Since gaining its independence from Great Britain in the 1960s, Singapore has developed a roaring economy. It has become the 13th largest exporter in the world and boasts an open and corruption-free market economy, making it the financial and high-tech hub that it is today. With all the blossoming growth going on, interns in Singapore can expect to get a head start on working in a diverse and colorful community while enjoying the luxuries of staying in a country with easy access to the rest of Asia.
Because Singapore is a fast-paced economy, there is a broad range of opportunities for interns to find industries they are interested in. Interns in Singapore can choose from:
Banking and Financing:
In Southeast Asia, there is no place more suited for financing internships. Financing internships in Singapore are popular because of the many international banks, wealth management firms, and other financial institutions housed in Singapore. Due to its geographic location, 24-hour trading is highly used in Singapore, keeping interns on their feet and continually learning. Start your search with Asia Internship Program (AIP).
Electronics in Singapore are known for their quality and reliability, making it a key player in manufacturing, Research & Development, and distribution. Interning in Singapore with a focus in electronics promises to be exciting, with company headquarters such as STMicroelectronics, Murata Manufacturing Co., and Venturing Corporation.
In Singapore, biomedical sciences are continuing to grow as a work source for many people. Working in Singapore in biomedical sciences can involve research, clinical development, product development, manufacturing, and health-care services. Companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Aventis, Pfizer, and Baxter Inc. have set up manufacturing plants in Singapore to take advantage of talented individuals looking for work in Singapore.
Since tourism is a large part of Singapore’s economy, those looking to intern in the service sector will find many opportunities. The Singaporean government hopes to make the country a must-see destination. Interns can take up exciting and unique jobs in Singapore in business tourism, medical tourism, retail tourism, and much more. Absolute Internship has opportunities in over 25 sectors in Singapore, including tourism and hospitality
Singapore is a “global media city,” and expected growth for the entertainment and media is forecasted at 3.7%. The nation now houses offices from BBC, CNBC Asia, Discovery Channel Asia, MTV Asia, Walt Disney, Star Sports, and ESPN. Media in Singapore has been growing and would be an excellent place for anyone to get started in the international world of media today.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look for an Internship in Singapore:
While it is possible to find internships on your own, it’s useful to find an internship placement program that partners with companies throughout Singapore. Most companies, despite industry, will be headed in Singapore City and will offer internships year-round.
Visas for Interning in Singapore:
The Singapore Government offers a Work Holiday Pass (WHP) for undergraduates and graduates ages 17 to 30 to work for up to six months. The WHP is available for most institutions in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A full list can be found on the Ministry of Manpower's Website. This will be ideal for those looking for internships in Singapore. The fee is S$120.
Cost of Living in Singapore:
While interning in Singapore, there are a wide variety of living options for interns. Many expats choose to live in condominium style housing due to the large array of amenities such as pools, tennis courts, assured security, and socializing opportunities. These can vary in price based on location and age of the building (S$3,000 to $S15,000). Other options include private apartments (S$2,000 to S$4,000) and renting rooms (S$1,000 to S$2,000). For more information, see Guide Me Singapore.
Work Culture in Singapore:
- Etiquette: It is important to recognize that since 74.2% of Singapore’s population is Chinese, there is an emphasis on hierarchical relationships within the work environment. All employers and superiors must be treated with the utmost respect, including not disagreeing or disrespecting them in public. Try not to refer to co-workers by their first names, instead opting for Mr/Mrs/Miss followed by their surname or Sir/Madam/Boss. Also, follow “arrive before boss, leave after boss” practices. There is also a heavy emphasis on group efforts, and individual practices should not be brought up in group settings. 14% of the population of Singapore is Muslim. As a result, one should be respectful in regards to contact with the opposite sex and consuming non-halal products (pork, alcohol, etc.) in front of co-workers.
- Language: Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. However, English is regarded as the main language in Singapore and will be used in most formal work and business settings.
- Networking: There are two main organizations that can help interns in Singapore network for more opportunities. These are the Singapore Entrepreneurs Network (SEN) and BNI Singapore. These organizations can be very helpful for finding work and international connections in Singapore.
Work and Labor Laws in Singapore:
Many employers in Singapore will use employee contracts to outline duties, work hours, benefits, and termination. Many times internships are unpaid and provided non-monetary benefits like academic credit. There is no minimum wage in Singapore, but employees are required to be paid in a timely manner. For a paid internship, on average, interns can expect to be paid between S$600 - S$2,000. If an employee is earning less than S$2,000 per month, they are not allowed to work more than 8 hours per day or 44 hours per week.
Intern Programs in Singapore
Can international students do internships in Singapore?
Yes, international students are allowed to intern in Singapore during their studies as long as they have a visa that provides working rights. Students may have to apply to an additional visa or pass from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to be legally allowed to work.
How much are interns paid in Singapore?
Although many positions are unpaid in Singapore, an average paid internship can provide between S$600 - S$2,000 per month. If you are receiving non-monetary compensation or less than S$2,000 per month, your work hours are capped at 44 hours per week.
What languages are spoken in Singapore?
There are four main languages in Singapore including Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English. If you are an English-speaker or want to learn English, interning in Singapore can provide you the opportunity to work in a global company that conducts a lot of its business in English.
Where can I find an internship in Singapore?
There are many industries to choose from in Singapore, but several noteworthy fields include banking and financing, biomedical sciences, entertainment, electronics, and tourism.