What high paying career should I choose in Singapore?

Some people say that Singapore is one of the most stable global economies in the world. Many people also say that many US & European MNCs like to base their regional headquarters in Singapore due to the ease of doing business in general.

However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies in sunny Singapore (unless of course, you count the moth invasion in 2014).

One issue many expats (& locals) have with working in Singapore is the cost of living.

To give you a general idea of what I’m talking about:

  • A new family car can easily cost more than 100,000 USD (and you have to scrap it after 10 years or pay another XX,000 USD to keep it another 10 years).
  • What about a new, less than 400cc motorcycle? More than 15,000 USD.
  • Purchasing a 5 room public housing apartment can easily cost half a million USD and that’s not an option for expats.
  • A simple meal can cost about 5 USD even if you find yourself in some simple canteen in an industrial park.
  • Parking charges in some CBD areas can go in excess of 4 USD per hour.

Taking the above into consideration, obviously, salary packages in Singapore have to get really high to attract top-tier foreign talents into the country.

But before you leave your current job to jump to Singapore, let’s look at five jobs in Singapore that pay really well.

Choosing between 5 High Paying Jobs In Singapore:

1.) Specialist Medical Practitioner

In Singapore, a specialist medical practitioner or surgeon in even a small private hospital can average a monthly salary of about S$20,000 or more. As you gain years of experience, this number can increase exponentially. Becoming a specialist will require an extensive amount of education and training (both time and cost) but can be well worth it when you are making over S$240,000 a year.

Like most things in Singapore, the medical practice industry is highly regulated. You will need to convince the authorities that you are indeed fit, knowledgeable, and well qualified enough to administer life-saving medicines.

Foreign degrees in medicine can be recognized, but you may want to check with the Singapore Medical Council first before applying for such jobs in Singapore.

2.) An Advocate Or Solicitor

Lawyers in Singapore can make some big bucks. The average monthly salary for criminal lawyers is close to S$18,000 which averages to about S$200,000 a year. Like in most countries, keeping people out of jail is big business. Singapore’s judiciary system metes out punishments ranging from fines, jail terms, and death by hanging for various offenses, and there is always some idiot out there who followed through on a bad idea and got caught. In fact, you should be able to find a fair share of such idiots.

With corruption being nearly unheard of in Singapore, the only chance some criminals have at staying out of jail or not finding themselves hanging off the business end of several yards of rope – is to throw everything in their bank accounts at some skillful lawyer who just might be able to put up a convincing argument in Court to secure a more lenient sentence. I would not bet or bank on this though.

Aside from criminal law, Marine law & Contract law are popular niches in Singapore.

With all that being said, freshly minted lawyers may find it hard to get a good-paying placement in law firms at the beginning of their careers and may have to start off working for meager allowances, but like most things in life – persistence pays off.

3.) CEO Or Managing Director

If you are looking for somewhere to relocate and you have experience as a CEO you may want to search out some job positions in Singapore. The average monthly income for CEO’s in Singapore is often over S$15,000 per month. Each company will have a different structure and system in place to dictate the specific jobs duties of the CEO and the size of the company will have an effect on the amount you can expect to get paid. But, even small companies can sometimes offer up to S$180,000 in yearly income if you include all bonuses and stock options.

They say it’s lonely at the top though.

4.) University Lecturer

Becoming a University Lecturer will require you to obtain a master’s degree in your chosen field of specialty. University lecturers with high academic qualifications can make close to S$120,000 a year. Even university lecturers with limited work experience can make a handsome income by teaching part-time courses in private schools.

To get started, you would generally have to design your curriculum and do some self-promotion to convince people that they should pay you to learn from you.

However, do note that teaching comes with all the “benefits” of having to deal with children and their children’s problems and marking their homework over weekends.

5.) Financial/Insurance advisor

Depending on your level of persistence and salesmanship, a population dense country like Singapore is an ideal place to get involved in financial advisory services. Distance between clients is short and it is easy to get referrals once you do a good job with a bunch. There are even cold calling services you can hire to quickly expand your client base. Licensing requirements are clearly defined by the Monetary Authority in Singapore.

Some insurance companies even include a monthly salary package for the first year or two of apprenticeship!

On the flip side, most Singaporeans, in general, have already been approached countless times by countless advisors to “review their current plans”. Some advisors can get pretty unscrupulous and dish out manipulative advice to churn sales. Some of them can get pretty persistent too. So you can expect less than fantastic returns on cold calling efforts and will need to find some other way to drive referrals.

Obviously, there are other lucrative career options in sunny Singapore. You could always fly over and start a business. But labor laws in Singapore are pretty intense and the employment (including self-employment) of foreigners must be done with an appropriate work permit. So before you make any hasty decisions – check out Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower website to understand the permits required before you start anything business activities in Singapore.