The article below has been contributed by Donavan Cheah, undergrad.
Jobs, jobs, jobs… everyone and their dog has an opinion about jobs and employment. We went out and spoke with 25 different people, and got 25 different views about jobs and aspirations!
JC student: “I want to aim for a good job. 3k a month for an entry job sounds reasonable, right? But that’s entry hor. In future I want work towards medical school, set up my own private practice. Own my own clinic and set my own rules! If cannot, at least work in a large private hospital and become some big shot!”
Poly student: “I want to go university to get a degree. Diploma pay is too low, and the SME tells me they can only offer me a measly $2k a month. How can?”
Year 2 science student: “To be a teacher with MOE? Too rigid lah. Tuition teacher? So many tutors running around, troublesome. Researcher? But then it seems flooded with PRCs and Indians… how to find job like that?”
Year 4 local Honours student: “I study so hard, a high salary is granted man – no high salary, I study so hard for what? Kok your head ah…“
Law intern: “Woah, very busy work… my boss keeps on telling me to research on so many cases! People nowadays got plenty of money to sue, hor? Nevermind, shiong now, next time I will be partner!”
Foreign construction worker: “Hot sun, low pay, dangerous. But I got job, got food, happy. Can play cricket on Sunday, very happy.”
Private Fund Manager: “Well, our jobs go up and down with the tide. Better make hay while the sun shines… when the winter of financial discontent comes, who knows if we’ll be employed still?”
We hear from some employers…
F&B outlet owner: “90% of my colleagues told me their business venture blew up in smoke. I must be a lucky guy. But if my rent is just going to go up, what can I do? And nowadays we’re being forced by MOM and NTUC to pay more. Business not easy can?”
SME employer 1, dealing with consultancy jobs: “I have a staff of 7. If I pay each one $3000 instead of $2500, I’d need to find 3 or 4 more customers, you know. But how to fight with the big giants? Worse lor, MOM now tells me I had better tighten my foreign worker quota. If not I could get them, underpay them a bit, because they seem OK with it.”
SME employer 2, general business: “How can I possibly survive? I hired this uni grad last year, and this year he tells me he wants to move to the Big 4. If I keep on training uni grads for the Big 4, I might as well change my SME to be a training institute, you know! They just keep on telling me they need career advancement. This is the biggest productivity killer!”
“Big 4” employer: “…well, we see so many outstanding graduates apply here year after year, but we only have that many positions. It is inevitable that we disappoint the majority of people. Surely 200 people fighting for 10 places sounds unreasonable, but such is how competitive the job market is today.”
Research Institute employer: “We wish we could hire Singaporeans. But this kind of job isn’t something that can be done by some student who went to uni for 4 years. We need someone who really has deep knowledge of extracting oil from under the seabed. Most that come to us are foreign talents from China and India. At the end of the day, we still need to extract oil as a core business, so what do you expect? Therefore, while we give 20 jobs to locals, we need to keep 180 jobs for our trained foreigners we bring from overseas.”
Even Parents have their say…
Parents of a five-year-old, preparing for primary school: “Better send him to Tao Nan. We shifted here 5 years ago just to make sure we are in an earlier phase for school bidding and did our volunteer work for 4 years until they scrapped it! What if he can’t be a doctor or lawyer next time?”
Parents of poly student: “He (their son) want to do what, he do what lor… but then, make game can make money meh?”
Parents (speaking to a primary school kid): “Must study hard hor, if not you’ll become the road-sweeper downstairs. You don’t want right?”
Parents of a uni student: “I know job market very competitive! My friend’s son is already in KPMG, earning 4k a month leh. My daughter better catch up.”
…and from Unionists…
From an In-House Union: “…now, company is making good money, we must urge the employers to share more with the staff. It has to be now. When times are bad, they’ll tell you that it is difficult to pay. So must do it now.”
From an Industrial Union: “…all of us here is just here to make a living right or not? We also want to stay long with the company, which is why we’re in a union! Although yes, every year we ask management to raise salaries (according to NWC guidelines), but it is reasonable! Inflation eats into our salary….company makes money, company must take care of us. We take care of company!”
From another Industrial Union: “We are voted in by members. Members expect and require us to look after their welfare and their jobs. We must do so lah! Sometimes it is difficult to negotiate with management, but at the end of the day – when workers issues are addressed, it is worth it. If they like, they can elect us again.”
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