Accommodation can be expensive if you want to remain quite central but obviously you can get more for your money if you chose to leave in the second or third zone.

Who covers the visa cost?

The client covers the costs of the visa. All you need to supply is a copy of your passport and an attested degree certificate.

What’s the client side market like out there?

The client side market is developing but most roles are agency side as this is where the business growth is and where UK skills are needed

How easy will it be for me to come back to the UK?

The experience is transferable. We’ve seen a number of candidates moving back and landing good roles at great agencies in the UK. Also, after working overseas, you will have multicultural experience and will have much more to offer to your new employer. The question is: would you actually want to move back?

What factors do I need to consider before I look for a job in the Singapore market?

  1. Am I ready to move away from my family and friends?
  2. What do I have to offer to a new employer and what do I expect career wise?
  3. Do I have any property, any other commitments, can I rent it out, sell?
  4. Why do I want to move to Singapore? It’s a long way away and the culture is very different to the UK

Are the digital jobs in Asia based in Singapore?

Mostly yes, although roles come up in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

What’s the most desired skillset?

Digital experience in demand comprises media planning and buying, ppc and seo. Social media and mobile are growing areas but these roles come up less frequently as the performance focused roles. If you are a Search Manager, Media Planner/buyer, SEO Manager then you’ll find a range of roles on offer to you. Mandarin or Cantonese speaking applicants from the UK will secure you a role extremely quickly.

Why would I want to move?

Singapore is the perfect melting pot of East meets West. A fusion of cultures and cuisines, you will be spoilt for choice. If you shop around you will find bargains but certain areas (similar to London) are more expensive. The lower rate of tax is appealing but also be aware that travel can be expensive at peak times during the summer so it’s wise to plan well in advance for any trips you want to take. Singapore offers a unique chance to work within digital, not just in a different country, but at a Global level. It will give your CV an edge and expose you to other emerging markets in the future. If you’d like more information about working in Singapore, just get in touch and we’ll put you in touch with one of our contacts who’s working out there now.