Mark Woodhouse: Relocating to Singapore

November 30, 2021

Why did you move to Singapore?

I visited Singapore whilst travelling South East Asia in 2014 and stayed with some expats that my friend knew. It’s safe to say, I instantly fell in love with the City State and dreamed of one day living and working here, thankfully I achieved that goal four years later and relocated with Taylor Root. Singapore has a unique charm, it’s a busy and vibrant Asian city with so many diverse nationalities living here yet the first language is English, which instantly makes it easier for a Brit like me who is hopeless at languages! It’s a global financial hub and there are many of the world’s leading law firms operating in this market, given I recruit for private practice clients it made absolute sense to try and leverage a move here. I was also attracted to the tropical weather, spending more time on the beach and the ability to travel around Asia so easily. I flirted with the idea of moving to other cities, but there really was only one aim for me and that was always Singapore; I feel incredibly lucky to live here.

What have you most enjoyed about Singapore?

It’s very hard to name just one, but I have really enjoyed getting to know so many people; new friends, colleagues, candidates and clients. It’s been an absolute pleasure to make so many new acquaintances and build the relationships I have since relocating. I love the diversity of everyone I’ve met and have enjoyed understanding everyone’s very different views on work and life. Adapting to a new culture and taking yourself out of your comfort zone is a life changing and enriching experience, I’ve enjoyed every second of it and will continue to do so.

How do the cultures differ between the United Kingdom and Singapore impact your profession?

Singapore is a much smaller legal market than London, so I feel I am building strong relationships with candidates and clients very quickly. People are much more open to meeting, you could have 10 coffees a day if you wanted to, or prep a candidate for an interview over couple of drinks after work in the sun. You really get to know your clients and candidates and they invest time getting to know you – it makes recruiting less transactional and much, much more consultative. I’ve had candidates send me pictures their holiday snaps and clients want to meet up for a beer at the weekend. We also do a lot of direct recruiting with Partners which is different to London.

What has been the biggest challenge when moving to Singapore?

The obvious two are learning a new market and the fear of failure. I miss my family, especially when they are all together and we Facetime (everyone will also know I have a soft spot for my nieces and it’s evidently hard to see them growing up so quickly), of course, I also miss my friends, but ultimately you can speak everyday over WhatsApp and video calls which keeps you well connected to home life.

In spite of the above, the move has been made much simpler and stress-free through the support of Taylor Root and by joining a fantastic team of colleagues who are an absolute joy to work with. My Director, Sophie de Blauwe, is an incredible manager and an even better recruiter and has invested a tremendous amount of time in getting me up to speed quickly. I can honestly say coming to work is a pleasure – especially as the sun is shining every day and my commute is 20 minutes door-to-door!

I’ve also been fortunate to make a huge group of friends meaning I can enjoy life here to the max. Ultimately, everyone in Singapore is very friendly and you get introduced to so many people it’s almost impossible to not find your feet with a group. I’ve also started to enjoy the short haul flights to Thailand and Bali and have many more trips in the pipeline.

I’d encourage anyone to move overseas, it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made and I have zero regrets, if you’d like to discuss it with me feel free to drop me a note.