How can we ensure that the rewards of work are fairer and more equitable? While income has grown across different segments of the workforce, there remains a big gap between the salaries of university graduates and that of the poly or ITE graduates.
Such problematic outcomes include graduates choosing not to enter vocations they have been trained for. This was the case with many ITE students trained as lift technicians. Many were not entering the industry as their starting salaries at just $1300 was too low. This was in 2016. Many chose to do other jobs when they graduated.
“And that’s why we have since put in place the PWM for lift technicians. Starting salaries are now 40% higher (at $1,850 in 2022), and set to increase further over the next few years,” DPM Wong said at the 2023 IPS Singapore Perspectives.
Skills and competencies, not just paper qualifications
Bridging the gap is not just about the starting salary, it is also about improved job prospects and better career progression across all fields.
In the IT sector, for example, SGTech and the Singapore Computer Society are working on programmes with major tech companies to expand opportunities for ITE and Polytechnic graduates over the next three years.
This requires all of us to do our part.
“But good jobs and work will always remain a key pillar of our social compact in Singapore. We will spare no effort to ensure that the labour market of the future offers benefits, opportunity and security for all.
“We will ensure that Singapore remains a place where everyone can progress throughout life; contribute meaningfully to society; and forge fulfilling and dignified lives, with greater assurance for today and tomorrow.”