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Highest Paying Jobs In Singapore: What You Need to Study

As they say, “money makes the world go round.” There is just no denying it.

It is one of the biggest motivators in every human being’s life, and the main reason most of us get up every morning and get stuck in a traffic jam at rush hour, day in and day out. 

And when it comes to earning money, a tried and proven way to get there is by getting a good education. Every student wants to get a job where their skill will be appreciated and well paid for; they aren’t going to university for the “thrill” of midterms. 

So, if money is the motivation to study and to, subsequently, get a job, this begs the question: which jobs pay most in Singapore?

What do you need to invest your time into, what is the average salary in Singapore, to make sure that you will land a cushy position once you have acquired your degree? These are the questions we will answer in the following article. So, if you are still undecided about what to study, keep reading.

The good news is you have got a number of choices. There are dozens of occupations in Singapore that pay a very handsome salary, so you have quite a lot of leeway if you want to simultaneously earn a good living and follow your passion. 

So let’s have a look at the top 10, shall we?


1. Legal counsel.

We all live in a law-abiding society, and lawyers are like metaphorical torches in the dark, illuminating our path so that we can navigate our way through various statutes and regulations and make it safely to our destination. Lawyers are essential to our society, and they know it.

They use their leverage and drive up their fees to eye-watering amounts, and with a lot of dedication and perseverance, you can become one too. To do that, you will need to get an academic certificate from one of the accredited universities (examples: NUS Faculty of Law,  SMU School of Law, SUSS Law programmes); you can get in by taking the LSAT and applying for admission. Then you will need to accumulate five to ten years of experience in your field (in-house legal department or private practice). 

As for earnings, legal counsels can earn somewhere between S$200,000 and S$ 400,000 per annum. So, the job is definitely worth the rush hour commute. 


2. Chief financial officer (CFO).

The CFOs are in charge of evaluating risks, building and then executing a financial strategy, creating annual budgets, and so on. They get paid well to do so too. S$300,000 to S$450,000 per year, to be exact. The CFOs are in high demand, not only in Singapore, but all over the world, so if you choose this field and manage to get to this step in the career ladder (which may take some time), you will be a busy bee for sure. 

The first step towards becoming a CFO is getting a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (for instance, math, business, or economics). Even though the job is in high demand, the competition is still there, so you should probably get a business/finance MBA or perhaps a CFA/CPA qualification.

These qualifications will help you stand out from the crowd. With that being said, if you have in-depth knowledge of the industry and relevant experience, you may still find a related job in Singapore. People who know how to move money around are a valuable asset, and Singaporean companies will not let a single one go to waste.


3. Marketing director.

These are the people who are in charge of defining marketing objectives; they develop a marketing strategy and lead a team to execute it, they also make sure that the marketing objectives of a company are in line with its overall business goals, they assess the market potential, present ROI analysis and make marketing plans among other things. 

Marketing directors were responsible for creating that successful marketing campaign which persuaded you to buy that expensive thing which was totally out of your budget. And they got paid well for doing so. How well you ask me? S$250,000 to S$400,000 per year, you hear me answer. And does it really surprise you that a person who has the knowledge and the power to make you reach into your pocket and hand over your hard-earned cash is valued by all companies? 

Now, to become one yourself, you will need… you guessed it, a bachelor’s degree (in a field such as advertising or marketing). Work experience comes next. You can get yourself a job in advertising, sales, marketing, or public relations. And then if you manage to get a master's degree in business administration, it will be a real cherry on top of the cake and voila! Now all you have to do is buy a comfy sofa, sit down and count your cash!


4. HR head/HR director. 

Two names, one common advantage: S$220,000 to S$300,000 per year, if you really want to know. 

And here’s what you need to do to get there.

Step 1: acquire a 4-year degree in business administration, human resources, or another relevant field (organizational psychology, for example.)

Step 2: get a relevant job in the industry, keep working there for a few years, gaining knowledge and experience.

Step 3 (optional but highly recommended): get a master's degree in a relevant field.

It sounds simpler than it actually is. Side note, companies tend to promote their own employees rather than bringing in am an outsider for the position of an HR head. So, by working your way up in one company, you may be able to get to the goal faster (although alternative ways may work as well.)


5. Data scientist.

Businesses need data, like fish need water. But unfortunately, not everyone is proficient at reading the data.

So, that’s where the data scientists come into play. They act as “translators” of sorts; they look at charts and graphs and numbers and all that good stuff and then make assessments or predictions which play a big role in creating a business strategy.

The data industry is enormous in Singapore (S$ 1 billion), and the demand for highly-qualified professionals will not subside; in fact, the industry is expected to grow at a tremendous rate and reach S$37 billion by 2022

Companies that need data scientists’ services pay them generously for their time (S$ 85,000 to S$300,000 per annum). In fact, the demand for data scientists is so large that the National University of Singapore (NUS) is planning to focus on data science (as well as artificial intelligence), and it is also partnering with major companies to help their students develop all the necessary skills. 

If all of this sounds appealing to you, then what you need to do is pursue a degree in data science. There are two such degree programs on offer from the National University of Singapore; these are the B.Sc. in Business Analytics and the B.Sc. in Data Science & Analytics. Assuming that you already have an undergraduate degree under your belt, the next recommended step would be getting a master’s degree in Data Science & Analytics (offered by many Singaporean universities). 

It goes without saying, you need to work your way up the ladder. No one starts shoveling cash at any job from the very first day. But considering the demand for data analysis is increasing all over the world, once you have got a few years of experience in the bank, you will have access to many opportunities. 


6. Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Chief information officers make all the decisions that have to do with constructing, upgrading, and maintaining the technology networks. Technology is a very important part of modern reality; even Stevie Wonder can see that, so CIOs are in high demand. 

You are highly unlikely to get hired as a CIO without some impressive qualifications and years of experience under your belt, so roll up your sleeves. Bachelor’s degree in IT (or related field) and a master’s degree in IT (or Business Administration) are the necessary prerequisites. 

As for responsibilities, the CIOs organize technological infrastructure, focus on development, training, budgets, expenses, resources, etc. Also, one of their major responsibilities is protecting the company from a potential security breach. 

By shouldering these vital responsibilities, they increase their bank balance by S$300,000 to S$600,000 every year. So, if you spent your summers tinkering with a computer instead of playing outside, your passion for technology is about to pay off, literally!


7. Anesthesiologist.

Without them, we wouldn’t be able to have surgeries. To an uninformed person administering anesthesia may not seem that impressive, but the fact is that it is a job that requires a lot of skill and knowledge.

Every doctor could put you to sleep hypothetically, but only those who are skilled in anesthesia can monitor your vital signs during the entire procedure and make sure that you wake up again. 

Singapore has some of the best hospitals, so, unsurprisingly, becoming an anesthesiologist is rewarded with a rather high salary. 

If you want to become one, first and foremost, you will need to get a postgraduate medical qualification or a basic medical degree. However, your qualification needs to be recognized by the Singapore Medical Council. You will also need to work for at least four years in the medical field. 

You must also fulfill the special criteria for conditional medical registration. These criteria are laid out by the Singapore Medical Council. Anesthesiologists typically achieve peak income after they have been working in the profession for around 20 years, so this is not the path for the impatient. 


8. Specialist medical practitioner.

These medical professionals employ specialized methods to diagnose a variety of physical and mental diseases. They typically specialize in one distinctive illness, and throughout their career, they have accumulated a lot of experience in dealing with this disease. You have to start with a medical degree such as NUS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) or NTU's MBBS Programme at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. If you cannot get a place due to the intense competition and limited places, many have gone overseas such as Australia and UK to pursue a medical degree before returning home to practice.

Psychiatrists, obstetricians, pediatricians, gynecologists, and emergency physicians are just some of the examples of specialist medical practitioners. If you decide to become one, you can expect to earn in the range of S$200,000 – S$400,000 per year (in certain instances, even more). So your years of studying and sleepless nights before exams will be rewarded in the end. 


9. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

These professionals oversee the development of technology in a company and link this development to the company’s business strategy. They further the company’s business objectives by forming strategic relationships in different parts of the world. 

Chief technology officers tend to earn S$180,000 to S$450,000 per annum. To become one of them, you will, first of all, need to get a bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering. The master’s degree will certainly give you a competitive edge, but what really matters here is the experience (at least 15 years of it), at least that is how it is in Singapore. 

In addition, you will need to possess some vital soft skills, such as communication, leadership, strategic thinking, and more. 


10. Head of global sourcing.

People in charge of global sourcing direct the procurement strategy of a company. To put it simply, they make sure that the company gets the best deal; buys the best products and services at an appropriate price. Heads of global sourcing research the supply market, develop and oversee efficient supply chains. 

They oversee the vendors, nurture the relationship with them, and manage the annual budget for procurement. They also use KPIs to manage performance reports and lead a sourcing team. 

For performing these various duties and responsibilities, heads of global sourcing earn S$180,000 to S$400,000 annually. And it is well deserved, considering that the efficiency of the supply chain is one of the most crucial elements in the company’s growth. 

If you are interested in becoming a procurement head, you first need to gain ten years of experience in the procurement field. Although heads of global sourcing may come from various backgrounds, you would be wise to get a master’s degree in either supply chain, business, economics, logistics, or some other relevant field. 


In the end, although money is one of the main motivators for getting a job, it shouldn’t be the only reason we do it. Choosing a field that genuinely interests you is just as important for your success and fulfillment. Many of the best paying jobs require students to do well in their studies from an early age, engage our private tutors to ensure you or your child don't fall behind.

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.