Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore Reviews | Glassdoor

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore Reviews

Updated November 2, 2017
22 reviews

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3.4
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22 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (22)

    "A chance to be exposed to some of the best strategic thinking and diplomatic practice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    I have been working at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore full-time

    Pros

    MFA is intellectually challenging work, and far from bureaucratic. The postings train you to think on your own two feet, to advocate strongly for your country's position, and to develop broad networks.

    Cons

    Work-life balance is poor, even by the standards of diplomatic services - seems particularly tough for working women with children.


  2. Helpful (6)

    "“Premium” salary, “premium” expectations"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore full-time

    Pros

    Travel, Overseas posting (expat status) and intellectual stimulation (NOTE: only for the political route). You (generally) work with smart and capable people. Work there long enough and you will pick up the art of defensive writing to the highest degree without stepping into a lesson about the practice of law.
    For the fresh graduate that has no idea what to do with his/her life and wants a good starting salary that can rival that of lawyer/doctor/investment banker friends, this is for you (if you get through the interviews).

    Cons

    Scroll down and you will see work-life balance an issue - speaks for itself.
    Because everyone is so intellectual, you are ridiculed for asking supposedly “stupid questions”. Little psychological safety.
    Being paid a “premium” salary in the service warrants (in the eyes of the organisation) to obligate a “premium” expectation on the officers.
    Scholars, university graduates and polytechnic graduates are segregated into career tracks that emplaces a glass ceiling on each category.
    HR functions as a “whip” much more than a nurturer, as everyone in the organisation knows who holds the string to the golden carrot - posting. Secrets are currency - play your cards wrong and your career path is compromised.
    Lots of internal politicking causing a quagmire in decision making.
    Officers “sacrifice” a lifetime in their careers advancing the interests of the nation while being stripped of their precious personal time in service of the nation - and this has unfortunately been allowed to be translated to officers taking that same vigour into their own personal interests within the organisation.
    If you are applying for FSAS: know of the glass box that you will be placed in for the rest of your career by virtue of your academic level.

    Advice to Management

    Deep complex structural cultural issues in the organisation that no single consultant company or leader can solve. And definitely not a one-time quick fix magic solution.

    Let me suggest step number one: consider peer evaluation in the performance review, and subordinate reviews for lower line managers. Looking good in front of your bosses only does not equate to total good performance of an employee.

    Seriously, what organisational value is there in differentiating between FSO and FSAS?

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Low work life balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore full-time

    Pros

    pay, job security, travel and recognition

    Cons

    Low pay and work life balance, top down approach


  4. "Intern experience at MFA"

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    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Very bright colleagues
    Work is varied and exciting

    Cons

    Work-life balance can be quite bad, perhaps not for interns but for full-time officers


  5. Helpful (1)

    "It's a constant battle , to stay or to go"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Exposure to global issues and influential people. Some good people, very professional. Challenging work. Doing work of consequence. Some impact on policy.

    Cons

    Long hours. Toughest on singles who are expected to carry the load every time someone else goes on child care. You want to help, and be big hearted...but then they also get special considerations for postings. Whereas singles are expected to always say yes to any posting, anywhere.

    Advice to Management

    Be kinder to the singles.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Good Pay but bad work life balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    good pay as compared to other civil service
    can be interesting depending on the portfolio and bosses

    Cons

    very bad work-life balance (including weekends)
    high stress and high demands


  7. "Great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    I was made to feel as part of the team with real responsibility from day 1.

    Cons

    No cons really, it was great.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Functional officer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    fast paced
    working with smart people
    the salary (but this has to weighed against other factors such as worklife balance)

    Cons

    culture: expect to get yelled at
    bureaucratic (but this is the civil service after all)

    Advice to Management

    burnout is real
    worklife balance is important to retain people


  9. Helpful (10)

    "Elitist Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tokyo (Japan)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tokyo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great exposure. The various overseas trips and postings will expose you to different cultures and practices that no course can offer. Prestigious job.

    Cons

    Elitist organisation. Do not expect much salary progression unless you are an FSO.At the end of the day, they term you a "support staff" if you are not an FSO.

    Advice to Management

    Appreciate good staff, even if they are not FSOs. Do not create a culture that segregates the different divisions. The organisation should be inclusive and not exclusive. Not all your FSOs are that damn good.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "good place to learn and develop"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - FSO
    Former Employee - FSO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Strong corporate identity, prestigious, most people have high integrity. Thrown into the sea and you'll learn to struggle and swim, so it's good starting ground. Very good benefits. Posting opportunities for those who want to work overseas and contribute to Singapore at the same time.

    Cons

    Long working hours, poor work-life balance, low tolerance for mistakes, elitist mindset (can be good or bad), red tape

    Advice to Management

    Introduce more work-life balance initiatives. Long working hours will ultimately lead to staff burnout.


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