Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Sunday July 23rd 2017

Under-employed NUS sociology graduate earning $1200 working as part-time accounts executive

Hi Gilbert,

I came across your website while googling people who are in my plight and would like to share my thoughts and experiences with you.

I have a diploma in accounting (merit) from a local polytechnic. After NS, I was rejected by NUS for a place in Business School but was offered sociology instead. Because of my interests in business, I did a minor in management and realised to my shock that 30% of those in business school were foreigners – from Vietnam, China, Malaysia who don’t even understand business terms!

After a year, I lost interest in my course and just breezed through and scraped by with a basic pass degree. Although I admit this is my fault for not working hard and securing a comfortable government job like a few of my peers, but the whole idea is that the private sector is a completely different ball game.

When I graduated, I sent in hundreds of resume but only got two interviews. The reality for fresh graduates is that unless you have a law, accountancy or medicine degree where you have secured a training contract of some sort then you are safe. Civil service aside, the private sector is very unwilling to take on someone with a general degree with no experience.

In fact, I have been unemployed for 2 years after graduating and helping  my mother in her restaurant. This has made me feel very inferior towards the S-pass holders from third-world countries! Eventually, I decided to put my diploma as my highest educational level and secured a part-time job as an accounts executive earning $1,200 a month with a local SME working about 20 hours a week.

I can tell you for a fact that the graduate employment surveys are bullshit! It is done on a voluntarily basis and only those who have secured jobs would have sufficient information to fill such as basic salary and so on. The reality is that the unemployed like myself are too ashamed to fill up the survey.

Even for those who do, what does 15% of FASS (faculty of arts and social science) graduates who are unemployed SIX months after graduation is no joke, considering the amount they spent on their education. I would personally estimate that around 30% of my peers are unemployed and another 30% are like me underemployed doing jobs like estate and insurance agents which do not even require degrees!

In my free time, I am also studying for an ACCA to enhance my future prospects after seeing how general degrees have no value in the job market while there are so many foreigners competing with us Singaporeans who have served NS.

Understand that you are busy with the elections now, but I would love to meet you after so that I am able to get some counselling from you. I find myself better off than most of the stories in our website and thank God for that, but I seriously hope that you can speak up for more of us.

Thanks,

FJ

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Reader Feedback

8 Responses to “Under-employed NUS sociology graduate earning $1200 working as part-time accounts executive”

  1. Reader says:

    With your attitude, it’s a wonder a company hired you.

  2. J Y says:

    This situation has been around for more than 10 yrs since the economic crisis. There are many people like you working full-time for at least 50 hrs per week on that same pay, so you should be considered “lucky”. Someone told me 2 part-time jobs is equal to a full-time one. Maybe you can find another part-time job on the same pay.

    Education is quite useless when employers prefer people with the right experience and skills. Furthermore, even with a job after finding for a long time, one may have to face work stress and office politics between colleagues. We now live in much tougher times than before. Many people have also removed their degrees from their resume but still find it hard to land a low-paying job.

    Maybe we should ask Khaw to be MOM minister instead of transport minister. I feel that a good job is much more important than a good transport network. Our transport network is quite OK if not too crowded. But without a job, we cannot survive.

  3. R says:

    Did you do any internships while you were at school? What is your passion or interest? What are you good at? What do you want to do for a living? Have you done enough for youself?

    The reality is that it is an extremely competitive job market out there and without decent prior experience and some sort of specialisation, it will be challenging to get a job.

    Start with introspection and reflection on the above questions.

  4. another reader says:

    honestly speaking, do you see any value in the sociology degree?
    i dont. and many employers will agree with me, or at least value the finance or law grad more than they value you as an asset.

    you made some bad decisions and i can offer no help.
    what can i say is dont go to somebody like gilbert.
    seemingly according to gilbert, the landing gear problems of a private company (a problem at the technician level) can be attributed to the govt simply for being a controlling owner.
    its like blaming a CEO or conglomerate owner for a few blinking light bulbs. CEOs and shareholders dont give a shit and dont have the time to worry about low level issues such as that.

    gilbert is a flapping airbag with odd judgment. i suggest focusing on your ACCA qualifications if you do intend to go into an accounts related field

  5. xyz says:

    $1200 for a part-time 20hr workweek (only 4hrs a day!) is considered very good already! Many people even with 10-20 years of experience are stuck in temp jobs that also pay $1200/mth but they have to work 40hr workweeks!

    Your main problem is that you cock-up your degree — I can guarantee that your results all Cs and Ds. Like it or not, with PAP’s open legs policy, employers give more credit to some india indian or peenoy with As on their foreign degree than your C/D local degree.

    You then compounded your lousy degree results by remaining “unemployed” for 2 years. I bet that if you’re a boss, you also won’t hire a person like yourself.

    After years of unemployment, even if you just show your accounting diploma with merit, employers will still shun you. How are you going to explain the missing 3 years in Uni + another 2 years bumming around in your mom’s restaurant? Your accounting diploma becomes outdated liao, especially with so many young india Indians & peenoys with accounting degrees and A-grades.

    I have many young friends with so-called “useless” degrees in History, Literature, Sociology, Psychology, etc etc and they all hold stable govt jobs with starting salaries at least $3,300/mth. How come?? Because they studied hard, got at least 2nd upper honours, polished up their EQ & presentation skills, and applied to appropriate jobs & organisations.

    And I can tell you that for many starting job positions, experience is NOT a factor. Companies look for ability, working attitude and EQ. Hence for young fresh grads, they focus on your degree/diploma results, how you answer difficult questions during interview and any evidence of character/leadership roles in CCAs / internships etc.

    If you’re above 25 yrs old, then employers will focus more on how you can contribute & raise the bar from your experience & industry achievements.

  6. J says:

    if you really think that your MP will help you, you’re really just being naive. You have a lot to learn..

  7. CY says:

    The current world is very competitive now.
    ACCA, if you take a long time to complete, your employment prospect will be low as well. Same goes for those bridging. Because of competition, job market squeeze for the best.
    Age, experience, qualification all matters. Imagine your same age had graduated 5years before you, you lose out in every single aspect.
    Employers compare everything of the candidate, they will look at your track, even your education decisions.
    These words are harsh, yet it is reality.

  8. James says:

    Nowadays with a degree also unless cos everyone can get a degree. Its the little bit of luck that you need

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