Category: Career management

Job-hopping to career success

SG Wealth Builder
In my previous article, I wrote that 7 in 10 Singapore workers planned to change jobs in 2013. I suppose many of us harbour thoughts of leaving our present job in search of greener pastures at some point of time. But more often than not, we may not know what we are getting into. In fact, I have many friends who keep job hopping for various reasons. Many of them cited company cultures, prospect, bosses and salaries as push factors.


Job-hopping is okay
Job-hopping is okay, provided it is managed properly. This is because the more you hop, the harder it is to convince your next employer to hire you. After all, the whole hiring process can be costly and time-consuming. No employers relish the prospect of hiring a candidate who would resign within a year. Not to mention the amount of resources spent on training the candidate.

So how long should we stay before moving on to the next company? My take is a minimum stay of two years. One of my ex-bosses shared with me that typically it takes about one year to train a worker up to speed and another year for the person to contribute meaningful to the organization. So probably you need to stay for at least two years in order to reflect some credible achievements in your resume.

Knowing what you want
I think no one enjoys job-hopping. After all, it can be quite a pain in the ass to learn everything all over again. So my advice is even if you have to switch job, make sure the next one is still within the same industry. Then at least you would still retain the basic foundation knowledge and skills and need not start from scratch in your new company again.

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What is it like to be 50 years old and jobless?

SG Wealth Builder
Yesterday, the government released a White Paper projecting that Singapore’s population would be 6.9 million by 2030. I suppose this is a hint that the government is going to open the floodgate to import more foreigners in order to meet the population target. After all, going by our nation’s current low birth rate of 1.2%, it is not possible to reach this goal through natural replacement.

The government’s rationale for importing immigrants is because Singapore needs foreign talents to support the economy. Our unemployment rate has been consistantly low for the past few years, hovering about 2-3%. Yet many Singaporeans, especially PMETs, have complained that foreigners compete with them for jobs in recent years. This made me wonder aloud whether the influx of immigrant should be calibrated.

I mean what kind of foreign workers do we really need to import to sustain our economy? I agree that we need foreign nurses and construction workers because they do jobs which Singaporeans do not want to do. But do we really need additional one million nurses or construction workers? Besides foreign labourers, are we really short of talents in Singapore that we have to resort to mass import of immigrants? During market downturn, what is going to happen to these foreigners or PRs? The market is always cyclical in nature and we shouldn’t always base our growth statistics on current rosy scenario. These are concerns which I think the NPTD failed to answer in the White Paper.

How can you say that Singapore workforce would remain the core when half the population would be foreigners in 2030?

As a stakeholder, I am deeply disturbed by this issue. I am in my early thirties and is gainfully employed as a professional. But I shuddered to think the quality of my life in 20

7 in 10 Singaporeans plan to change jobs in 2013

SG Wealth Builder
According to a survey done by online recruitment firm, nearly 75% of Singaporean workers are considering changing jobs in 2013. This is despite the anticipated economy slowdown and forecasted sluggish job market in Singapore. Among the top pull factors for a job switch are salary and career progression.
Money still rules
The report confirmed my view that in order to draw a better salary and climb up the ladder, there is a need to switch job. Typical salary increments in Singapore average about 3-5%. With this kind of increment, normal salaried Singaporean can barely meet the inflation and maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
Even if job promotion is factored in, the increase in salary is probably $500 to $800. But if a better job offer comes along, the quantum increase is usually much higher. As a rule of thumb, job seekers should only consider switching job only if there is 20% hike in salary. There is no point switching companies for the sake of a few hundred dollars increment. You are better off staying in your current job and continue to build up your skills and networks.
When to jump ship
The report stated that the majority of the respondents singled out the first quarter as the best time to start a job hunt. This is not surprising as most employees would want to collect their bonuses before jumping ship. Most Singapore companies would have paid out their bonuses by the first quarter. Moreover, another factor to consider is that most job seekers would not want their bonuses in their new companies to be affected. If they joined their new companies later in the calendar year, their bonuses would be much pro-rated and reduced.

The report also indcated that “the market sentiment has improved from last year with only 50%

My views on the job market in Singapore

Leaving Singapore

It’s that time of the year again when local fresh graduates enter the job market. I still remember the trepidation and fear I had when I graduated 7 years ago.  On one hand, I was pretty excited about having an income, being financially independent from my parents and having my own purchasing power. On the other hand, I was also worried about securing a job that comes with great prospect and good pay.

Many jobs but one career
First, the good news for fresh graduates: in this day and age, it is okay to job hop. The older generation of workers tend to believe in loyalty to company and would not jump ship for higher pay or job title.

In today’s context, employee loyalty is longer relevant in view of shorter market cycles. Nowadays, companies are quick to retrench workers during downturns, so if you overstay in your company, you might be the next one on the hit list. So it is alright to switch several jobs during the first few years of your job journey. But make sure you gained enough competencies, skills or niche knowledge from each job taken.

job market

For fresh graduates, nothing is more important than gaining work experiences. Don’t be trapped in your own comfort zone. Jump if there is a need for career progression or pay rise. Remember, you can have many jobs in your job journey but ideally should have only one career. For example, you can be a teacher, head of department, principle, private tutor, etc, but ultimately, its a career in education.

You plan your own destiny
If you belong to the category of workers who believe that your boss or company plays a pivotal role in your career development, I think its time you wake up to the harsh reality. …

The peril of quitting without a job


Recently one of my colleagues tendered his resignation letter. I do not know his actual reason for resigning but apparently he was unhappy that he was overlooked for promotion, so I supposed he quit to register his unhappiness. As he resigned in an abrupt manner, I can only postulate that he has not found a new job. He is 40 this year, a bachelor and held only executive positions throughout his career. He does not have management experience nor post-graduate qualifications.

Career suicide
I am no HR expert, but I think my ex-colleague just committed a career suicide. Quitting at the age of 40 is a bad, bad career move. Even though he is single, with no family commitments, given his age, he may not be able to find jobs that pay him similar salary.

This is because firstly, his bargaining power during salary negotiation for his new job will be greatly reduced as his prospective employer will know that he has no income.

Secondly, quitting without a job will surely not go down well with his prospective employer who may wonder if he has character issues. In this day and age, organizations look for employees who are team players and can fit into their organizational culture.


In this respect, I think my ex-colleague will have a hard time justifying his move to his prospective employer during interview.

Thirdly, even though unemployment rate is still low in Singapore, finding a job that fits his experience, expected salaries and qualification may not be easy. This is especially so in Singapore where there are just too many foreigners and PRs fighting for similar position. Most of them have similar qualifications and experiences but command lower salaries.

Quit for the right reason
People quit for various reasons. Some quit because of their bosses, …