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A Foreigner’s Guide to Workplace Culture in Singapore

man following Singapore work culture

In a report from HSBC, Singapore ranked 6th as one of the best countries for living and working abroad. As a multicultural country packed with international firms, it attracts even foreign job seekers who wish to advance their career. However, Singapore’s cultural rules are also the result of its unique mix of Asian and Western influences. Hence, if you’re planning to live and work there, here’s a Singapore work culture guide that will help you adjust easily.

Quick Facts about Singapore

quick facts about singapore rev02 infographic 01


Singapore Work Culture: Working with Singaporeans

For foreign job seekers, understanding the work culture in Singapore is a key to adapting and getting the interest of most employers. Following their business culture means applicants have prepared and put great consideration on their beliefs, rules, and laws. Hence, leave a great impression to your future boss while looking for job opportunities in Singapore with these job hunting tips.

Dress Code for Your Job Interviews

man and women following Singapore work culture dress code

For dress code, although casual wear is popular, most employers still prefer smart and business casual and professional styles. As for the gentlemen, button-up shirts worn under a cardigan and paired with slacks or the classic suit and tie will never go wrong with leather shoes. As for the ladies, the usual skirts and pantsuits are always the best choice paired with collared dress shirts and heeled shoes or leather pumps.

Body Language and Corporate Culture

a firm handshake following Singapore work culture

The independent non-profit organization eDiplomat suggests job seekers should always keep in mind the following advice:

1. Shake hands firmly when arriving and leaving with every person present in the panel interviews.

2. When people bow as they shake hands, it’s likewise proper to bow to them in return.

3. In Singaporean culture, they consider the head sacred, so avoid touching a person’s or a child’s head.

4. In every occasion, always come on time and give notification in case of delays. They view tardiness as a sign of disrespect.

5. Raise your hand to get someone’s attention. They regard pointing at a person with your forefinger, pounding your fist on an open palm, and doing a forearm jerk as rude or obscene gestures.

6. Avoid discussing religion or politics.

7. Don’t show anger, emotions, or even raise your voice. Stay composed and disciplined at all times.

When looking for a job there, it’s important to heed these unwritten Singapore work culture and formalities to avoid starting off on the wrong foot. For more tips on working in Singapore, go through our blogs page.

Check out the infographics here.


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