I was a little taken aback as the article interviewed young professionals in their 20s getting axed from their first job. Definitely not a pleasant experience. Those who managed to find a job may have to take on contract positions or a pay cut.
The Ministry of Manpower has revealed in the recent statistics that the unemployment rate among degree holders is at its highest level as of June since 2009.
SINGAPORE’S RESIDENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE BY EDUCATION
In June, the unemployment rate for degree holders rose the most on a year-on-year basis. (Graph: Ministry of Manpower Labour Market Report for Q2 2016)
(Graph: Ministry of Manpower Labour Market Report for Q2 2016)
With the rise in unemployment rate among degree holders and youth due to the hyper-competitive world, it is no longer a guaranteed safe haven for everyone with a degree. It has become a norm. There may no longer be a correlation between higher education and good employment or a good pay cheque. It may be a pre-requisite to have certifications but it does not guarantee a good placement. Gone are the days in our parents' time where education can give them a much better future than their peers without one.
A typical full-time degree course in Singapore can easily cost between S$30K-50K, or even more depending on the course. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released a study that projected that a four-year degree will cost 70.2 per cent of an individual's average yearly income in 2030, up from 53.1 per cent in 2015. The cost is increasing year-on-year but does the value?
It is imperative that fresh graduates spend time on enriching themselves with skills to help them secure a good job and also to survive if they are retrenched, and not just focus on getting that degree. They should prepare as early as they are in school.
What should the retrenched do during their free time while job-searching?
1. Leverage on SkillsFuture credits to go for courses that can help them survive for the time-being or to improve on their skill sets. Review the list of other industries to venture into.
2. Engage a career coach to help them improve on their image, resume, and interview skills, to increase their employability rate.
3. Start going to networking events to gather ideas and contacts. Who knows, they might chance upon their future employer there or may be enlightened or inspired to be an entrepreneur.
In a nutshell, there's no safe haven or an iron rice bowl in this fast-moving hyper-competitive economy. Everyone has to fend for themselves. So, do stay ahead of the economy and leverage on whatever opportunities that come in your way and invest on upgrading your skill-sets when you have the time.
For skill-sets upgrading opportunities or career coaching, you may contact R. Arlette for a free consultation at email@example.com.
Renee Tan, the writer, is a consultant and ACTA-certified trainer for corporate organisations and educational institutions who specialises in the following: 21st Century Skills, Personal Mastery & Peak Performance, Communication Skills, Innovative Thinking, Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking, Personal Branding, Problem Solving & Decision Making, Service Excellence, Effective Networking, Public Speaking & Presentations, Team-Building & Cohesion, TetraMap®, Profiling, Career Guidance, Interview Skills, Sales Techniques, Negotiation Skills, and Brain-Based Learning.
For any enquiries, do email to firstname.lastname@example.org.