News and views from an unique perspective

Local graduate: We need decent jobs to stay relevant

Posted by temasektimes on September 2, 2012

With such employers, graduates will never get the experience that employer wants. Go overseas to gain experience? What a joke.. Overseas job need as much experience too.

We graduates, put in the hard work to get the cert that employers want at the expense of getting experience. So a reasonable starting pay of 2.5k-3k starting pay is to justify for the high cost of living and compensate for the opportunity cost of education.

Yes in the beginning, we might not know what we are doing but with essential training and growth with the company, we give quality work and eventually stay if the company give us space to grow and give a sense of belonging. Yes. You may say that money talks. It goes the same to E-pass employees. If other employers offer a higher pay to them, eventually they will leave too. Its a cycle.

Graduates need job to stay relevant but if we are left hanging for too long, then unemployment problems become a burden to the society and where does that bring ”Singapore a good place to take for a ride”. Don’t stereotype Singaporeans graduates as much as others who stereotype foreign talents.

As much as there are Singaporean graduates who complains, there are as much graduates that I know who are willing to accept a lower starting pay (of 2k-2.4k) in exchange for opportunity to gain the experience but if you employers are willing to give us a chance to grow in the company (together with pay growth), staying is not a problem.


*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.



29 Responses to “Local graduate: We need decent jobs to stay relevant”

  1. joker said

    still thinking – last time old folks say study enough ok liao no need study too much – is this the scenario that happen now? study too much cannot get a job… sad story

  2. Ben said

    The PAP allowed foreign graduates to work in Singapore and also exempted them from CPF. This made them cheaper to hire than Singaporeans. As a result, foreigners are taking jobs away from Singaporeans. The PAP has screwed young Singaporeans big-time with its pro-alien policies.

    • Independent said

      Let me share some reality. An uncle of mine interviewed 3 men for an engineering position. They are all locals. One is 58, diploma grad with yrs of experience as a manager in a different sector – he commands a 6k pay. Another is 40 years old. ITE grad and jobless for a long while doing mlm. He wants a 4k pay. Last man is 32 yrs old, ITE grad too. Inexperienced. Last job was sales. He hoped for a 2.5k pay.

      Their demands were totally unrealistic! No proper or relevant qualifications or experience but demand such a high pay? My uncle says if an FT comes along and is experienced in engineering and only demand a 3k pay, he will sure hire the FT.

      So ppl, this is what our fellow Singaporeans are actually demanding. It’s really a joke.

      • EDWIN said




      • EDWIN said


      • Naivety said

        Excuses excuses excuses everytime to justify not to employ Sinkaporeans!

        Am very sure that when the 3 candidates as mentioned above wrote in their respective applications for the Engineer post, they would have specified their expected salary range or preferred salary range right?

        As stated for the 1st person @58 YO, only diploma holder but with many years experience & his expected salary is $6K;
        2nd person @40 YO, also diploma holder only but jobless for quite a while & his expected salary is $ 4 K; &
        3rd person @32 YO but is inexperienced for engineer’s role & his expected salry is only $2.5 K.

        I believe ur uncle is an FT if not when the salary expectations of the 3 chaps above is not inline with his budget or out of his budget, why are they being shortlisted for the 1st round of interview…just to chit chat & having a casual talk with them to waste their time?

        If the JD for the engineer’s role specified a minimum qualification of at least a Degree in Engineering with relevant experience, then obviously, the 3 selected candidates above do not meet the minimum qualifications & experience req’d upfront & again why are they being selected & shortlisted for the 1st round of interview?? Is this a delusion on your part???

  3. Copycat Chen said

    This is the biggest problem with young chaps these days. They think they are the only ones who have had to go for lower pay just to get a relevant first job,. News flash, this have bee happening since the dawn of modern economy. It was like that when I started working 20 yrs ago, BEFORE FTs, it will still be the same 20 yrs later, FT or not. Unless you want to go down the road of communism, this will keep happening, it will always be driven by market forces and any government that tries to intervene is a stupid one. This is NOT an FT issue. It’s a capitalistic issue

  4. Who Cares said

    Yeah agreed man. $3K is essential to even live in Singapore. We have to save up for our future home and babies. But for all Fresh Grad who wants to be promoted after 2 years to a Manager, you better WAKE UP. I won’t even give you the chance if I am your superior. Who do you think you are.

  5. B Chan said

    copy cat chen: is supply limited, price will go up. get it? with all that cheap supply, price will go down. not capitalism simple economics!

    New grads need to get specialized degrees or training. when i was an MBA grad 30 years ago (not too many around those days) my starting salary was 1,500. after 6 months it went up to 1800 after 6 months. I change job after a year and got 2600. in the 90s, my annual salary was over 250,000 a year. I am retired now and am glad the country then was developing more for singaporeans (with a sprinkling of malaysians).

    • WP = idiots said

      Supply limited price goes up companies move out. What makes you think the company will stay in SG if the price is high and difficult to do business. What advantage does SG have over MY or China? The fact is unless you are in retail most businesses can simply move out of SG if it is hard to get anything done here. U are very successful if you are earning 250K in the 90s. I barely hit above 1K a month when I first started work back in the 90s. It is no longer the 90s. Most companies I am dealing with are talking about outsourcing or moving out altogether.

  6. johnny said

    I am an undergraduate and I couldn’t understand her english. Perhaps I need to graduate before I can comprehend it’s wisdom.

  7. Sg Overseas said

    Young man,

    Dun waste your time in sg especially you are eng graduate. All my peers are old and some of them above 60s are working overseas in Australia, China, Kuwait. Try to look for overseas jobs.

    Try this website and get an agent for help

  8. Bb said

    Take a look at this singaporean in Australian . If he remain in sg he may be like you.

    This is type of FT that sg gov should sent an invitation.

  9. Ivan Ng said

    As much as one would like a reasonably high starting pay of 2.5-3k, employers cannot be justified to give it to the candidate based on the degree that is presented. The degree only shows that you have achieved a good academic score but does not mean you are a good worker. Most of the subjects being taught (non-technical disciplines) may only provide the candidate with good writing skills, but key areas such as team camadarie, negotation/ business development or SAP systems can only be learned whilst on the job. Would you pay a local high terms to learn on the job before he/ she has proven that he/ she can bring in business or contribute to the growth of the company? From an economical perspective, is it better to hire a cheaper (not always necessary) FT who has numerous Masters or degrees at the same rate? There is no written rule that graudates from Singapore must automatically be hired, ahead of FTs.

    • xiao said

      While it is true that there is no written rule Sg graduates must automatically be hired ahead of FTs, which other countries open its door widely to FTs like Sg?

      Why should our own graduates compete with FTs in our own backyard?

      Why don’t ministerial positions be open to FTs as well?

      And finally, let’s see if you will be singing the same tune when it’s your turn or your children’s turn to be at the receiving end of this shabby treatment by the PAP government?

  10. Lucinda Goh said

    @Who Cares said – It is ok to look forward to a promotion if they had worked hard and done well. Do you know there are many relationship managers in banks who rise from entry level jobs just after 2 years and can earn as much as 30K a month (with commissions) They are usually young and presumably presentable looking girls who serve high net worth clients in wealth management or private banking. More prevalent for ladies than guys. Some say it is because of the good service these sexy girls can provide to their amorous clients.

  11. Vote WP Out said

    A typical young Singaporean complaining. He should aim to work cheaper, better and faster instead of whining online. If he cannot find a job, he himself is to be blamed.

  12. Tan Tiong Hock said

    Graduate with cert, whether local or foreign does not warrant you or entitle you to a job of your choice and their subsequent progression. For that matter, i would prefer that job be given to one without the cert and have shown attitudes, attributes and proper drives towards the task in hand.
    So dont be expecting that just becos of your “certification”, there is entitlement. That has always been the case in the past and will remain so presently and into the future. If You have the right attitudes, attributes and “energy and disposition”,
    you will be noticed and be taken up, whether its for beginner’s position or for advancement in existing position.
    So please reconcile your mentality to the reality out there, instead of “demanding” of what it should be from your own prospectives.

    • Independent said

      U forgot aptitude too. Skills are impt even if Certs aren’t in most jobs. I wouldn’t hire someone who’s not trained as an engineer even if he has a strong drive, eagerness to learn and humility.

    • Anya said

      Hi Mr. Tan Tiong Hock,

      Are you the same Tan Tiong Hock that is an expert in Oil Trading? I’d like to get in touch with you, if possible.



  13. John Chan said

    one area to look into is role the employment agencies and hr departments. They find it more profitable to engage foreigners and they tend to stay longer. So they shortlist all the foreigners and recommend them to their clients.

    • Naivety said

      Well said & this trend is very true indeed!

    • Independent said

      It’s more impt for m

      • Independent said

        It’s more impt for most Singaporeans to reflect their value and not hold unrealistic dreams. I’ve heard too much fr others on how unrealistic our own ppl can be when it comes to job interviews and expected salaries. Eg diploma grad at the age of 58 wanting 6k pay? ITE grad at the age of 41 wanting 4k pay? None was even experienced in that line. I think they are dreaming. The worst came fr idiotic responses during the interview – oh, I like to earn 3k because my mother/gf said this is the minimum. If such jokers exist, no wonder employers have to turn to FTs. It’s not even abt who is cheaper but who has the right skills, attitude and more realistic expectations.

  14. samanthalkw said

    As a graduate from an overseas university within a similar multicultural city where foreign talents are abundant, I can safely attest that the gripes that Singaporeans are voicing are not limited to our island. With my current position here overseas, I’m probably one adding to that statistic within this country, but from a FT’s point of view its a dog eat dog world, and if the locals cannot hack it, I’m trying to feed my own rice bowl.

    I’m not entirely defending FTs and that the SG government is headed in the right direction, given that I’ve seen one too many problems faced within this country because of the introduction of FTs, such as immigration and crime issues associated to lax immigration laws. However, because I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone to live and work in a foreign country, I’ve realised how pampered most Singaporeans are and how hungry you can really be when you are forced to step out of the bubble which is Singapore and its comfy spoon feeding government.

    A comment one of my managers made the other day made me realise this; this came from a man who has worked in several countries previously, one obviously being Singapore and for a considerable amount of time. He said to me that when he worked in Singapore, he could immediately tell who had overseas experience and who were local grads. The reason simply being that overseas grads were more proactive and hungry to do jobs because they knew that this was their one up, they did not have sparkling certs which had honours or first classes like the locals, but because they knew what their competition was like overseas, they worked hard to make sure they stood out. Local grads were book smart but lacked common sense, they were reactive, and waited to be told what to do, in theory they stood out, but practically they could not hack it.

    Yes local Singaporean companies should help by offering jobs to graduates, but whether the graduates are hungry and are willing to be proactive rather than reactive and wait to be told what to do makes a difference. If local graduates are really looking to take the job market seriously, then do what all job hungry graduates are doing else where. Intern for free. Work for free. Experience is all you need to stand out in this current job market.

    I am only saying this from a personal point of view because I myself have experienced this and can safely say that this has worked to my advantage here. I have seen one too many local graduates here eager to get their degree and start work only to be told they do not have the relevant experience, while their peers who have taken at least a year in between to do a year of internship either free or partly paid get a job at least within a year of graduating. Employers are more than happy to take a graduate on if they can show they can apply themselves or do not need babysitting or extra training costs.

    I’m not saying the onus is completely on the graduates, the government also needs to start to rethink their current education plan for undergraduates seeing that they are accepting FTs with more work experience than their own next gen work force. Work experience needs to be made an optional or compulsory course itself with credits within the degrees. I myself thank the fact that my degree included a full year’s work experience which culminated into a course at the final year, it really taught me how to eat humble pie, and that working in the real world meant stepping out of the comfort zone to go out of my way to stand out in a working environment, the only reason why I am now working overseas just shy of 2 years from my graduation.

    So all in all, it takes 2 hands to clap, the government and the youth. Neither can be blamed entirely for how this has panned out for local grads and the job market, but both must take equal responsibility and start working to make the future work out rather than blaming either side.

    • Surgeon Nab beh CB said

      In Singapore, the trend for the past decades is: if you are cheap….you will be hired!!!!!

    • Surgeon Nab beh CB said

      Singapore is the only First world country cum World’s richest country with abundant of CHEAP labours!!! This is just fxxking wrong somewhere!!!

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