Why Sin­ga­pore is dubbed the best city in the world to work for a startup

Singapore Business Review - - CONTENTS -

When Eu­gene Huang quit his job in a large off­shore bank in Sin­ga­pore, he did not sign on to the next big­gest com­peti­tor. In­stead he took a chance with a startup called Red­brick Mort­gage Ad­vi­sory, rid­ing a hot em­ploy­ment trend in a city now con­sid­ered the best in the world for startup work­ers, ac­cord­ing to a new global rank­ing.

“I re­mem­ber my daily life was about meet­ings af­ter meet­ings — mak­ing de­ci­sions was a long drawn, cum­ber­some process as it in­volves get­ting var­i­ous de­part­ments to agree on some­thing, and a longer time to take ac­tion,” said the 36-year-old di­rec­tor earn­ing US$100,000 per an­num.

Huang and other em­ploy­ees in Sin­ga­pore have seen their pick of star­tups flour­ish in re­cent years. Many now of­fer an at­trac­tive com­bi­na­tion of perks that make it com­pelling to join a promis­ing young com­pany, such as fast-growth ex­cite­ment, work-life balance, and in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive com­pen­sa­tion.

Ömer Kücükdere, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Nest­pick, reck­oned Sin­ga­pore ranked first amongst 85 cities be­cause it of­fered the best qual­ity of life for those em­ployed in the startup in­dus­try based on five cri­te­ria: Startup Ecosys­tem, Salaries, So­cial Se­cu­rity & Ben­e­fits, Cost of Liv­ing, and Qual­ity of Life. Sin­ga­pore par­tic­u­larly shined in health­care and safety, and its vi­brant startup scene with ro­bust ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties

In Sin­ga­pore, a startup tech­nol­ogy em­ployee typ­i­cally earns higher right off the bat at $38,000 (en­try-level) and climb to $59,000 (ex­pe­ri­enced). A mar­ket­ing neo­phyte, mean­while, stands to earn $43,000 but ex­pe­ri­enced man­agers can only ex­pect around $58,000.

Mean­while, a Sin­ga­porean startup em­ployee in pro­ject man­age­ment can ex­pect to earn $34,000 (en­try-level) and rise to $66,000 (ex­pe­ri­enced) per year. “Cer­tain cities may of­fer big­ger pay­checks, but af­ter con­sid­er­ing taxes and liv­ing ex­penses, the re­turn may not be so high,” said Kücükdere.

Ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages

“I am earn­ing less than 20% of what I would have made if I re­mained in my pre­vi­ous po­si­tion within a MNC. But the knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence and sat­is­fac­tion gained so far out­weighs the mone­tary op­por­tu­nity cost.” said Dorothy Yiu, co-founder and COO of em­ployee en­gage­ment plat­form En­gage­rocket. Eu­gene Cheng You Jin, a part­ner and creative lead of vir­tual sto­ry­telling agency Highspark, shared some cau­tion­ary tales. “We’ve seen nu­mer­ous star­tups just ‘dis­ap­pear’ from the mar­ket. There’s al­ways the very real fear that all your work, money and time in­vested into the busi­ness might not pan out in the end. A PR cri­sis or tech­no­log­i­cal glitch could crip­ple your startup overnight with the right in­ten­sity.”

Chow Liy­ing, founder of Our­bralet­te­club, a startup that man­u­fac­tures bralettes, noted that the startup life in Sin­ga­pore is more ex­cit­ing and lu­cra­tive than ever be­fore be­cause of the strong in­fra­struc­ture that has been put in place to foster growth in the in­dus­try. How­ever, she warns that start-up em­ploy­ees must en­ter the field with the chance of fail­ure still fully in mind.“de­spite all ideas be­ing won­der­ful, not all turn to fruition and it might cause some dis­rup­tion in the ca­reer path when that hap­pens. But for any­one else, it’s a great big ad­ven­ture,” con­cluded the 24 year old en­tre­pre­neur.

Start-up Cities In­dex Source: Nest­pick

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