Singaporean qualifications: Think thrice before writing them offBY PANG MENG HOCK
Singapore is a paper-chase country. Every Singaporean is chasing after paper qualifications to excel in school and career. Is collecting paper qualifications important? You bet!
No Qualifications = No Future!?
Most jobs require paper qualifications first before experience even at professional entry level. For example, if you don’t have a PhD, don’t think about teaching at the university.
If you don’t have an engineering degree, don’t think about becoming a professional engineer. If you don’t have a specialist medical training, don’t think about entering that specialist fraternity. No law degree, no lawyer; no accountancy degree, no accountant; no architecture degree, no architect. It is that simple!
In many professions, not only you must acquire paper qualifications, you must also excel in your studies if you want to have the first bite of the cherry.
Recently my son has graduated with a food science degree. During his academic studies he has won a number of food science competitions, including the latest national food science competition in the US. He told me that on the final competition day itself, after knocking out other schools during regional rounds previously, he saw all the big food companies’ CEOs, senior executives and recruitment managers watching how they perform.
He said that it is a practice the champion team will be swarmed with job offers on the spot. Which food companies don’t want to hire the best food science graduates? Paper qualifications not important? Excel in studies not important? Think thrice before you write that off.
Is it any surprise in the US with 10% unemployment rate, companies still hire the best foreign graduates? This is no different in Singapore or anywhere. Despite whatever debates you hear, the reality is companies will hire the best regardless of nationalities.
In fact, if you have excellent paper qualifications, you will always stand out among the crowds. For junior professional level, it helps you cross the first hurdle usually of being chosen for interview.
For senior level, experience comes first, but the shifting begins immediately with who have better qualifications!
Good paper qualifications will serve you well for a lifetime! That’s how important it is. Majority of the employers want to hire the top 1%. Only a few clients have asked me for an average because they don’t have the salary budget.