Getting a degree is a common step that many Singaporeans take before they embark on their working lives and this is reflected in many surveys that show most respondents either studying for a degree or are currently degree holders.
We have been taught since young that in order to get a well-paying job with a satisfying career: we should study hard, get a degree and thereafter, get into a management role with good career progression. Then and only then, will we be successful, right?
Of course, we have heard of people who have made it big without a degree, but we dismiss them as exceptional cases and not of the norm, right?
The point of this article isn’t to tell you that your thinking of getting a degree in order to be successful is wrong; most of us got a degree in order to survive the tough job competition right here in Singapore anyway. Instead, what this article wants is to prepare you for the future: even if not applicable to you, it will still apply when you send your kids for university studies in the future.
According to a report on Straits Times, the cost of getting a degree (which is pretty high now) will increase even further in the future.
Here’s what you need to know. EIU Study A study by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released results predicting that the cost of a four-year degree programme in Singapore is set to cost up to 70.2% (from 53.1%) of an individual’s average annual salary by 2030. That’s right, 70.2%. Imagine you are earning $3,949 a month (the figure is is the median gross monthly income for 2015 taken from stats provided on the MOM website), that adds up to $47,388 a year—a four-year degree could cost up to $33,266.
Of course, we never took an increase in wages, bonuses and anything else into consideration, and the calculation is a pretty basic one, but the picture it paints isn’t really pretty, don’t you think? If you are surprised by this piece of news, it is actually happening right now, with tuition fees for local universities going up yearly since 2010.
For instance, a local undergraduate has to fork out $8,050 annually in order to obtain a degree from the arts and science faculty in National University of Singapore (NUS), this is up from $7,950 last year. The reason behind the rising costs is increasing operating costs for the universities themselves.
Another factor that is attributed to rising costs for university education is the prevalence of technology in different jobs in the market today, requiring additional investment from universities to equip their undergraduates with the skills necessary to make their graduates relevant for the job market. Which makes sense because employers are now looking beyond just the “paper chase”.
They are looking for individuals who can contribute to the company from the start and not spend time on grooming them when they first enter the organisation.
Some good news
But for graduates seeking employment, a piece of encouraging news is that despite the rising costs for a university education, unemployment among graduates is set to remain low at 10.9% in 2030 as compared to 10.8% in 2015.
Add on the fact that we have many schemes and resources we can use to develop our skills and knowledge as long as we take the initiative of planning our own professional development and growth instead of waiting to be spoonfed.
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