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 released in 2020.
Disclaimer: Jobs with high bonus and profit-sharing schemes are not included in this ranking, which has been compiled based on median gross salaries.
Updated in 2020
1. Specialist Medical Practitioner (Medical)
Specialist Medical Practitioners can earn a monthly gross salary of $18,598. It is their skills, expertise and education that gives them this rewarding salary. Being a specialist is never easy. This requires at least five years in medical school and years of residency in a hospital. As Singapore is known for having some of the best hospitals in the world due to its advanced medical health care technology, with patients abroad flying to hospitals here for treatment, it is no wonder they are highly paid.
In Singapore, it is necessary to obtain specialist accreditation from the Specialists Accreditation Board (SAB). You can refer to SAB’s page for the full list of approved specialist titles.
2. General Practitioner/Physician
Singapore has been shifting toward preventive and community care in recent years to meet the demands of an increasingly ageing population. They are the first line of care, and there, therefore, has been an increased focus on training good general practitioners (and family physicians), who bring patient-centred care closer to home.
A General Practitioner earns a median gross salary of $17,119 and can assume the Family Physician role either after undergoing postgraduate training in Family Medicine (the Graduate Diploma of Family Medicine is the basic requirement) or after years of experience.
3. 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 $14,300.
To be a lawyer in Singapore, you must first obtain a degree from an accredited university. You should take four years of studies in Bachelor of Law and attain a GPA of at least 3.0 for SMU or lower secondary class honours for NUS. You can also consider studying law in SuSS.
After taking the course, an aspiring lawyer must also pass the Singapore Bar Exam and undergo a six-month practice training contract to practice (this system will see revisions in 2023). 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.
4. Trade and 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 $13,143 in median monthly salary.
There are generally two kinds of shipbrokers, and they are 1) Chartering Brokers and 2) Sales and Purchase Brokers respectively. While shipbroking usually does not require formal qualifications, with many picking up their experience through years on the job, strong negotiation skills are a must.
Savvy communication skills are also 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.
Meanwhile, trade brokers buy and sell commodities such as oil. This is usually done in bulk.
5. Foreign Exchange Dealer/ Broker
As a recent survey unveiled Singapore as the world’s 5th most competitive financial centre, it is not surprising that you’ll find a finance-related role within the top five 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 $13,000.
6. University Lecturer
University Professors awarded tenure/on a tenure track earn around $12,961 on average. Typically, they begin as Assistant Professors, work their way up to Associate Professorship, and finally attain Professorship. University Professors do more than teach; they are also required to conduct scholarly research—they usually go on to present their findings in conferences or journals, and even publish books—and possibly administrative/management duties.
Professor roles are highly coveted and many compete yearly for a limited amount of positions. The annual attrition rate for faculty on NUS’s tenure track within the last three years, for example, is currently 4.1 percent. Those who desire to become Assistant Professors should preferably have prior experience in teaching at University level, a recognised degree and PhD in the relevant discipline, as well as a track record in research (if necessary).
7. Chief Operating Officer/ General Manager
COOs have a monthly gross salary of $12,258, with those in the financial services sector reportedly earning as much as $27,855! The COO 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 such a salary. Definitely not a start-up!
As a COO, one can expect to have over a hundred people under his or her care; this includes the VP, operations manager, supervisors and so on. While results hardly matter in order to rise this high up the corporate ladder, you do need to be good with people according to an awarding winning HR manager.
8. Chief Information Officer/Chief Technology Officer
Make no mistake—a Chief Information Officer and a Chief Technology Officer aren’t the same! Putting it briefly, the former is a business role that focuses on managing the organisation’s IT strategy and management, while a CTO is responsible for the creation of technologies that help to grow the business externally (i.e R&D and product development).
As core persons in an organisation, CIOs and CTOs earn $11,179 monthly.
9. Securities and finance dealer/Broker
Selling stocks and bonds on behalf of clients, a security and finance dealer earns a gross monthly salary of $10,608.
10. Marine superintendent engineer
The top earners among all engineers are the Marine Superintendent Engineers. They earn up to $10,464. 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.
11. Policy and planning manager
These people can be said to be 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 $10,193.
12. Treasury Manager
We visualise somebody watching over the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin when we think about this role but in reality, Treasury Managers are in charge of an organisation’s financial assets. They keep an eye on their organisation’s corporate liquidity, investments, and risk management, making sure that it remains financially solvent. To assume this role, which earns a gross monthly salary of $9,500, you are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in business/finance/other related fields, as well as 5-10 years of experience in the Treasury Function. Being a certified Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Treasury Professional (as well as other relevant designations) will also be helpful.
Core skills this role needs include leadership, strong attention to detail, business acumen, as well as analytical skills.
13. Financial/ Insurance Services Manager
Financial managers work in banks or insurance companies. They assist the executives in making decisions regarding their finances. They have to be logical, analytical and excellent in communicating. They must be able to provide the pros and cons of every decision. They also develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.
They draw a monthly gross salary of $9,400.
14. IT Service Manager
Singapore is not just known for its economic status but also for its advanced technology. It is considered an IT hub in Asia which embraces the latest technology in improving productivity. IT professionals are in demand and salaries have become competitive in order to secure them. They earn a monthly gross of $9,390.
The Smart Nation initiative is well underway, and the experiences and knowledge of IT managers continue to be greatly needed as the Singaporean Government continuees to invest in high quality ICT infrastructure. According to the Infocomm Media Industry Transformation Map, 210,000 workers are expected to be working in the ICT industry by this year. The Government has also announced an expenditure of an estimated $3.5 billion on ICT procurement for the Financial Year of 2020, to accelerate digtialisation and help the country adapt to the new normal brought about by COVID-19.
15. Compliance officer/Risk analyst (financial)
Compliance officers make sure that their organisations adhere to business and regulatory compliance rules, while risk analysts monitor the internal, external, and emerging risk factors relevant to their organisations’ different business segments. They command a median gross salary of $9,050 monthly.
These roles require strong analytical skills, research skills and a keen eye for detail.
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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