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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Irresponsible career consultant?

Evidently, even with the Straits Times online forum, its server disk space is still quite limited. They can't even publish in both paper and electronic forms the average of 70 letters that they receive every day. Meanwhile, Google and Yahoo! can offer 2GB of email space each for their thousands of subscribers. Go figure.

Luckily, I have my blog. And here's my unpublished letter:
I refer to the article, "Jobs that Singaporeans shun" (The Straits Times, October 9).

It was informative to read about the labour movement's drive to redesign many jobs to be attractive to locals. I applaud its efforts to attract more locals to fill job vacancies.

However, I gathered that the low pay offered for these undesirable jobs continues to be a bone of contention for job seekers. The average starting pay is around $1,200 a month, even for dangerous jobs at shipyards and demanding ones like healthcare provider positions.

Unfortunately, it seems that even career consultants do not understand what such a low pay entails. Ms Salwani Mahadi, an NTUC CareerLink consultant, is quoted as saying that job seekers should be content with earning enough to pay their bills "(e)ven if there's nothing to save for the future". I think that that is the most irresponsible thing for a career consultant to say!

If an employee earns enough to pay for each month's subsistence only, then the logical conclusion is that he will have to work until his death. This is because he will not have any savings to spend from in his old age.

Financial planners advise that everyone needs to build up his own nest egg for a comfortable retirement life. Such an egg can only be achieved through continued savings and, later, investments. Even the interest earned from bank savings alone is insufficient.

Depending solely on one's CPF allowance after retirement is also not viable. It is only enough for him to survive day-to-day. It is not meant to maintain his way of life. Fortunately, job seekers seem enlightened enough to understand this basic fact. No wonder then that they continue to shun these low-paying jobs!

I thus wonder how any career consultant can use such a line as a marketing tactic. She should understand that a job's pay must not only cover today's needs, but provide for tomorrow's expenses as well.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide the original article because
  1. it's very long (about a full page's worth of content)
  2. I'll be sued by SPH and I don't need that.
Maybe they didn't publish my letter because the writing is disjointed (I admit that). Or maybe it's because I slammed the Glorious Labour Movement (but I said I applaud their efforts!). Or maybe it's because I'm just plain wrong (am I?).

Whatever. Now I've published my letter.

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Technorati tags: Straits Times, forum, pay, NTUC

2 comments:

Singaporean said...

personally, i would not advocate shunning low paying jobs simply because there is insufficient left over for savings.

What good is the ability to save for the future, when you cannot make it past tomorrow?

Is $1,200 too low? Really? Really too low? Or is it a matter of
adjusting our expenses and expectations?

$1,200 = $432 in CPF and $960 take home

Set aside $140 for transport (bus only), $200 for utilities, mortgage
entirely from CPF, and $300 for food, you have a grand balance of $500 for other uses, eg savings.

Some may feel $300 ($10 per day) for food is too little. Is it really?
Really too little?

$10 can buy you 6 loaves of Gardenia white bread with a balance of $0.70
$10 can buy you 5kg of potatoes or carrots
$10 can buy you 5kg rice with $2.50 left over

the list is endless. and we are talking about that much food for...a day.

in everything there's a trade off.

if you want savings, you have to forgo something now to achieve it

no one, least of all the government, owes us a living. at best they can only help.

AnotherSing said...

sigh.. isnt that the plan to get all of us working till our deaths?

That's a cynical usage of Maslow Hierary of Needs, if people are too busy trying to get on life on a day to day basis, they cant think of other needs, such as freedom of speech, thinking, etc.

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