Getting A Rewarding Career With IRAS

IRAS strongly believes that its staff is critical to the success of the organisation. IRAS is therefore committed to hiring talented individuals and developing the potential of its people. Two IRAS scholars share their experiences.

by Md Sufyan Saad

A government body that deals with taxation policy and administration, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is committed to actively shaping an individual’s future through its scholarship programme.

IRAS scholars can look forward to reaping the many benefits that come with the IRAS scholarship awards. All scholars will be assigned both a mentor and a buddy, with the former being a member of the Senior Management and the latter a returned scholar.

Developmental opportunities

For Fung Ai Wei – who was awarded the IRAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship in 2009 – the decision to select IRAS was largely attributed to IRAS’s work culture.

“Not only did I observe strong teamwork among the colleagues, there is a sense of belonging that each of them has towards IRAS. Plus the colleagues are very friendly and helpful!” the 20-year-old enthuses.

Currently in her second year pursuing a degree in Mathematics and Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, there are plenty of developmental opportunities available for Ai Wei.IRAS arranges internships for the overseas scholars during their summer vacations and sponsors their summer programmes.

“One of the greatest opportunities I have been given was the chance to attend the Harvard Summer School in 2010. Through the summer studies, I gained a lot of insights, as well as new knowledge which greatly complemented what I am learning in my current course of study,” she highlights with zeal.

While undergoing their academic terms, scholars are required to fulfil a minimum of four-weeks attachment at IRAS.
This greatly helps scholars like Ai Wei who has yet to commence her bond with the organisation and is still open to the choices of the department in IRAS she would like to be posted to.

“My intention is to discover my inclination after learning more about the work in IRAS through the internship,” she explains.

A friendly working environment

Meanwhile, the IRAS scholarship stood out for Ng Lin Yu Jocelyn because of the keen interest and effort put in by the organisation in engaging the scholars even while they are pursuing their studies. Eventually, what sealed the deal was the working environment itself, which she describes as “friendly”.

“I guess I was fortunate to have first-hand experience working at the organisation which I had applied for a scholarship,” she explains. Upon completion of their studies, scholars will be bonded with the organisation for a period of 4 to 6 years, depending on their academic courses. Since graduating from NTU with a degree in Accountancy, Jocelyn has spent a fruitful five years working in IRAS, beyond her bond period of four years for a local scholarship.

In the past five years, she has managed to garner a plethora of experiences while being challenged with the diverse expertise required of each of the three divisions – Enforcement, Taxpayer Services, and Corporate Tax Divisions.

“With such a myriad of departments in IRAS which one can be rotated to, you will have the opportunity to develop different skill sets like communication skills, and analytical thinking for policy formulation, and deepen your tax knowledge,” the 27-year-old explains.

“I was also given the opportunity to be seconded to the Ministry of Finance,” she enthuses.Jocelyn has been in the Tax Policy Directorate within the Ministry of Finance since July 2010. “Right now, my current job scope broadly entails reviewing and working out the details of tax policies for corporate taxpayers,” she explains.

Working for the government

Both scholars are quick to debunk the myth that working in the public sector would be stifling for growth and exposure. “Strong emphasis is placed on staff development, with opportunities given to staff to participate in international conferences and seminars,” Jocelyn clarifies. Ai Wei adds, “Moreover, public organisations like IRAS have management workshops and department rotations in place to expose her staff to various workings of the organisations as well as for holistic skills development.”

“There are also opportunities for one to take up an IRAS postgraduate scholarship,” says Jocelyn, who intends to apply for one after her secondment at the Ministry of Finance.In Jocelyn’s opinion, apart from the experiences gleaned working with officers across Ministries and other statutory boards, job rotation opportunities, and structured training conducted by both in-house trainers and external providers, “there is also that immense satisfaction you derive from contributing to a larger cause to serve the public.”
“In addition, there are projects and committee work for us to take on to gain additional exposure to other areas of work,” iterates Ai Wei.

A very rewarding experience

At the end of the day, Ai Wei notes the four crucial factors to excel in an organisation like IRAS – “integrity, teamwork, perseverance and creativity.” Jocelyn further highlights that one must be willing to work hard, learn fast and manage their responsibilities to deliver quality results. “By doing so, we are contributing to IRAS’s vision of being a leading tax administration and contributing to Singapore’s nation building and economic development,” she affirms.

“If you want to pursue a career which is rewarding both in personal satisfaction as well as professional career development, IRAS is the organisation you should definitely consider applying for,” Jocelyn concludes.

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