Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Thursday January 17th 2019

33-year-old local Indian with masters degree jobless for 6 months and applied for 500 job vacancies without avail

Transitioning: First of all, thanks for allowing us to interview you online and can you provide us with some background information about yourself?

Bala: 33 year old Male -  born Singaporean. Jobless. Masters degree holder with 17 years working experience. 7 years Managerial experience in Accounts,IT,HR, Facility Management and Administration.

Transitioning: What was  your last occupation and you have told me that you were unemployed for a few months, can you tell us more about this and  also  your job search experience?

Bala: Accounts & Admin Manager. Unemployed for the 6th month. Got retrenched to cut cost.

Applied almost more than 500 jobs to various sites. None replied. Even went to MSF (previously CDC), but no use. Most of the PSD jobs I applied, I qualify above their requirement so I get rejected.

Transitioning: You have told me that you are currently jobless for more than six months, what did you do in order to survive? Did you also approach the CDC for assistance?

Bala: I applied for financial assistance which gives me $250 per month with an EZ link top of $50. I have pawned all my gold.

Past 2 months I have been paying partial bills and currently halted bank loans which has just been increasing the interest.

I have stopped going out. Most of the times I borrow $20-$50 from my girlfriend.

Transitioning: Did you attend any interviews  during the past few  months  and why do you think you are unsuccessful so far?

Bala: In the 6 months, I have attended 2 interviews only, but had lots of phone interviews.

Transitioning: Tell us abit more about what you have learnt from your jobless experience and how it has impacted your family.

Bala: This isn’t the first time I have been unemployed. I have learnt that as an Indian born in Singapore we have no respect and I hate to see all the foreigners sitting in on our jobs.

My house is currently supported by my 61 year old parent. I have no words to describe the current situation.

Transitioning: What do you think you could have done to shorten the unemployment period?

Bala:  I tried part time jobs, made calls, applied for tuition etc but however, after seeing my qualifications, I was given the reason “overqualified”. The government should see to the hiring situation here.

Transitioning: Do you think that Singapore is now a more difficult place to make a living?

Bala: Yes I do agree without thinking twice. First it is expensive, then there is an influx in foreigners. My list of unhappiness is extremely long…

Transitioning: What do you think the government can do to alleviate the current employment situation?

Bala: Send job applications to a government hire. MOM should stop taking in the foreigners to take up the jobs.

There is a long list of unemployed Singaporeans. Hire them first.

During calls to banks or telecom companies, staff who answer are now practically all foreigners.

Can’t understand what they say. Private companies should also come under the government. Hire people like me.

In my past company, 95% of the staff are foreigners and I totally understand how easy it is to hire them.

First ask MOM to go and check the bank statement of S Pass holders and see if the companies are really paying the stated amount.

I have many ideas but it cannot be emulated if I’m not in any authoritative post.

Transitioning: Many people have blame foreigners for competing jobs with us, what is your view on this?

Bala:  We do not expect a $10,000 salary but we expect a salary that matches the previous job.

We cannot be expecting a salary that is lower. Can anyone in the Ministerial position understand the expenditure level, housing payments, etc? We need a certain amount of salary in order to survive.

These foreigners do not bring their families here and don’t have any issues surviving. Top people in Banks are people from India! Why? Top people from telecommunication companies are white people!

Why? Is the government trying to say that Singaporeans are incapable?

Transitioning: Lastly, whats your advice for those who are still jobless and feeling down?

Bala: Leave Singapore. If I had the money I will leave this darn country.

There was a time I used to say I was from Singapore whenever I travel.

Nowadays when I say that, first thing I am asked is that if I am from India working in Singapore. I seriously hate being asked that.

There is no point looking for jobs in Singapore. 2 things -  first I am an Indian with family roots from Singapore getting least respect and being compared to b@#$%&d and next is don’t bother studying and staying in Singapore. A degree isn’t valid now.

Foreigners has no degree and yet they are preferred. Why?

Personal Identity stolen by foreigners.

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Reader Feedback

31 Responses to “33-year-old local Indian with masters degree jobless for 6 months and applied for 500 job vacancies without avail”

  1. Manson says:

    You are 33 years old but have 17 years working experience. You start work at 16 years old without completing your education?

  2. fleez says:

    This sounds very dubious. How can someone be a manager for 7 years in so many distinct functions (Accounts, IT, HR, Facilities, Administration)? Each of these profession is very different and require quite some years to build up expertise, but somehow this guy is able to be a manager in all these fields? I suspect he was just doing general administration management that happens to cover some of these functions lightly.

    I highly suspect his asking pay might be too high and that was what caused him to be retrenched in the first place. I do not know what he was working as at 16 years old, but I doubt it is relevant to what he’s doing now so the “17 years’ experience” is tad misleading also.

    My advice is to consult a recruiter and get an honest assessment on how much salary he can command in the current market. No point getting hard headed and insist on current “manager” pay especially if the experience is very sparse on general without any special skillsets as far as I can tell.

    Also might be good to pick 1 particular skillset and experience and market that aggressively rather than going around telling employers you are a general worker who has been working since 16 years old, it just doesn’t look impressive on CV.

    • Kyoji says:

      Manson (1) & fleez (2): I can believe in Bala.

      I work full time while studying part time for 8 years after NS so I believe that there is a possibility that he have included part time working experience when he is a teenager at the age of a secondary school boy.

      I have work in various profession where I start off with engineering related jobs & end with business related jobs because of my engineering & Business qualifications. I suspected that instead of holding so many trade managerial positions, he maybe holding Office Manager position where the position require him to cover functions like Accounts, IT, HR, Facilities, Administration & etc.

    • unemployed says:


      I’m in similiar situation with masters and unemployed for more than 6mths. Hundreds of resume sent and still no interview. My last position held was vice president of global operations. I’m 40 yrs old and very disapointed with our govt. Jobs should be given priority first to locals. If locals cannot do the job due to lack of expertise then FTs can be allowed to do the job. The problem we have now is when the FTs are holding high position or in charge of hiring position in the company, they will then start to recruit their own kind. Have a look at the banking sector DBS for e.g. why are there so many indians from india? Have a look an sg post, why many angmos in senior management,city bank, barklays, dhl etc. Why most of the head hunters are FTs now….govt should investigate those FTs are in charge of in hiring positions, look into their pratices etc.

      • You are so right about DBS! You can’t get pass the interview no matter how qualified you are as it’s conducted by these supercilious Indians in high positions. And who put them there? Thanks to our government!!!

  3. qaz says:

    Do Bala’s Resume give hiring manager the impression that he is “overselling”?

  4. sal says:

    Maybe you need 2 type of resumes , one for manager and the other for senior or sexecutive level. Doesn’t mean you have a master degree you know the relevant job?

  5. Bala says:

    To answer your comments, I have been working since 14 years. Haven’t all of you heard of working and studying? For those who contemplating over my education: I did my degree in our local Uni and my Masters in an England Uni. I have attended various cv writing course which always talks about different cvs. I have done up my cv to the best. Mt recent career coach advised me that I was not overselling. I have been to umpteen job agencies and applied many too. Till now, nothing has been turning out well. I went to Uni at the age of 27 due family and financial issues. Talking is easy but to be in such a situation is tough. I have turned to my area’s MP too but no use. I applied for jobs below my standard but I get turn away saying over qualified. On par jobs reject me saying I don’t fully satisfy their requirement even though I clearly surpass their criteria. I also don’t think I will know the relevant job but I only apply the jobs I know, I have experience in and knowledge in. I am only asking my last salary which is 5.2k. However, I even decreased to 3k but no companies want. What am to do? And I was not doing general management. I have all relevant certificates, proper testimonials and exposure which I can clearly prove. My job experience is of 17 years cos I accumulated while saying this statement. When I got retrenched, 2 people were retrenched before me. My asst was from India who licked my bosses ass! I was even played out but I need not explain my self. My cover letter doe snot state that I ma a general worker but particularly shows my skill set.

  6. Thistoo Shallpass says:

    What is your Master degree in and from which university did you get it? If you started working at 16 and studied part time at a reputable university to get two degrees, then it says one thing about you. But if you bought those degrees online, then it says something totally different. Your degrees may actually be detrimental to your job search. Think about how you present them.

    “We do not expect a $10,000 salary but we expect a salary that matches the previous job. We cannot be expecting a salary that is lower.” This is simply unrealistic in today’s environment. You may have to accept a lower salary until you can prove yourself and be fully productive in your new job. Lower your expectation.

    If you leave Singapore and go to another country, you will become a “Foreign Talent” in that country taking jobs away from the local people. If you think it is bad for them to come to Singapore and take jobs from Singaporeans, why do you think it is good for you to go to another country and do the same?

    • Kyoji says:

      Thistoo Shallpass (6), fleez (7) & xyz (9):

      What you have said is very true. However there is a limitation in lowering salary expectation because we have family to support. I used to be a HR practitioner & I can share with you that once they drop their salary expectation, it will be hard to get back to their last 2 highest salary because of life cycle (age). You will be surprise that some of them used to work as an Engineer but now a Technician or even an Operator because they are unable to find a Technical Officer position after lowering salary & job expectation. Getting a lower salary & job does not mean you can getting a better work life balance.

      I dare to say that Singaporeans are not up to do the jobs because they do not dare to take risk such as doing illegal things. But is this even the correct way to do thing in Singapore? Singapore have very limited opportunity to give employee a regional/global exposure to build working experience. he cause of this downfall is due to companies do not provide deployment to employees & they are willing to hire only those who have regional/global experience which is foreigner. So why did our Government did not identify this & enforce deployment to Singapore or else we will forever require foreigner to take up these positions? This is the reason why there is a needs to create an opportunity to go overseas to work & grain regional/global exposure.

      So what make us think we are good to go oversea to get a job when our job are steal by foreigner? The thing is our poor Government policies that allow almost anyone who are not competent with or without a fake degree & local experiences to enter Singapore to work. A few good examples will be from ministries, statutory boards, organs of state & public services. Other western countries give priority to citizens & PRs first before employers needs to have tons of supporting documents to prove that there is a needs to foreigner. You may not get a job you want in those countries because you do not have a local experience however you can start off as working as a macdonald crew with reasonable minimum wages of A$3,000. So that why Bala say needs the money (to get PR) to work overseas.

      This is the reason why I agree with you that unless we are able to overthrow the PAPies and their destructive HR policies. For the foreseeable future, we’re stuck with the current reality.


      Off line topic:

      Those who are used to be in Big4 will have a payout if they are getting only just $5.2 for the position of Finance Manager in MNC. It really depend on the budget of an organization & responsibility of the position. I take Office Manager as an example. Some organizations, they only give their Office Manager a salary range between S$1,800 to S$2,500 while some are getting above S$5,000. By right, they are the highest ranking apart from their director which require them to make decision for the company & managing staffs under his//her charge. So giving $5,000 for the position of Office Manager is reasonable which is the reason why I don’t think Bala is overpaid (unless I have the whole story of Bala).

      Now if organization have the budget & scale size which increase the responsibility of the position, I would agree that recruiting a job candidate with specialization rather the generalist. However how many jobs in today Singapore require you to do more then one function?

      • Kyoji says:

        spelling error/missing words.

        he cause of this downfall = The cause of this downfall.

        deployment = development.

        grain regional/global exposure = gain regional/global exposure.

        there is a needs to foreigner =there is a needs to HIRE foreigner.

        Those who are used to be in Big4 will have a payout = Those who are used to be in Big4 will have a paycut

        $5.2 = S$5,200

  7. fleez says:

    Hi Bala,

    I doubt any employer is really that interested in your masters degree as the job you are doing really doesn’t seem to have much to do with it anyway.

    You still have not answered how it is possible to be a manager of so many different functional roles in the span of 7 years. This sounds to me more like you were doing surface level jack of all trade stuff.

    In this case, it is not very realistic to insist employers pay you 5.2k. For e.g. for 5.2k a company can get an experienced Finance Manager that has worked in a big 4 and some experience in other big MNCs, why should he/she spend so much to hire someone who has only done various odd jobs without any specialization?

    Same thing will happen for IT, HR, Admin, Facilities department as well. It doesn’t make sense for an employer to pay you that high when for the same amount they can get someone who really has deep exprtise in their field and maybe regional/global experience working in a MNC.

    You really need to redo your cv and focus on unique selling point. Starting work at 16 or doing many different kinds of jobs over the years is not a selling point. Criteria is not just about years of experience or you having a masters, it is also you level of expertise, how well acquainted you are in the relevant professional network, your project handling experience and your ability to deal with complex stakeholders in complicated organizations.

    You had some good luck getting overpaid in your previous company, now that they have realised it and moved on by retreching you, it is also time for you to move on and rebuild your career. Insisting on getting paid 5k+ on generic work experience and a masters degree just doesnt cut.

  8. Bala says:

    Replying to Thistoo Shallpass— I studied in UniSim.For goodness sake I did not buy any degree… If you see my cv you will know my calibre. And pls read carefully, I applied for jobs with much lower and much much lower salary. None employed me…

    • Thistoo Shallpass says:

      Bala, you did not quite answer the question of what is your master degree in and which university in England did you get it. If you started your master degree when you were 27, you have only a few years’ experience after getting the degree, and that’s how employers will look at it.

  9. xyz says:

    For $2,500 companies can get MBAs and Masters of Engineering / Computer Science with 5-7 years experience in US & European MNCs (e.g. IBM, Microsoft, P&G, J&J, Novartis, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Nestle, 3M, Emerson, Honeywell, etc etc) and working experience in multi-million dollar projects.

    Of course whether their experience is true or their CV is true is another story. But fact of the matter in S’pore is that these foreigners are getting the jobs.

    Most of these foreigners are actually recruited / hired in their home countries by the MNCs and then shipped over to S’pore.

    So you REALLY NEED to make yourself attractive compared to the above.

    Unless you are able to overthrow the PAPies and their destructive HR policies. For the foreseeable future, you’re stuck with the current reality.

  10. vto says:

    I feel for you Bala. Far too many foreign parasites here and I have seen one too many instances when a local could have easily fulfilled that role. It is utterly despicable of the ruling elite to allow hordes of third world labour to suppress salaries to unacceptable levels in this world’s most expensive city. They expect the ordinary citizen to toil until 80 whilst they pay themselves obscenely, astronomically in the name of ‘correct and realistic’ salaries.

    The priority of any government is to look after the needs of its citizens but the ruling ellite has chosen to forsake its people whilst continuing to gorge on the public purse. Come next GE, you know what to do.

  11. tobic-matters says:

    This Bala keep telling us how good his calibre and a masters degree and complain employers not hiring him.

    Sorry, so far I don’t see anything in his calibre that will impress any company. His CV is patchy doing a lot of different jobs, but other than working many years and a fancy “manager” title, I really don’t see where the calibre is.

    It is hard to see how any company will be impress with a part time unisim masters. In fact from perception POV, an NUS/NTU/SMU bachelor’s degree will still win hands down.

    So far Bala cannot even convince readers here (and we are more sympathetic than a typical HR interviewer) and seem to just repeat on & on how good is his calibre and his masters. Not a good sign.

  12. sal says:

    Hi Bala, maybe the industry that you’re in is dying I industry in Spore. I used to be in Manufacturing but move on to Education now, With the current situation in Spore, you must be more survival or migrate to another city that need your skills set. Good luck.

  13. salmaan says:

    Bala…Stop being choosy….There are jobs in Singapore n it is competitive…Get a job n move on in life…No use giving such feedback…I am also a local Indian…I have been surviving without parents support since the age of 17…Work hard the smart way…There are people who have no jobs at all but are willing to do almost any job..Cut the crap…

    I dun believe that u cannot get a job which pays at least S$2000 to S$2200…which is enough to survive leading a simple n relaxed life in Singapore…

    I am an example…Cheers n Smiles.

  14. Kyoji says:

    salmaan: Some are lucky like you while some are not. But I just hope that those are are unemployed can get a job which pays at least S$2000 & above.

  15. malavita says:


    Please cut the crap and your excuses. Here in singapore, as long as u r willing to work hard, and dun fear the sun n sweat, u can easily make money. Look at myself. I am a good example. I studied in NUS and got a 2nd upper degree in science and then a phd. Worked for 10 years in a-star and then lost my job. There are many foreigners in biopolis, and i believed my fiery temper and confidence was my downfall. I was not afraid of anybody there, including lim chuan poh and the EDs. I was never fearful of losing my job coz i always felt my degree and phd were an investment in education. It was never a tool to negotiate better pay.

    Shortly after i was asked to resign, due to my refusal to share and publish my scientific breakthrough (boss wanted to take it all away), I ventured into even more profitable legal and illegal trades. Skirting the laws, satisfying the police IOs, court appearances, getting charged for offences which dun harm anyone. I felt pity for these poorly paid officers. Wasting so much resources to pursue me but cannot hang me or jail me. SPF should have spent more time catching drug offenders and terrorists.

    I dont have a job but live comfortably. Being an entrepreneur involves risks. Breaking the law here and there is unavoidable. As long as nobody is harmed, cheated or threatened, it is fair game. There is nothing much the police can do for these cases.

  16. John says:

    Bala, many operational level jobs out there for the common folks like me. As long as your requirements and salary expectations not too high, im sure you can find something.

    e.g. Lifeguarding salary $2000-$2500; depending on where you are working at gov or private. Gives you $$$ and time to plan and think of next step.

    You are only 33, try new things.

  17. Steven lim says:

    Easy for pap ministers to say he is choosy about his job n pay becos they are not in his shoe to know what’s is like to be discriminated by employers becos they have access to cheap FT. All the skill re-training is there a guarantee from government to help him find a job?

    Root cause of local graduates unemployment problem becos of pap government opening the flood gates to let foreigners compete n take away locals graduates jobs. If a government can’t provide jobs to its true blue citizens then it’s time to change the government which is more pro Singaporeans.

  18. bob says:

    Bala, there is a job you can do, it is only reserved for pink IC Singaporeans above 30 years old, if you work hard you can get up to 5k a month and I believe there is a current shortage of workers in this industry right now.

    More information here:

  19. Kapil says:

    I m seeing my name in place of Bala in the above interview. But as a Foreigner.

    @Bala, Dont worry. Situation will definitely resolve…..

  20. Galen says:

    Do you think working in Macdonald will get you more instead of the $250 govt grant and $50 you borrowed from your gf? Your family is having financial problem, your current problem shld be getting the money in to sustain your family expenses. Lowered your expectations but companies just won’t take you as you think it’s a FT prob? Ask yourself if you are the employer, would u take in a over qualified person who is willing to accept half of his last drawn salary? Would you leave the company when another gives you a higher salary since money is a concern to you? I was in the same situation, last drawn salary 5k and ego almost killed me and my family. I took $500 loan from a fren in order to attend taxi courses, do part time delivery and when I got my taxi license, I drove full time for a gd 9mth before I landed another full time job. Bala, I suggest you put down your ego and bring in the money first, that’s utmost important for now. Nobody owe us a living…We need to change ourself to suit the environment than wait for environment changed to suit us… Life Goes On and God Bless you and Family.

  21. Singh says:

    Hi Bala,
    its all about $ & Cents.The headhunters are FT and surely they will get their own kind.
    There is money involved here.The headhunters tend to make big money here.The headhunters cant collect recruitment fee from you but they surely can from their own country.Best of luck Bala.

  22. Maryam Shahab says:

    I dunno what will be your salary expectation. Some foreigners here gets a local master’s degree and took up a job which pays them 2.7k salary. You should just try to get a job than trying to settle for something that match your qualification and previous experience. The problem with people like you is not foreign influx in Singapore but global incompetency. The same foreigner that applies for a job you are eyeing for may probably experience the same out-of-job back home and took his or her savings to come here just for a job. Business risk are in every company. If you go out there, with the same negative atittude as you project in your letter, chances are companies are not into these negative vibes. If you just see foreigners as competitors, how are you going to host and manage them in that same company? Your very high qualifications may not win you a dream job but positive work attitude works all the time. To think about it even an old cleaning lady manage to work for 1K a month instead of just waiting for the right opportunity than you will consider work. How lazy?

  23. Shali says:

    I understand n agree with u. The gov shld really look at the real situation. Hope u can get job asap.

  24. Alex says:

    I am willing to hire you . Come work for my car dealership

  25. LokZ says:

    I sensed the ego in you.. Get rid of it first

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