Singapore over the years has attracted many Indian professionals to make this global city their home. More than 300,000 Indians have made Singapore their permanent home, some 9% of the resident population. There is strong Indian expatriate community in Singapore, with about 35,000 Indian professionals working here. Among them are more than 700 IIM alumni, the largest outside India and about 1000 IIT alumni. India Club (Singapore), The IIT Alumni Association Singapore, and The IIM Alumni Association Singapore are some of the prominent associations that bring the Indian professional community together in Singapore.
In today’s global economy, businesses move to where talent and manpower is readily available. Singapore has enjoyed strong economic growth accompanied by strong employment growth because it has not only kept its labour market flexible, but also made concerted efforts to attract global talent and business concurrently.
In April the Singapore government launched the Host to Home Framework that articulates how EDB is shaping its economic development strategies to distinguish Singapore for the future. It comprises of three strategies – ‘Home for Talent’, ‘Home for Business’ and ‘Home for Innovation’. These three dimensions are mutually reinforcing: businesses leverage talent and innovation, creating job opportunities; while innovation attracts talent and businesses; in return, talent fuels both business and innovation.
The last few years have seen the Republic becoming a talent hub in the region. It has attracted an increasing number of global citizens who have been drawn to opportunities in growth sectors like banking and finance, IT, manufacturing, biomedical sciences, interactive and digital media, healthcare and clean technology. While employment growth in other advanced economies typically clustered around 3% or lower, Singapore achieved in 2007 a very strong employment growth of 9.4% and 7.6% in the year before. Job creation in that year was at a record high of 234,900.
There are over 7000 MNCs in Singapore, of which 60% have their Asian headquarters here. Global talent finds Singapore to be a diverse society in which to live, work and play, with room for career advancement and growth, room for new business pursuits, room for clean and healthy living, and the room for families to grow. Of the 2.73 million people employed in 2007, about 33% of Singapore’s total workforce is a foreigner.
Business owners and investors find Singapore a compelling option as a home base, given its attractive tax rates, ease of doing business (ranked first by World Bank’s annual Report – Doing Business 2009), a world-class healthcare system (ranked by WHO as the best healthcare system in Asia), facilitative work pass framework, intellectual property regime, stable government as well as high standard of education for international schools. Together with international events like Formula 1 and World Gourmet Summit, and exciting new developments such as two upcoming integrated resorts, Singapore Free Port and Cruise Terminal, amongst others, the nation has carved for itself a niche as a lifestyle destination and Asia’s premiere global city.
Mercer’s 2009 Worldwide Quality of Living Survey ranks Singapore as 26th in the world and top in Asia. In addition Singapore was ranked top in the world for city infrastructure.
Building on its strengths – a safe environment with good amenities for raising families, modern transportation network and high standard of living – Singapore has become a popular working destination for working professionals.
One of them is Apurva Choudhury, Vice President Investment Banking, J P Morgan, after spending 5 years in Singapore feels that he has learnt a lot from both business and cultural perspective.
“As a gateway to Asia, Singapore has a bustling economy, rich culture and just right amount of government intervention. I don’t believe there is any other place I would choose to practice my trade” says Apurva, an IIM, Bangalore Alumnus.
With a sizable Indian community here and plenty of events around Indian cultural themes, Apurva feels right at home here. “Food, entertainment, community events and other socialisation activities are on par with those in India…. Moreover, with this city’s friendly attitude, it is so easy to get initiated into other traditionally Singapore festive events and celebrations.”
Drive to attract talent
The education sector has played an important part in ensuring that Singapore stays relevant as business, investment and talent hub. Through the Singapore Economic Development Board’s (EDB) Global Schoolhouse initiative, the nation aims to attract, develop and retain talent. It aims at building up Singapore education brand name by attracting world class universities like INSEAD, Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business, etc to set up operations here. More than 16 leading foreign universities from Europe, the USA and Asia have substantial activities in Singapore. Some of the leading Indian educational institutes in the list are S. P Jain Center of Management, DPS International School Singapore, NPS International School (National Public School), Global Indian International School (Bhavan International School).
Another initiative of Singapore Economic Development Board is Contact Singapore, an alliance of the Singapore Economic Development Board and Ministry of Manpower a one-stop centre that aims to attract global talent and facilitate the interests of the individuals looking to work, do business or invest in Singapore.
With offices in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America, Contact Singapore actively links Singapore-based employers with global talent and provides updates on career opportunities and industry developments in Singapore.
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