Singapore Moves Up The City Success Ladder

singapore best city to work live asia world

PWC announced its global ranking of the ‘Cities of Opportunity.’

This is an index that ranks the performance of cities, based on factors such as:

  • Cost of living.
  • Demographics and livability.
  • Ease of doing business.
  • Economic clout.
  • Health, safety and security.
  • Intellectual capital and innovation.
  • Sustainability.
  • Technology readiness.
  • Transportation and infrastructure.

In 2016, Singapore ranked second in the global opportunity index, and also maintained its position as the best center for business in Asia Pacific. 

Singapore ranked third overall in 2015 and seventh in 2012. So it has been steadily moving up the ladder. At the moment, it holds the top position globally for three factors:

  1. Transportation and infrastructure.
  2. Ease of doing business.
  3. Technology readiness.

Singapore also does well for having low and efficient tax rates/mechanisms. All of these factors continue to cement the city-state’s position as a great place to live and work.

The top 5 cities in the opportunity index are:

  1. London.
  2. Singapore.
  3. Toronto.
  4. Paris.
  5. Amsterdam.

How Many Asians Are Working Overseas And Will They Return?

popular jobs for asians

There are many people from South East Asia who are living and working away from home. A few of the main reasons for seeking employment overseas include higher compensation, greater/new exposure and career development opportunities.

As per a survey by the recruitment firm, Robert Walters, Vietnam has the most people working overseas, followed by Malaysia.

asians working overseas

Does this talent plan on returning home?

The majority are interested in returning to their home land because they want to care for their parents, live in a place/culture where they are most comfortable and to leverage their overseas experience to attain greater pay and career progression back home.

do asians want to work in home country

Which jobs/functions are the returning Asian talent most interested in?

popular jobs for asians

In you are planning on hiring Asian talent from overseas, what are the main things you need to consider?

jobs for asians

Robert Walters also recommends making it easy for them to return, by helping with shipping and housing search, and also by giving them time-off during the initial weeks to settle in.

The Best Companies To Work For In Asia Pacific (2016)

benefits of being a great employer in Asia

Aon Hewitt announced the best employers in Asia Pacific, based on a study/assessment it conducts.

Here are the organisations that made the cut in 2016.

Best Employers in Asia Pacific (Regional)

  • DBS Bank
  • American Express
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Resorts
  • FedEx Express Asia Pacific

Best Employers in Singapore

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia
  • American Express
  • DBS Bank
  • DHL Express
  • Far East Hospitality
  • Mundipharma
  • OCBC Bank

Best Employers in Hong Kong

  • AIA International
  • American Express
  • Baxter Healthcare
  • DBS Bank
  • DHL Express
  • McDonald’s Restaurants
  • The Ritz-Carlton

Best Employers in Thailand

  • Advanced Info Services
  • Advanced Contact Center
  • American Express
  • McThai
  • Mitr Phol Sugar Factory
  • Phyathai 3 Hospital
  • Swensen’s
  • Toyota Motor

Best Employers in India

  • AccorHotels
  • AGS Health
  • Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
  • Bajaj Finance
  • Becton Dickinson
  • Bharti Infratel
  • Blue Dart Express
  • DHL Express
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Reliance AMC

Best Employers in China

  • AIA
  • Bayer
  • DHL SinoTrans International Air Courier
  • Infinitus
  • McDonald’s
  • MSD China Holding
  • Novartis Group
  • Pfizer
  • Taikang Life Insurance
  • TheRitz-Carlton Hotels

Best Employers in Malaysia

  • OCBC Bank
  • S P Setia Bhd
  • FedEx Express
  • AbbVie
  • DHL Express
  • Great Eastern Life Assurance
  • Sunway Building Materials
  • Marriott International
  • American Express
  • First Solar
  • Starbucks

The study involves 3 components:

  • Employee Opinion Survey: which employees answer to indicate their satisfactions and engagement levels.
  • CEO Survey and Interview: a survey and interview with the CEO, to get their thoughts and plans for the business and people.
  • People Inventory: a survey about human resources practices, responded to by the HR department.

These tools are used to select the best employers, based on the following criteria:

best employers in asia 2016

The benefits of performing well on these criteria and many. But essentially, it all boils down to having happy, loyal and high performing employees. This leads to better earnings and profit.

benefits of being a great employer in Asia

Kickstarter Launches Its Crowd-Funding Platform in Singapore & HK

kickstarter launches in singapore hong kong asia

The crowd funding platform, Kickstarter, has launched in Singapore and Hong Kong. The company helps creative professionals, entrepreneurs and SMEs to develop/launch their products, by obtaining funding from individual investors.

Previously, people in Singapore/Hong Kong who were looking for funding through Kickstarter, had to use an overseas representative, have a physical address address and bank account in one of the supported regions (such as USA and UK), and were subject to tax regulations in the host country.

With the new development, creators can now start projects in Singapore/Hong Kong directly and raise funds in local currency. They will also be subject to local tax regulations.

So far, people in Singapore have spent approximately SGD 41 million, backing projects on the platform. As per Kickstarter, they are one of the biggest segments of backers globally.

Kickstarter will compete with local crowdfunding platforms such as MoolahSense and FringeBacker. For an indication of local projects active at the moment, have a look here – Singapore, Hong Kong.

This is good news for entrepreneurs/SMEs and backers in the region, since it will make the process easier. Kickstarter expects activity to pick-up due to the local launches.

Who’s The Happiest Of Them All? (In South East Asia)

happiest at work job asia

The online employment site, Jobstreet, complies what is known as the Happiness Index.

This index looks at how happy people are with their jobs in South East Asian countries, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, The Philippines and Thailand.

Filipinos have the highest rate of job satisfaction, with 73% stating that they are happy with their jobs. Next in line were Indonesians (71 percent), followed by Thai (61 percent), Vietnamese (60 percent) and people in Hong Kong (57 percent).

Scores for Singaporeans and Malaysians were the lowest, coming in at 48% and 47%, respectively.

Respondents were also asked how happy they are with their jobs on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely unhappy and 10 being extremely happy. Here are the ratings:

  • Philippines: 6.25
  • Indonesia: 6.16
  • Thailand: 5.74
  • Hong Kong: 5.54
  • Vietnam: 5.48
  • Malaysia: 5.22
  • Singapore: 5.09

So what makes people in The Philippines like their job? According to the report, the biggest contributors are good relations with colleagues, convenient location of work and the employer’s reputation. Factors that are the main cause of unhappiness include low salary, lack of benefits and dearth of training/learning opportunities.

In terms of happiness levels for different industries in The Philippines, here are the results (from happiest to least happy):

  • Government (6.66)
  • Education (6.53)
  • Oil (6.49)
  • Retail (6.08)
  • Banking & finance (6.03)
  • Business process outsourcing/call center (5.99)

Zika In Singapore – Background, Tips And Workplace Guidelines

zika virus in singapore workplaces guidelines

The Ministry of Health (MOH) recently confirmed 56 instances of the Zika virus, which were locally transmitted in Singapore.

All the affected individuals are residents or workers in the Sims Drive or Aljunied areas. Majority of the cases are foreign workers, who have been working at a construction site in 60 Sims Drive.

As per reports, 36 of the infected people have recovered fully, while the remaining are still infectious.

The Zika virus spreads via mosquitoes and therefore further transmission among the community is possible.

The MOH is working to ensure effective containment and has issued the following guidelines for managing the virus at workplaces in Singapore:

  • Companies should ask employees to monitor themselves for symptoms of the Zika virus, which include red eyes, fever, skin rashes, headaches and joint/muscle pains.
  • Individuals should take precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes at home or outdoors. It is important to monitor the presence of mosquitoes and use things like repellents and nets.
  • Pregnant employees, as well as their employers, must be especially vigilant with precautions and care.
  • Employers must take immediate action to prevent breeding of mosquitoes in the workplace and surrounding areas.
  • People who are symptomatic and have either traveled to an affected country in the last 14 days, or live/work in the Aljunied/Sims Drive areas, should get medical attention right away.

singapore zika virus

The Zika virus is spread through the bite of a species of mosquitoes known as Aedes. This species tends to bite aggressively during the day time, but can also bite at night.

Zika is typically a mild infliction and can cause a viral fever, similar to dengue. However, it is a cause for concern for pregnant women, since it can pass to the fetus and cause birth defects.

At the moment, there is no vaccine for the Zika virus. Have a look at the infographic below for some more details.

singapore zika virus infographic: prevention, symptoms and treatment

Continued Rise In Master’s Degrees And Students In Singapore

singapore universities masters degrees

Local universities in Singapore have been working to increase the number of master’s level programmes they offer and also the size of student intakes.

For example, the National University of Singapore (NUS) enrolled 5,100 students for masters degrees last year, which is around 7% more than in 2011. Approximately 50% of these students were local.

NUS added 11 master’s programmmes since 2011 and at the moment it has 114 programmes.

Singapore Management University had 12 master’s programmes in 2010, which it has increased to 21. It had an intake of 300 students in 2011 and the number increased to 700 in 2015. Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents comprised about one third of the intake.

Nanyang Technological University currently offers approximately 70 master’s programmes and had an intake of 1,700 students last year.

According to the universities, they have been adding programmes based on the skill gaps Singapore is facing and take into account strategic growth areas for the nation. Some of the recent degree areas added include:

  • Chemistry for Energy and Environment.
  • International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution.
  • Translation and Interpretation.
  • Human Capital Leadership.
  • Applied Research in Social Sciences.
  • Gerontology.
  • Science in Innovation.
  • Enterprise Business Analytics.

Fancy Working At The Best Performing Companies In Asia Pacific?

best performing companies in asia 2016

In case our report on the best brands in Singapore wasn’t enough for you, how about a ranking of the highest performing blue-chip companies in Asia?

Perhaps one of these titans could be the place where you work next?

The ranking is complied by Forbes, who aim to arrive at a list of corporate stars in the region, through the following process:

  • The starting point is a total of 1,524 public firms, who have yearly revenue of at least $1.7 billion.
  • These firms are then narrowed down to those who are profitable and whose revenue is greater than it was five years back.
  • Companies with more than 50% government ownership are then taken out of the list.
  • Those with debt ratio of greater than 50%, or those who have a listed parent company as the majority owner, are also out of the running.
  • And finally, the remaining few are evaluated based on a slew of financial indicators/measures.

And that gives us the best companies in Asia Pacific!

22 firms from China met the criteria, the most out of all countries in the region. Alibaba was one of the 22 and made it to the list for the first time in 12 years.

Here are the top 10 firms in Asia Pacific

best companies in asia 1

best companies in asia 2

For the entire list of 50 firms who made the cut in 2016, along with other details and analysis, head over to the Forbes website.

Would You Like To Work For The Best Brands In Singapore?

best companies in singapore

Many of us want to work for an employer that has a great/strong brand.

In case you’re wondering which Singaporean companies have the strongest brands, a report by Brand Finance Asia Pacific has the answers.

DBS maintained its position and the best and most valuable brand in Singapore. It has been the best brand for four years in a row.

OCBC came in second place (up from 4th last year) and UOB took the 3rd spot (up from 5th last year).

This is the first year where the top 3 places are all taken by banks.

According to Samir Dixit, Managing Director at Brand Finance Asia Pacific – “Though the financial services sector is not a leading category for brand value dominance, Singapore has defied this trend, indicating both the importance of the banking sector in the region as well as the lack of concentrated brand building efforts by other brands.”

Singapore Airlines and Wilmar Industries were in 4th and 5th places respectively.


  1. DBS Group Holdings.
  2. OCBC Bank.
  3. United Overseas Banks.
  4. Singapore Airlines.
  5. Wilmar International.
  6. Singtel.
  7. Great Eastern Holdings.
  8. Keppel Corporation.
  9. Frasers Centrepoint.
  10. Sembcorp Industries.

most valuable brands employers in singapore 2016

For more details you can view the entire report here.

63% Of Working Women In Malaysia Give-Up Their Career For Family

working women jobs malaysia

According to the Women, Family and Community Ministry, 63 percent of women between the ages of 23 and 39 in Malaysia, leave their jobs after having children.

“They are in their prime. Most resign to comply with their husband’s wishes to stay at home and look after their children.

This has derailed the government’s efforts to have 59% of women in the labour force by 2020,” said Minister Rohani Karim.

Currently, the 55% of women in Malaysia are part of the working population. Approximately 70% of women attend local universities, with the majority registering in social sciences and arts courses.

This shows that there is a mis-match between the number of female graduates and those that end up working. Also they tend to earn less than men, who lean towards higher paying courses such as engineering.

Do You Trust Your Employer And Colleagues?

business trust colleagues

Not surprisingly, a workplace without trust brings about disengaged, unproductive, and non-innovative employees.

A recent survey by EY has shown that employees who have a high level of trust are happier, stay at the company longer, are more engaged, and more inclined to recommend their workplace to others.

The survey polled almost 10,000 full-time employees worldwide. People, age 19 to 68, were asked to rate their level of trust in their companies. Less than half (46 percent) stated that they placed “a great deal of trust” in their companies. 39 percent stated that they had “some trust,” while 15 percent had “very little or no trust at all.”

Those who answered “very little or no trust at all,” were then asked about the biggest complaint about their employer. The most cited reasons were: Unfair employee compensation, lack of equal opportunity for pay and promotion, lack of strong senior leadership, a high level of voluntary or involuntary employee turnover, and a non-collaborative work environment.

While the results of the study show a lack of trust in leadership, only 49 percent of those surveyed felt a “great deal of trust” for their co-workers.

The group placing the least amount of trust with their employers was Generation X (born between 1960 and 1980). Only 41 percent of Gen X-ers admitted to having “a great deal of trust” in their employer. The main reason cited for the lack of trust was unfair employee compensation (54 percent).

The women surveyed showed a more pronounced tendency to be influenced by a lack of trust. 44 percent of women, compared with 40 percent of men responded that they would look for other employment because of their employer trust issues. Pay (61 percent) and promotion opportunities (52 percent) were more important trust factors for women.

The results of another study showed that younger generations, especially those in Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015), were influenced by their parent’s workplace experiences. Again, workplace trust played a major part for respondents. For a majority of Gen Z’ers the workplace experiences of a parent or guardian had a significant positive impact on the amount of trust they expected to have for future employers.

The workplace issues cited as future reasons for a greater lack of trust for Gen Z’ers were: lack of pay raises, lack of trust or dislike of boss, job dissatisfaction, and dislike or lack of trust for company executives.

‘Inner Resignation’ Faced By Over Half Of Singaporean Firms

singapore employee mentally absent

Research released by the recruitment specialist Robert Half  reveals that a majority of companies in Singapore (57 percent) are hurt by staff who are physically on site but mentally drifting and disengaged i.e. absent.

Sixty-eight percent of large and medium sized companies report noticing this, though at small organizations the figure drops to 32 percent.

At bigger companies only 33 percent of CFO’s (Chief Financial Officers) state that their corporations are without employees who have such ‘inner resignation.’ In contrast, 68 percent of finance directors at SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) note they are free from mental absentees among their staff.

Business Strategies to Foster Alert and Engaged Employees

Almost all finance heads (97 percent) employ multiple strategies to prevent mental disengagement among employees.

67 percent of businesses utilize employee appreciation, tangible rewards, and praise and recognition to keep interest and alertness at work high.

Forty-nine percent of companies foster open dialogue between managers and workers, with 35 percent encouraging honest feedback about making decisions to stay or leave the company.

Strategies to Prevent Employee Mental Drift and Disengagement

Employee appreciation, rewards, and recognition 67%
Open communication and feedback 49%
Fit the employees to the right jobs 47%
Offer personal growth, development, and training 35%
Avoid undue company pressure on employees 25%
Promote top performers 21%
Use internal surveys of employee life 14%


Comments by David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific

David noted that the phenomenon of mental absenteeism often goes unnoticed, especially where workers are out from under immediate supervision.

“Employers need to be more vigilant in looking for signs that an employee is mentally disengaged, such as a lack of motivation for bonuses or advancement or a drop in productivity,” says Jones. An answer is to let staff know they can freely state concerns without fear.

The employer should address employee concerns early to prevent mentally checking out from work at hand. Employees themselves need to identify their own lack of job satisfaction and discuss this openly during performance reviews. “If the issue cannot be resolved then they are better off seeking a new job” than staying on unhappy.

Robert Half’s tips for employers and employees to solve mental absenteeism:

For employers:

  1. Let employees confidently express their views and opinions.
  2. Give constructive feedback.
  3. Be interested in your employees; address complaints with all seriousness.
  4. Build unity around common corporate goals.
  5. Build a positive office work culture.
  6. Pay sufficient salaries.

For employees:

  1. Do set personal work and achievement goals.
  2. Challenge yourself to perform higher and better.
  3. Do say what needs to be said.
  4. Share with your supervisor how best to motivate you.