The pursuit of degree does not make sense anymore!

“There’s been a shift in the value of college in recent years – one which I’ve been reluctant to acknowledge, especially as a father of three, but the reality is that (1) Recent college graduates are currently experiencing the highest unemployment rates of any group, and (2) The ones who do manage to find employment aren’t making much more than their colleagues who have lesser (or no) degrees.

Many years ago, attending college was somewhat exclusive – you either had to have excellent grades for acceptance, or you had to have significant cash available to buy your way in. Today that’s no longer the case… clever financing and loan deferments have made absorbing the cost of getting a college education easier to swallow, and as a result, more people are graduating than ever.”Ron Rule

Askmelah could not agree more, in fact just saw in last night’s Ch 8 news that Hong Kong’s new graduates were facing increasing pressure in finding a job for degree holders. Not only that, their average salary has decreased by 20% if you factored in the inflation and down 60% if you factored in the property price increase. This phenomenon kind of mirrors what Korean and Taiwanese graduates have been facing over the last few years. Even mainland China is facing increasing pressure of finding new jobs for their new graduates with millions coming out from universities every year. Thus the relentless push from their central Government for entrepreneurship to create jobs in the last few years.

Closer to home, Singapore is not doing much better. The number of universities has increased from TWO to SIX now in a span of 20 years, even for those that could not make it to local universities, the parents can easily afford to send their children to overseas universities. Like Hong Kong, the salary increase has not kept up with inflation and property price increases, the only thing that has kept up with the inflation is the tuition fee which has more tripled compared to 20 years ago! To top it all, as the local universities need to maintain the “quality” of their graduates, the Government has been generously giving out scholarships to Asean, China and Indian students to attract them to study in local Universities, and upon graduation these foreigners can work in Singapore (and later get PR or Citizenship) that further adding to the difficulties for locally born Singaporean graduates to find a job that commensurate with his/her qualification. Thus like China, Singapore has been encouraging entrepreneurship in the last few years in the hope that startups can help to create employment for these graduates. Alas, the problem is our sheltered young graduates neither have the resilience nor the market to succeed, thus the rare success stories so far. To top it all, the high rent, high labour cost, limited talent pools stake against us when you compared to the likes China, India and Indonesia startups.

So if you are a parent thinking of splurging your hard earned money on your kids for a college education, mark my words don’t waste money unless your kid can excel in or has a keen interest in study, else better to ask him/her to follow his/her passion and gift in taking up a trade that they love. That will be the greatest gift you can shower them instead of forcing them the traditional route of “study hard, get a degree and you will be set for life” myth, of course the exception is you have been given a generous scholarship then the story will be completely different. Those good days are over, sadly.


“If they cannot find jobs, what is the point? You own a degree, but so what? That you can’t eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless… Can you have a whole country where 100 per cent are graduates?”– Khaw Boon Wan

“Like all things, the more there is of something, the less valuable it is, and we’re starting to see that with degrees. Simply having one used to open doors, guarantee a good paying job, and was a good indicator you’re versed in the material you need to know for the job. Today, outside of a handful of sectors, it no longer does any of those things.

Let’s take a classic marketing degree, for example. Who do you think brings more value to an employer today? A person with a marketing degree they earned ten years ago (or ten months ago), or a 22 year old who’s a self-taught expert at driving traffic, engaging consumers, managing marketing campaigns, building sales funnels, and knows how to read and understand the specific analytical tools your company uses?” – Ron Rule

Related links:

  • Is Singapore Scamming Malaysians with ASEAN Scholarship? –  an “ungrateful scholar” view on Singapore’s university system, the unrealistic tuition fees, the unhealthy and meaningless competitions etc. Nevertheless, he was spot on in many of the observations that he has made.


2 comments on “The pursuit of degree does not make sense anymore!
  1. DOE Admin says:

    Greetings ,

    I am writing to you seeking permission to reproduce this post of yours on our education portal . Explicit mention shall be made that the article first appeared on your site askmelah. Hope you will be agreeable, kindly let me know again. Thank you! 🙂

    Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts

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