Friday, May 20, 2005

Stephen John Appold.

The Karate Kid IV blogs on Girl, Emancipated about how it seems to be getting harder for new graduates to get jobs in Singapore. And muses about the economic future of graduates in Singapore on finding employment. My personal observations on the recent Singapore job market in Employment Discrimination? do not seem to be very far out of line from her observations.

Maybe it is just me as a whiny Singaporean male. In the words of "The man who makes billion-dollar bets" who said in The Straits Times interview (19 February 2000) that, "If Singaporeans can't make the grade, they go to Perth. You know what Perth is like? A very boring place."

Are we unemployed graduates all just folks who cannot make the grade, and who should be exiled to a very boring place? Or maybe - just maybe - there could be possibly something in our grouses?

Singapore is an enlightened example of a meritocracy. Academic credentials are the objective measures which identify the most brilliant people who should run the country. I am but a serf with only a basic (barely-passed) degree which is not sufficient to qualify to wash test tubes (since it is not a science degree) and am not armed with brains and brawn, who have guts and are equipped to survive and am not able to ski, windsurf and jump from planes, nor who can host dinners, sit down with investors, haggle, talk and drink.

Hence my views on the prospects for the Singapore employment market for graduates - or my entire value as a economic person for the matter - is worth less than that of non-Singaporeans who are bright, eager and hungry, who deserve more scholarships to then help them get Singapore passports.


Pulled along by global developments, Singapore is rapidly developing a "knowledge-based economy." Between 1990 and 2000, GDP more than doubled (in 1990 dollars) and the number of managerial and professional jobs almost doubled. Such advances should be a boon to the Singaporean middle class but, instead, they find themselves under increasing economic pressure despite the increased need for educated labor and the surplus of manual labor. On the basis of analysis of available data, I document the deteriorating position of the well-educated and explore the role of migration in the labor market. I suggest that both the need for highly-educated immigrant labor and the deteriorating situation of university graduates is due to stresses on a system of political rent-seeking that cannot be sustained as the need for productive educated labor increases and the national advantage of labor price arbitrage declines.
The above is the abstract from [PDF] Singaporean University Graduates in the New Century: Over-educated but Under-skilled? (draft dated 24 July 2004). An earlier version of the paper was presented at National University of Singapore. Updated versions of the paper in future may probably be found via the author's selected research work webpage.

Dr. Stephen J. Appold [
profile] is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore. He has a PhD doctorate, two Masters degrees and a basic degree. So donch say I say one [Ed: Speak Good English campaign!] Dr. Appold should be well-qualified to speak on the matter, based on his credentials.

Read the paper. Or at least skim to the conclusions and take a hard look at the supporting data. In the words of the kind reader [thank you!] who pointed me to this information: All the details are there, in every statistic, in every paragraph, in each footnote, table, and graph.


Blogger takchek said...

I wonder where this is all going to lead to for this country.

The only good thing about the Sg citizenship is the passport - which incidentally is only valuable when you are out of it. It makes travelling (and looking for jobs in certain cases) easier.

May 20, 2005 4:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha! Don't we all love statistics...

May 20, 2005 3:50 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

A revised version of this paper has been published as "The Weakening Position of University Graduates in Singapore’s Labor Market: Causes and Consequences" in Population and Development Review 31: 85-112, March 2005.

An updated version [PDF] of the paper with minor changes is now available.

May 20, 2005 8:27 PM  
Anonymous the nat said...

Thanks for the fascinating read.

May 20, 2005 10:50 PM  
Blogger the virgin undergrad said...

well from what i gather, some states in oz are easier to attain pr than others. there're many who fail to make the points in the eastern states chose instead to gain their pr to more obscure states like adelaide and tasmania only to move away later after securing their pr. not sure if that helps for you. be cool dude, i'm sure u'll find your way eventually.

May 21, 2005 3:03 AM  
Blogger akikonomu said...

Needs a sexy title for googlebombing, like maybe "Stephen J Appold of NUS is Shrill!" =P

Another way out is to get a nursing degree (hint: ST's coverage of spike in nursing students!). Many countries give instant PRship to applicant *and* family due to lack of nurses.

May 21, 2005 1:31 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

Nursing certifications (if you can get them) are a fast-track for visa applications in many first-world countries.

The PR visa for Australia is the same for all the states of Australia. The points test for skilled migration applies for all states as well.

What junyi may be referring to is the allocation of extra points and options for applicants who either have studied or worked in a low population-growth area.

There is also a Skilled Independent Regional (Provisional) visa which allows for application for a PR visa - after three years living outside the major metropolitian areas in Australia.

May 21, 2005 4:12 PM  

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