Singapore is one of the most successful countries in the world. It is known as one of the 4 Asian Dragons for its top-notch economic status compared to its neighbouring countries. Because of that, we seldom wonder what the best-paid jobs in the country are. In this article, we explore each of the top 15 highest-paid jobs in Singapore based on the latest statistics from MOM published in 2017.
Disclaimer: Jobs with high bonus and profit-sharing scheme are not included in this ranking, which is compiled based on the gross salary.
Any medical surgery requires extreme precision, and it’s the same for anything that involves our eyes. An ophthalmologist is trained to detect and identify abnormalities/diseases of the eye and correct them. This means anything from surgery to fitting new eyeglasses, and requires at least undergraduate studies plus a 5-year postgrad residency. Their median monthly salary is $29,355.
2. Financial derivatives dealer/Broker
Financial derivative dealers earn $23,655. The career requires one to have a strong foundation in math and statistics, as well as programming skills (good-to-have).
The main responsibility of a derivatives broker is to monitor international performances and conduct trading on behalf of the clients. They trade a variety of assets such as shares and bonds. The employers could be investment banks, financial clearing houses, or international stock exchanges.
It is one of the most challenging and stressful jobs a man can have. You have to be very careful in decision making and analysis. To succeed in this line of work, you have to be competitive, numerically capable, and have knowledge about the world economy.
3. Trade broker (including oil and bunker trader)
Trade broker has earnings of $20,000. Being a trade broker is a good idea, since export and importing of goods in Singapore constitutes one of the highest contributors of GDP. In 2013, Singapore became the 21st largest exporter in the world, a top export of Singapore being redefined Petroleum, which represents 24.1% of the total exports of Singapore. Also, Singapore is the third largest refining centre in the world. Total trade volume throughout its ports is 4 times the size of its GNP, the highest in the world. It has one of the busiest shipping ports in the world. Well, Singapore is one of the world’s biggest financial centres, IT hub and also shipping exporter, which all gives rise to very decent jobs you see here in this list today. An eye-opener, isn’t it?
4. Specialist medical practitioner (medical)
Similar to the surgical specialist, a medical specialist also spent a tremendous amount of time, effort, and dedication to attain their status. A medical practitioner in Singapore has a monthly median gross salary of $19,445.
5. Foreign Exchange Dealer/ Broker
As a recent survey unveiled Singapore as the world’s 3rd top financial centre, it is not surprising that you find 2 finance jobs among the top 5 highest paying positions in Singapore.
Singapore has a huge foreign currency reserve and it bears significant importance to the national economy of Singapore. Also, we see a trend of Singapore dollars gaining more and more recognition in the global forex market.
A Foreign exchange dealer buys and sells foreign currencies in the market and must have all the figures at his fingertips. A single trade can result in gains or losses as high as millions of dollars, so being cool-headed is critical for them. The monthly gross they receive is $14,167.
6. Chief Operating Officer/ General Manager
COOs have a monthly gross salary of $13,716. He/she is in 2nd in command to the chief executive officer and is in-charge of the day to day operations of the company. That said, you certainly need to be the COO of a mid to big sized company in order to command that kind of salary. Definitely not a start-up. As a COO, one can expect to have over hundred people under his care including the VP, operations manager, supervisors and so on. To rise up the corporate ladder that high, results hardly matter, but you do need to be good with people according to an awarding winning HR manager.
7. Securities and finance dealer/Broker
Selling stocks and bonds on behalf of clients, a security and finance dealer earns a gross monthly salary of $12,500.
8. In-house legal counsel (except judiciary, ministries and statutory boards)
To be in this career, lawyers must have had at least three years of experience practising law (in private practice). Those doing in-house legal counsel are also expected to have a good grasp of business, as they need to look out for the interests of the company while anticipating and tackling the legal issues that may arise. Their median monthly salary is $11,150.
To be a lawyer in Singapore, you must obtain a certificate from an accredited university. You should take 4 years of studies in Bachelor of Law and attain GPA of at least 3.0 for SMU or lower secondary class honours for NUS. After taking the course, the aspiring lawyer must also pass the Singapore Bar Exam and if you are a foreigner wanting to exercise your expertise in Singapore in which you will practice both foreign and Singapore laws, you must pass the Foreign Practitioner Examinations. For more information, read on how to become a lawyer in Singapore.
9. Marine superintendent engineer
The top earners among all engineers are the Marine Superintendent Engineer. They earn up to $10,304. They could start as a shipboard junior engineer and in a span of 4-5 years, become a Marine Superintendent Engineer.
A Marine Superintendent Engineer ensures company-owned and managed vessels are operated in a safe, efficient, and economical manner and in full compliance with class and statutory regulations.
To become a Marine Superintendent Engineer, you must be a graduate of a Marine Engineering course with a considerable number of experiences required by the company. One of the schools is (SMA) Singapore Maritime Academy. If you are a mechanical engineer, there are conversion courses that provide a pathway for graduates of mechanical engineering to join the marine engineering trade.
10. Hydrographic surveyor
It’s awfully coincidental how this job, too, involves the waters. A Hydrographic surveyor is a person comfortable handling huge amounts of data and stats, being the people that use specialised equipment and tech to observe and chart natural occurrences that take place in water bodies. As they need to measure and map seabeds and underwater surfaces, a lot of time has to be spent offshore. A hydrographic surveyor’s median monthly salary is $10,145.
11. Ship broker
Shipbrokers serve as middlemen, helping those with cargo to transport (charterers) find ships to carry their goods, well as buy and sell ships on their clients’ behalf. They earn around $10,000 in median monthly salary.
While ship broking usually does not require formal qualifications and many pick up their experience through years on the job, strong negotiation skills are a must.
Savvy communication skills are required, as the job sees a lot of client interaction. This job also has can have long and irregular work hours, due to the different time zones and quick turnaround time.
11. Managing director/Chief executive officer
CEOs have $10,000 in total monthly gross earnings, tying in with ship brokers.
75% graduated from overseas university, of which 35% are from the US. Most CEOs in Singapore have an MBA and the most common discipline is Business. CEOs in Singapore are among the highest paid in Asia Pacific, comparable to those in Australia and Japan. Piyush Gupta of DBS Group Holdings is the top-earning CEO in Singapore.
Being a CEO involves high-level work on thinking how to move a company ahead strategically (apart from playing golf).
13. Policy and planning manager
These people can be said to be the indispensable in laying out the foundations of an organisation as they are the ones to develop and oversee the implementation of policies and long-term plans, crucial to an organisation’s growth and directions. Skills needed include organisational skills, leadership skills, and strong writing and communication skills. Their median monthly salary is $9,776.
14. Software and applications manager
Our strong reliance on technology and increasingly Smart Nation makes this a natural appearance on the list. Typically earning $9,503 monthly, these are the folks that identify the kinds of software that an organisation needs and procure it, manage and maintain it. As they are the ones who usually have to train employees in the software use, or supervise them, they must know how to simplify technical speak.
15. Network and communications manager
Tying up the list at $8,949, a network and communications manager usually has a degree in computer science (or related field), and/or anywhere from 5-10 years of work experience. Strong technical management skills in network operation are a must, along with hardware troubleshooting know-how and team management skills. They are crucial vanguards of any organisation that deals with huge amounts of data.
With that said, do take the salary figures here with a pinch of salt. Numbers should never be your compass in making decisions. Consider various factors such as your own proficiency and passion as well, highlighted in our guide to choosing courses. If you do well in your chosen field, we are sure you will not only earn well but be a very happy person!
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