Singapore Is Now An Attractive Employee Destination

Image credit: iStockphoto/allensima

The pandemic is influencing how employees see their favorite destination for employment.

It is a key conclusion from the 2021 “Decoding Global Talent” report created by SEEK Asia, The Network, and Boston Consulting Group. The report surveyed 208,807 respondents across 190 countries. JobStreet and JobsDB are part of SEEK Asia.

One country rising in popularity for attracting foreign talent is Singapore, despite the various new measures the island state introduced to protect local jobs.  The island state is now the eighth most attractive destination in 2020, climbing from 18th position in 2018. As a city, it is 7th.

Which employees feel the lure to work in Singapore? According to the report, the top countries include Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and China. Ranked 10, Switzerland featured as the only European country where employees want to emigrate for Singapore employment.


Singapore has always been an appealing work destination for global talent. Other than robust international trade and investment, the country’s digital infrastructure, political stability, and innovation culture make it attractive, cites the report. However, Singapore’s ability to manage the pandemic and restart its economy is also becoming an appealing factor, especially for PMETs (professionals, managers, executives, and technicians).

Peter Bithos, chief executive officer of SEEK Asia, believes more Asian countries will become attractive as more jobs become available in the region.

“Since Q4 2020, we observed an average of 28% growth in job openings compared to the peak of COVID-19 in Q2 of 2020 across the seven countries that we operate in — Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Currently, there are more than 208,000 jobs available in our database, signaling an encouraging recovery for Asia-Pacific countries,” observes Bithos.

The top 10 countries from where PMETs, specifically in the digital field, would like to come to Singapore include China (5th), Qatar (6th), United Arab Emirates (8th), and Switzerland (10th). These talents demand a high quality of life, and Singapore’s standard of living and working matches that of their home countries.

While more foreign employees want to work in Singapore, Singaporeans are less willing to move abroad.

Back in 2014, 79% of the Singaporean respondents wished to work overseas. In 2020, the number dropped to 44%.

If they do move, Singaporeans prefer a location in the Asia Pacific. Australia remains the top destination. But while in 2014, the U.S. and the U.K. ranked second and third respectively, they were replaced by China and Taiwan as the respective top two for 2020. New Zealand takes fourth place.

Singaporeans prefer to work in countries that have emerged as role models for COVID-19 management. 

Remote working is also adding an additional dimension to working in a foreign country, the report highlights. Highly-educated employees are now willing to seek employment in another country while staying in their home country or moving to another destination.

“COVID-19 has engendered a new kind of mobility — virtual mobility,” Bithos explains. “According to the report, 57% of respondents now say they are willing to work remotely for an employer that does not have a physical presence in their home countries, a level that is higher than the proportion who are open to physical relocation. Not only that, about 62% of candidates who have a master’s degree are also open to virtual work.”

For HR who are struggling to fill critical positions, this can offer a solution. “For hirers who are struggling to fill job openings, the time is ripe to warm up to the option of offering virtual employment, so as to attract competent and suitable talent,” adds Bithos.

Image credit: iStockphoto/allensima; Graphic credit: JobStreet