What it does: Corporate insurance, financial planning, financial advisory, and individual insurance products and services.
Best known for: Great Eastern Life is the biggest and oldest life insurance company in Singapore and Malaysia with SGD85 billion in assets.
Staff stats: More than 7,000 employees.
The good bits: accelerated career progression for graduates through the Corporate Management Associate Programme.
The not so good bits: Some regional offices, particularly in Indonesia, observe an age limit for entry-level roles.
Great Eastern Life was established in 1908. The company claims to be the oldest life insurance provider in Malaysia and Singapore. By 2004, Great Eastern Life became a majority-owned subsidiary of the OCBC Group through OCBC Bank, which is the longest-established bank in Singapore.
The company’s presence spans Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Great Eastern Life’s customer base consists of over four million policyholders. Their three distribution channels (bancassurance, financial advisory and tied agents) have led the organisation to own more than SGD85 billion in assets over the years.
Great Eastern Life follows a specific routine for hiring candidates that varies slightly between regions. Recent graduates can pursue a full-time role through the ‘Corporate Management Associate Programme’ (CMAP). They should prepare for video interviews, a ‘hackathon’ assessment to solve real-life business problems, and panel interviews with company leaders.
Students not ready to graduate can apply for an internship through the ‘Great Step Programme’ that focuses on actuary, finance, marketing and risk roles. CMAP usually accepts applications at the start of every year and ends before the second quarter.
Graduates can apply online for job vacancies at Great Eastern Life, but your application should mention certain details such as your latest or expected salary and any work experience.
Applicants can apply online through the company website or a third-party job portal. Graduates should also submit a hard copy of their CV by snail mail. An in-person interview usually follows if you are short-listed for the vacancy. A second assessment or interview may be necessary before the company decides on a job offer.
Internship applications can take one day for those who apply through their colleges or universities. The interview questions tend to focus on general topics including educational background, interests and personality.
Entry-level graduates are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree (S1) in any major and hold good negotiation skills. The company prefers to hire individuals with a minimum of one-year experience in marketing or sales with an insurance company. Graduates with friendly personalities will have an advantage.
The company encourages fresh graduates to apply as associates for the digital and affinity marketing unit. They must have a degree in business, marketing or a related field of study. Experience isn’t necessary to join Great Eastern Life as an associate in the customer due diligence and finance departments.
Some of the entry-level roles include associates for the payment administration department. The role requires a bachelor’s degree in business or insurance. Analysts for the campaign analytics division normally have up to two years of experience, but the company may consider fresh graduates with degrees in applied mathematics, business analytics, econometrics and statistics.
The compensation structure for entry-level roles includes an incentive scheme, medical coverage, local and overseas convention trips. Some employees reportedly receive meal allowances.
Interns earn up to MYR1,000 per month on average. The median salary for associates and management trainees ranges from MYR3,000 and MYR4,000 per month. Employees are eligible for bereavement and sick leave, employee discounts, life and health insurance, performance bonuses, remote work options, 21 days of paid time off every year and an MYR2,000 dental benefit.
The company pays an average of up to SGD1,000 per month for interns. Associates earn at least SGD2,000 per month on average. Analysts can earn an average of SGD4,500 per month depending on the nature of work. Some of the benefits include child care leave, CPF contributions, hospitalisation and sick leave, medical coverage and sales commissions.
Great Eastern Life greatly relies on closing sales with individual and corporate clients, so you should expect a target-driven and customer-centric environment at the company. A job as a financial advisor entails patience when dealing with clients, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the insurance sector. Some employees say that the company also expects employees to be on time, complete work on tight deadlines and be aggressive in marketing strategies.
The company’s rivals in the local and foreign insurance industry include Aviva Ltd, AXA Singapore, Prudential Singapore, Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore and Zurich Life Insurance Singapore.
Great Eastern Life has partnered with Bank OCBC NISP to undertake corporate social responsibility projects such as the My Village of Light activity. The initiative provides lighting facilities and household electric equipment to more than 100 families. The company also helped rehabilitate schools in Wanajaya Village in West Java.
The organisation also engages in community projects such as volunteering with the Disabled Child Development Foundation, where employees met the foundation’s students and engaged in games and performances. Great Eastern Life also supports financial literacy by sponsoring educational seminars with startup companies and non-financial organisations.
Graduates should be passionate about insurance marketing and sales to succeed at Great Eastern Life. The company’s goal-oriented and client-focused business can imply a high-pressure work environment, but those who overcome the challenges are rewarded with financial incentives and an opportunity to travel overseas.