Monday, January 16, 2012

The sick lies about graduate salary

For the past few years, there has been considerable madness in reporting of graduate salary. On one hand, MSM rub salt into wounds by bashing unemployed graduates, which is obviously existing in large numbers. The below passages from AsiaOne are especially venomous.

While university graduates are wallowing in self-pity over the latest news that more of them are unemployed than are polytechnic graduates, the latter group is laughing all the way to the bank.

The Manpower Ministry recently found that more than 20 per cent of the unemployed in Singapore were university graduates, while just 6 per cent were polytechnic graduates.
So eat humble pie, university graduates, because you can't have your cake and eat it too.

On the other hand, MSM keep hyping graduates' starting pay shot through the roof, and being snapped up like hot cakes as below.

Top Median Gross Monthly Salaries (in brackets are the 75th-percentile salaries)
  1. SMU Information Systems Management (4-yr programme) Cum Laude and above – $4,000 ($4,600)
  2. SMU Economics (4-yr programme) Cum Laude and above – $3,200 ($4,000)
  3. SMU Economics (4-yr programme) – $3,000 ($3,763)
  4. NUS Business Administration (Honours) – $3,000 ($3,600)
  5. SMU Business Management (4-yr programme) Cum Laude and above – $3,000 ($3,500)
  6. NUS Chemical Engineering – $3,000 ($3,500)
  7. NUS Industrial & Systems Engineering – $3,000 ($3,450)
  8. NUS Dental Surgery – $3,000 ($3,400)
  9. NTU Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering – $3,000 ($3,300)
  10. NTU Aerospace Engineering – $3,000 ($3,250)
  11. NTU Arts (with Education) – $3,000 ($3,200)
  12. NUS Information Systems – $2,975 ($3,250)
  13. NTU Physics & Applied Physics – $2,950 ($3,000)
  14. NUS Computer Engineering – $2,900 ($3,440)
  15. NTU Chemistry & Biological Chemistry – $2,900 ($3,300)
  16. NUS Computer Science – $2,900 ($3,290)
  17. NTU Computer Science – $2,900 ($3,250)
  18. NTU Science (with Education) – $2,900 ($3,200)
  19. NTU Computer Engineering – $2,900 ($3,200)
  20. NUS Mechanical Engineering – $2,900 ($3,200)
  21. NUS Science (Honours) – $2,900 ($3,200)
The Dumping Grounds by Starting Pay (Gross Monthly)
  1. NTU Art, Design & Media – $2,300 ($2,800)
  2. NTU Accountancy (3-yr direct Honours programme) – $2,400 ($2,500)
  3. NUS Business Administration (Accountancy) – $2,400 ($2,500)
  4. NUS Applied Science – $2,500 ($2,500)
  5. NUS Science – $2,500 ($2,600)
  6. NUS Arts – $2,500 ($2,600)
  7. NUS Business Administration (3-yr programme) – $2,500 ($2,700)
  8. SMU Social Sciences (4-yr programme) – $2,500 ($2,850)
  9. NTU Maritime Studies – $2,500 ($2,900)
  10. SMU Accountancy (4-yr programme) – $2,500 ($2,950)
  11. NUS Nursing – $2,550 ($2,700)
  12. NTU Environmental Engineering – $2,600 ($2,900)
  13. NTU Communication Studies – $2,600 ($2,900)
  14. NUS Real Estate – $2,600 ($3,000)
  15. NUS Applied Science (Honours) – $2,600 ($3,000)
  16. SMU Accountancy (4-yr programme) Cum Laude and above – $2,600 ($4,000)
It seems that PAP and her institutions cannot live a single day without lying. The reality is the numbers above are gathered through mail surveys. Will those jobless graduates respond to these survey? Without a single doubt, the numbers are skewed fraudulently towards high income earners.

In my case, the surveys NTU sent me ended straight away wiping by backside, after I had relieved myself. I have responded to none of them. I have never like my ala mata NTU. I think she is the most sickening school I ever been. I gave her staff a round of scolding the last time she send someone to call me for donation.

If PAP really wants to reveal the truth, a few keystroke by the CPF operator would do. What is the need for such ridiculous survey?

My advice to fresh grad is, it is always the sworn aim of PAP to make Singaporeans feel bad. It would be foolish to take their lies seriously.

Below is from a blog which explains further.

I’m not sure how rampant this is in other countries, but here’s a problem caused by Singapore’s universities and tertiary schools that can herald more serious consequences than they foresee: the fudging of average starting salaries of their recent graduates.

Reading the figures every year can be a very humbling experience. According to the numbers, the average bachelor’s degree holder should make S$5000-6000 dollars at his first job, and the average diploma holder (it’s like an associate and vocational degree) should make S$3000-4000.
Here’s an old saying that applies: there are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics. In this case, badly reported statistics.

Ask your average recent graduate on the street and most of them will exclaim that their starting salaries are nowhere near these rosy figures. By most accounts, the average degree-holder makes S$2000-3000 and the average diploma-holder receives S$1500-2000. Exceptional cases exist, such as those on commission-based positions or are employed by rich business-owning relatives.

So what accounts for this horrible discrepancy? A valuable find clued me in: someone working in a reputable business school here, which is one of the most guilty parties in this charade of lies, revealed that very few students respond to such job surveys – the sample size was just 16 in the previous year.

For those of you who know some basics of surveys design, 16 is an outrageous figure to draw any conclusion from. For a minor study you need 30; for something as important as a cohort-wide survey of average incomes, you should get hundreds of respondents.

Every single faculty member in those schools should warn their employers to not publish such disgustingly fudged poppycock. In fact, all 3 mainstream universities in Singapore are positioning themselves as “research-intensive” institutions, and this makes the issue even more of a farce.

How does the pathetic respond rate lead to high average incomes? Simple: it means only those who are proud to reveal their salaries respond – the salesmen, commission-based jobbers, and family business employees.

So what well-intentioned disasters can result from such false reporting? I count at least three.
1. They may be feeling the intense competition for good students, which compels them to report higher starting salaries to get the best candidates. But how would the students feel after spending 3-4 years at the school and getting a mere fraction of the promised “average salary” upon graduation? Have the schools considered the ethics of, effectively, cheating their students?

2. The average degree or diploma graduate who is not aware of the true story ends up feeling really sorry for himself, especially when relatives start to question his salary in comparison to the “averages” they see in the papers. He will be even less likely to respond to future employment surveys too – why get involved in something that has (deceptively) made you feel inferior?

3. And what happens when these graduates find out the truth? They’ll feel really mad, and their alma maters can forget about maintaining lifelong links with them or even soliciting their donations. (Incidentally, alumni relations is a disastrous issue in most Singapore tertiary institutions, for a variety of reasons other than this; it’s worth another lengthy post)

So here you are. Don’t feel too bad about your “lower than average” starting salaries. Those aren’t even real averages. It’s a disgusting deception to attract quality students in the next recruitment drive.

And most unfortunately, expect your salary to stagnate even more because in most of Asia, employers are still fixated on minimizing costs and taking the lowest bidders as their staff.


Alumnus but not AlumNUS said...

I also hate my alma mater NUS. Every time I see their newsletter in my mailbox, I open up the plastic covering and throw the newsletter straight into the recycling bin (remember, don't mix plastics with paper products when recycling).

Anonymous said...

spot on !

Anonymous said...

Dont hate the playa hate the game