Speak up for our wages!


If you don’t have a degree today, read this: don’t let your employer keep your salary low. If you are already employed and have been performing well, you should not be letting your employer get away with depressing your salary just because you lack the paper qualifications.

We don’t usually talk about it, but we know. Diploma holders do experience less opportunities and salary. Especially in a country as paper obsessed as Singapore. At this point, let’s stop and ask – why.

If you’ve got a skill, are good at what you do and know the ins and outs of your company, why should positions, opportunities and salary be kept out of your reach? Surely we do not want to build a society of drones who just acquire a paper for paper’s sakes, learning nothing from the lessons they sat for?

Once upon a time, I left Singapore because I felt all the good jobs were out of reach for a Diploma holder like me. On recruitment pages, it was always “Degree holders need apply only”. Outside of Singapore, few bothered with papers and they walk the talk with pay packages to match.

For many of us, it isn’t because we can’t score the exams but rather the rigidity of school means you need to have time and/or money to acquire your papers. This opportunity cost means that you’ll have to forgo something else from life. Not all of us have this luxury… some of us were born with more responsibilities than others.

I have heard of organisations give stupid reasons such as “we have to meet ISO requirements” or “we have to answer to a board of directors”, then they use this to pay you less.

Some would also say, “let us make this money first, then we share our profits”. For small companies, perhaps this may be the only way they can grow, but grow they will and grow they must. When a company is observably doing well, payouts ought to be frequent and chunky.

Don’t just be an asset, be a valuable asset. Valuable means you’re expensive and they’ve got to pay more for you. Be proud of being expensive.

Let your skills and interests be qualified, instead of allowing your qualifications determine your skills, interests…. even career.

What I’m saying is that we should not let the tail wag the dog.


2 thoughts on “Speak up for our wages!

  1. I had an interesting discussion with my boss the other day. This is a general observation- you are almost expected to be working in a job that relates to the university degree in Asia whereas over here in Australia, one can almost apply for any professional job ( barring occupations such as doctors, lawyers and engineers) with just any university degree as long as you have a degree and in America, corporations are big on job applicants having MBA and the pedigree of which university one’s university degree came from. In my personal experience in Australia though, it is true the emphasis on having a degree as not so important in finally securing a professional job in areas such as PR, advertising, recruitment, consumer banking, entry level roles are still pretty much reserved for university degree holders and non degree holders sadly will still have to do time in other more functional white collar work before being able to catch up with their university degree peers to get a buy in. But yes, there is def Hope in career and comparable wage progression for non degree holders similar to their degree holder peers here in a country like Australia than say, Singapore:)

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