A slow economy, poor employment outlook, stagnant median pay, rising unemployment for citizens at the expense of substandard ‘foreign talent’ who drag productivity down – have been the common complaints of Singaporean graduates of late. Amidst the gloom and doom, is there a sliver of hope somewhere for today’s young graduates expecting to enter the job market?
Here we take a look at surveys by Singapore’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers and Randstad Singapore to learn about the top companies to work for within the country. The results are based on graduates’ and university students’ opinions.
Big firms make the list, SMEs left out
The firms are divided into broad categories, to denote the sectors that they operate in. This is true for local as well international companies in the list. While public companies and privately owned ones populate the list, quite naturally, only bigger names attract much attention. After all, with close to 200,000 SMEs (Small and Medium sized Entreprises) in Singapore, it is a daunting task to list or rank them all for survey participants.
Banking, Finance, Accounting and Professional Services sector have a decent representation
From the Banking, Finance, Accounting and Professional Services sector, a number of local and international firms have stoked graduates’ interests. Salaries, work environment, benefit and the contents of the work are some common reasons cited by prospective employees for choosing these companies.
These firms include PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY), home grown DBS Bank, J.P. Morgan, NTUC Income, BDO LLP, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), OCBC Bank, BNP Paribas, Maybank, McKinsey & Company, Barclays, United Overseas Bank (UOB), Bain & Company, Great Eastern Life, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, public firm Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
IT/Technology, Research and Engineering firms form the lion’s share
If a job seeker happens to be a graduate of a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics or Information and Communications Technology discipline, (s)he would probably be surprised to know the most popular employer in this category turns out to be Singapore’s very own Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star). It was followed by IT giant Microsoft, aerospace behemoth Rolls-Royce, 3M, Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), Ministry of Health (MOH), GlaxoSmithKline, Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering), home grown Garena, IBM, Singapore’s own Keppel Corporation, General Electric (GE) and JTC Corporation. Dell, Defence Science Organization (DSO) National Laboratories, National Environmental Agency (NEA), Sony and Ubisoft Singapore all make the list, too.
This very long list also includes Swiss/Swedish multinational firm ABB, chipmaker Intel, telecommunications firm SingTel, Micron Semiconductor, Nestlé, Singapore Health Services (SingHealth), pharmaceuticals firm Abbott, Autodesk, National Healthcare Group, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Bosch, Singapore Power, Hewlett-Packard (HP), BP (British Petroleum), Scoot, hard disk drive maker Seagate, Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) company Flextronics, Google, Delphi, Continental Automotive, ExxonMobil, domestic telecom firm M1, Infineon Technologies, Panasonic Asia Pacific, aerospace company Pratt & Whitney, Procter & Gamble, GlobalFoundries that was formed by acquisition of Singapore’s own Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing , Rotary Engineering, German conglomerate Siemens, semiconductor firm United Test and Assembly Center (UTAC) Group, Thermo Fisher Scientific, STATSChipPAC, Sembcorp Industries, Sembcorp Marine, Johnson and Johnson and Novartis.
Long as the list is, it is by no means extensive and many more companies that are too numerous to mention continue to lure promising young graduates from the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Computing/Information Technology, Mathematics or Life Sciences disciplines.
Hospitality, Leisure, Travel, F&B, Media and Retail sector is not left behind either
For eager job seekers interested in the Hospitality, Retail, Cosmetics, Luxury Brands, Property, Media, F&B, Travel and Transport sectors, the employer of choice is Singapore Airlines. Not surprisingly, closely following it is the Changi Airport Group that manages the well recognized Changi Airport. French multinational corporation L’Oréal follows suit. Procter and Gamble, local media holding company MediaCorp, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore Tourism Board, CapitaLand, Marina Bay Sands, Lucasfilm Singapore, Housing and Development Board (HDB), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Coca Cola Singapore, BreadTalk Group, Dairy Farm International from Hong Kong that is the parent holding company of the widespread Jasons Market Place, Cold Storage, Giant, 7-Eleven and Guardian chains of hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies are all popular employment draws.
Far East Organization is a domestic firm too big to ignore in the property sector. Mapletree Group, NTUC Fairprice, PSA Corporation, SATS, Sheng Siong supermarkets, SingPost, RC Hotels Pte Ltd (that owns the widely recognized Raffles City, Fairmont, Swissotel) and Intercontinental Hotels Group (that operate under the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza brand) round off this list.
A word or two on the methodology behind the list of companies is in order. Singapore’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers created a ranking based on its extensive survey of university students in Singapore. Over 10,000 university students studying in Singapore were surveyed and the expectation is that the survey is representative of the general university population in Singapore. More on the methodology can be found here.
Aside from that, Randstad Singapore carried out its own extensive survey of Singapore’s most attractive companies to work for and the results can be seen here. 75 of the largest companies in Singapore were selected and survey participants were asked for their opinions on how they perceive each of these companies. In other words, many other popular employers of choice may not have appeared in Randstad Singapore’s list simply because the list of the top 75 companies had been handpicked by Randstad.
As with all lists and rankings, there are bound to be limitations. After all, what is best for Person A may not quite be Person B’s cup of tea. With the thousands of companies of various sizes and from various economic sectors to choose from, narrowing the list down to a very few companies inevitably leaves out many worthy contenders. A detailed explanation on the procedure used and statistics obtained by Singapore’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers can be found here for interested readers.
Top 20 firms to work for
- Ernst & Young
- DBS Bank
- Singapore Airlines
- Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star)
- Changi Airport Group
- P. Morgan
- Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
- NTUC Income
- Procter and Gamble
- Ministry of Health
- Far East Organization