Find a job in Johor Baharu
Updated 2022-05-17 14:31

Johor Bahru, Malaysia's second-largest city, is located in a strategic region that confers rapid development. Commonly referred to as JB, Johor Bahru is the southernmost city in Malaysia, as well as the capital of the state of Johor. Johor Bahru's population currently stands at around 3.66 million, but its annual growth rate of 1.2% places it among the most populous cities in Southeast Asia.

The state of Johor sits right in the middle of the Indonesia/Singapore/Malaysia (IMS-GT) Growth Triangle, an area created to “strengthen regional economic ties and maximize complementarity between the three adjacent areas”. Johor Bahru has an abundant labor force, multiple natural resources and plenty of land with high potential for development.

Located at the southern end of the state, Johor Bahru is a coastal city separated from Singapore by the Strait of Johor. This proximity to the port island itself is a real blessing for the city. Before the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia, no less than 300,000 residents of Johor Bahru commuted daily to work in Singapore. Similarly, many Singaporean citizens travel to Johor Bahru on a daily basis to shop cheaply or to work.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia, good neighborly relations between Johor Bahru and Singapore have unfortunately become less vivid. There are now far fewer nationals of Singaporean and Malaysian states making the daily round trip between these two countries. However, the partial and phased reopening of the Malaysian borders, which began at the end of 2021, allowed a resumption, rather timid at first, of trade and population movements between Singapore and Johor Bahru. Public transport is functional again thanks to the Vaccinated Travel Lane-Land (VTL-Land), which provides a secure connection between the two countries. However, this is only accessible to people who have been vaccinated since November 2021. Travelers must produce their vaccination certificate (Vaccination Travel Pass) to be able to take this bus.

Johor Bahru is considered a suburb of Singapore. It is connected to the metropolis via the Causeway and 2nd Link bridges. Besides the bus, the MRT Singapore Metro rapid cross-border line serves both destinations. It connects the Bukit Chagar terminus in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and the Woodlands North terminal in Singapore.

Local economy and labor market

With a population of around 800,000, Johor Bahru is an important city in Malaysia, both economically and geographically. Its proximity to Singapore allows this city to benefit from a significant financial contribution from the main hub between the Pacific zone and the rest of the World. Many Singaporeans have also settled in Johor Bahru, which allows them to live very comfortably thanks to the value of their currency, the Singapore dollar, being very strong compared to the Malaysian ringgit (1 Singapore dollar is worth a little more of 3 RM).

Living and renting are indeed much cheaper in Johor Bahru than in Singapore, which explains this population flow from what is nicknamed the garden island. Many of these Singaporean expatriates still work in Singapore and travel back and forth between the two countries on a daily basis. This is made possible thanks in particular to the cross-border agreements, the close relationship and the common history shared by Malaysia and Singapore. Many companies and properties in the city belong to Singaporean groups or investors.

Thanks to the large profits and financial investments that come from wealthy Singaporean investors and expatriates, business is flourishing in Johor Bahru. The city is also a popular shopping destination in the region. Many shops, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs provide continuous entertainment in the streets of the city center. Johor Bahru is as such renowned for its many shopping malls, frequented by crowds of not only Malaysians, Singaporeans and nationals of many countries in the region, but also foreigners from all over the world. The prices are usually very advantageous, and it is not difficult to do business.

Financial services form an important economic pillar of Johor Bahru. The famous accounting group Deloitte has an office in the city. Johor Bahru is also home to many startups and SMEs offering FinTech solutions aimed at automating administrative and financial procedures within different types of companies, private or public organizations.

Launched in 2006 by the Malaysian government, the Iskandar project has greatly contributed to the current prosperity of Johor Bahru. The objective of this ambitious economic initiative is to create a “growth corridor” in the Johor region, notably by profiteering from the advantages of its location and its highly favorable economic ecosystem. The growth area identified by authorities is more than 4,700 square meters, six times the size of neighboring Singapore.

The Iskandar project is the largest development project ever undertaken in the region. It is driven by the service sectors, with the support of some industrial sectors (electricity and electronics, agri-food, petrochemicals and oleochemicals) which represent the region's key economic drivers. Thanks to this strategy, several internationally renowned manufacturers and multinationals have settled in the region, such as the American chocolate manufacturer Hershey Co. and the Legoland amusement park.

Five main economic sectors make up the strength and stability of Johor Bahru: electrical and electronics, petrochemicals, oil and gas, food processing, logistics, and tourism. Four emerging sectors are strongly driving economic growth in the city and region: finance, insurance, real estate and business services (FIREBS), creative industries, health services, and education.

Nowadays, many Malaysian or foreign investors choose to set up their headquarters and factories in Johor Bahru. The Johor State Investment Center was established with the aim of attracting foreign and domestic investment to Johor. In that same vein, the Sultan of Johor hopes that the state will become an economic powerhouse of great influence by positioning itself as a privileged economic partner of Singapore, instead of opposing it as has been the case in the past.

The tourism sector has long been one of Johor Bahru's most successful economic engines. Before the outbreak of the pandemic in Malaysia in early 2020, the city welcomed an average of 16 million tourists a year. Unfortunately, the severe health measures taken by the Malaysian government (closure of borders, heavy national confinement) have strongly affected the tourism and hotel sector. The phased reopening of Malaysia, launched at the end of 2021, should allow the sector to recover in some ways, but the cost of this international crisis should still remain more than substantial.

The prosperity displayed by Johor Bahru has enabled the city to attract large numbers of expatriates, and not only Singaporean citizens. The opportunities are numerous since the strengthening of economic ties with Singapore. Many expatriates start their own business in Johor Bahru thanks to local economic facilities and countless investment opportunities. With development plans like Iskandar targeting international investors, and the local government focusing on developing different economic markets, skilled and experienced foreigners are indeed regarded as an asset to JB's development. Those with language skills are particularly attractive, especially if they are fluent in one or more Eastern languages such as Malay, Japanese or Mandarin.

Finding a job in Johor Bahru

If you are looking for a job in Johor Bahru in this strategic area in Southeast Asia, you can consult job offers on specialized websites or contact a recruitment agency. Professional social networks, such as LinkedIn, and expat forums in Malaysia are also valuable tools, as are local contacts and networking evening events. Normally, such events are regularly attended by different types of professionals. However, changes due to Covid-19 in Malaysia have caused such gatherings to slow down.

Many online platforms relay job offers from companies in Johor Bahru. Some of the most popular in the city and Johor region include GrabJobs,, JobStreet, Glassdoor, and many more. Some of the advertisements for job offers in Johor Bahru are exclusively reserved for expatriate positions, but they are most often positions requiring extensive experience and advanced technical skills: accountants, engineers, coders, programmers, and specialists of all kinds.

Like most major urban centers in Malaysia, Johor Bahru has seen a significant increase in the number of coworking spaces in recent years. Such spaces are very popular with young professionals, SMEs, startups, freelancers or students, in particular. The neighborhood of many professionals working in various fields of activity has significant benefits: dynamic atmosphere, ease of contact and professional networking, knowledge sharing, etc. Well-known and popular coworking platforms in Johor Bahru include DreamSpace Shared Office, Infinity8, Shomefice #1, Value Office-Southkey Mosaic, MEN INN WORK, Tai-Pan, Regus and My Cloud Labs.

Being home to many young professionals, Johor Bahru has a thriving leisure industry. Its restaurants, bars and nightclubs make it a prized destination for many foreign nationals who wish to decompress after a hard day at work. This generally ends up in the gathering of a cosmopolitan horde who come out to enjoy the famous nights of Johor Bahru. Some areas of the city are known for their small businesses such as convenience stores, specialty shops and street vendors. The gastronomy of Johor Bahru, a clever mix of local and international specialties (not to mention fusion cuisine) is renowned throughout Malaysia, and it is not uncommon for work meetings or discussions of all kinds between investors to take place around a good table

Rents are generally higher in Johor Bahru than elsewhere in Malaysia (especially in the city center), but not as much as in Kuala Lumpur. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center, for example, costs around RM1,200 per month, compared to just over RM800 in the suburbs. For comparison, a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Kuala Lumpur costs over RM1,900 per month. However, rents and property values have been rising sharply in Johor Bahru in recent years, mainly due to the influx of investment and population from Singapore. On the other hand, the cost of living remains low and very affordable, especially for expatriates from Singapore, Europe or North America.

Useful links:

Tourism Johor


Jobs DB





We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.