When earnings are low, ability to buy is limited too.

Do you know that only 32 percent of the total working population here in Malaysia have tertiary education qualification? That’s a minimum of a diploma or higher. If you are reading this and has a degree, you are already within the top 20 percent of all working Malaysians. I assume half of the 32 percent has only a diploma qualification. For this 32 percent, their median wage is RM3,274 which is double the income earned by someone with a secondary qualification. This median wage puts the working adult within the M40 classification. Yes, this basically tells us that to move up, education remains a critical element and please stop saying that qualification is not important and that so and so CEO did not graduate from university. Please refer to the infographics by 

When I started working with a basic degree at the age of 21, I was given a job grade which was one level higher than my senior colleague who was already 25 years old and had just a diploma. One level higher would take him 3-5 years to reach which meant that he may reach my level when he’s 30 years old. I was lucky because my parents paid for my education. PTPTN only arrived a few years later. This is the real world we live in. By the way, there are many jobs which do not require a tertiary education, usually in the sales and service line. If we excel in those, we will earn far higher incomes than those with a degree and working in a stable office job. Yes, higher than even doctors or accountants by the way. Note, “IF WE EXCEL”. So, it’s a choice of either becoming excellent in the role we are in or get 100 percent higher pay with a diploma / degree versus those without.

When we look at the median wage by occupation, we have these findings: Managers earn a median wage of RM5,500. The Professionals take home a median wage of RM4,450. Technicians earn a median wage of RM2,760 and this is then followed by clerical support workers (RM2,000), operators(RM1,485), sales and services (RM1,225) and elementary occupations (RM1,100). Frankly, it is clear that if we are to move up in terms of salaries, the jobs must also move up in tandem. The question remains, are the workers skilled to take up higher paying jobs. Someone would say that there are no such jobs available which is actually a chicken and egg situation. Companies do not set up a plant and wait 2 years for people to be skilled to do what they (the factory) needs. They will set up their plants when they learn that there are at least some people who could do the job they need. Here’s that article again for reference. 

By the way, stop feeling bad. Better channel those into energy to do more. In case we want to know what’s happening in countries around the world. 44 percent of Americans could NOT afford a sudden US$400 emergency expense. Full article here. Australians are struggling to make ends meet. Real wages went backwards. Full article here. In the UK, 27 percent of Londoners are living in poverty. Full article here. There is little need to feel pitiful because truth is, everything has to start from ourselves. I have an auctioneer friend who worked his way up from despatch clerk until he owns the auctioneer firm where he started. At the same time, he has also completed his degree. Today, if he wants he could retire but he said, ‘there were weekends where I survived by only drinking water. That was how poor I once was but my desire to be successful was so strong everything else did not matter.’ He could retire anytime he wanted today. Happy doing something about it.

written on 2 April 2018

Next suggested article:  When borrowers do not even qualify for it, better be fearful



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