Career

Degrees That Are Likely To Get You a High Paying Job

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Jeff Cuellar

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Today, many pieces of “paper” aren’t worth what they used to be… the US dollar, the Straits Times, and a university degree. A degree used to be your golden ticket to cruising through life with a salary decent enough to support a wife and a few kids. Hell, you could even get at least 2 or 3 of the 5 Cs without even trying!

Now, a degree is just a general admission ticket that gets you into Singapore’s job market arena. Only you’re not sitting comfortably in the mid-row seats anymore, you’re in the dirt swinging a sword at other degree/diploma holders seeking the same thing – job market survival.

It All Comes Down to Choice

Now, students and young professionals are being more strategic about what kind of degree they want to pursue. What happened was that jobs (e.g. financial industry) once considered safe, secure, and profitable for Singaporeans turned from a buffet line to a rice ball that degree holders from all over the world now fight over.

That’s not to say that getting a degree in those industries don’t have a high future payoff – they do, but you’ll need to use every devious tactic found in Machiavelli’s The Prince to get ahead. Or you can take the path of lesser resistance.

The reality is that you’ve got 2 options:

  1. You can choose a degree in a very well-paying industry with a high future payoff, BUT you’ll have to fight hard to protect others from eating out of your rice bowl.
  2. You can choose a degree in a good-paying discipline that’s growing, BUT it’s not nearly as competitive because there are more jobs to go around.

 

1. High Payoff, High Competition

These degrees are high payoff, but they’re in industries that are extremely competitive because EVERYONE knows these jobs are profitable.

Finance/Investment Jobs

Singapore’s position as a global financial hub makes the “little red dot” a huge red bull’s-eye for job hunters from all over the world. According to Ministry of Manpower statistics (all reference to income/wage growth in this article are taken from MOM statistics), you’re looking at gross income numbers that range from $5,000 – $10,000+ a month for a finance/investment related job, with total wages growing by an average of 7.8% over the last 3 years.

So if you’re the kind of guy who likes to take a claymore into battle because you like fighting other people for a job, consider these degrees:

  • Degree in Banking & Finance
  • Degree in Accountancy
  • Degree in Economics
  • Degree in Business
  • Degree in Financial Engineering

Computer/IT Jobs

Another result of globalization and Singapore’s status as a global financial hub is the need to maintain the computer networks, security, and databases of those financial institutions. The good news is computer/IT skills are in demand, the bad news is – you guessed it, tough competition.

As for gross income, it ranges from $4,000 – $9,000+ a month, with total wages growing by an average of 4.6% over the last 3 years.

Here are the degrees you’ll need if you want to go into the competitive world of the computer/IT industry:

  • Degree in Computer Engineering
  • Degree in Computer Science
  • Degree in Information Technology
  • Degree in Information Systems Management

Manufacturing Jobs

Aside from being a financial hub for millionaires/billionaires all over the world to park their money, Singapore is also a center for manufacturing everything from consumer electronics to computer and mechanical parts for aircraft and ships. It’s a competitive industry that’s getting even more competitive internationally.

As for gross income, it ranges from $3,500 – $8,000+ a month, with total wages growing by an average of 4.2% over the last 3 years.

Here are the degrees you’ll need if you want to go into the competitive world of manufacturing:

  • Degree in Electrical Engineering
  • Degree in Mechanical Engineering
  • Degree in Aerospace Engineering
  • Degree in Petroleum Engineering
  • Degree in Subsea Engineering
  • Degree in Civil Engineering
  • Degree in Offshore Engineering

 

2. High Payoff, Not Too Much Competition

Healthcare Jobs

Unlike other industries, Singaporeans don’t need to trample each other to get a job in the healthcare industry. But the nation’s already facing the strain of not having enough doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals on hand. And with Singaporeans ageing faster than a chain-smoking rock star – it’ll be an industry where there aren’t enough professional available to meet demand.

As for gross income, it ranges from $3,000 – $21,000+ a month, with total wages growing by an average of 5.3% over the last 3 years.

Here are the degrees you’ll need if you want to get into the healthcare industry:

  • Degree in Medicine
  • Degree in Nursing
  • Degree in Occupational Therapy
  • Degree in Pharmacy
  • Degree in Physiotherapy
  • Degree in Podiatry
  • Degree in Radiation/Respiratory Therapy
  • Degree in Dentistry

Chemical/Biomedical Jobs

The chemical/biomedical industry has grown rapidly over the last decade due to Singapore’s growth as a technology hub (I know, I hate the word “hub” already too!). This research-based industry covers a broad range of fields – including chemical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and biomedical study.

Probably the biggest result of this industry is something you’ve grown to love over the last few years – NEWater. Or not.

As for gross (especially gross if you’re thinking about NEWater) income, it ranges from $2,800 – $8,500+ a month.

Here are the degrees you’ll need if you want to get into the healthcare industry:

  • Degree in Chemistry
  • Degree in Chemical Engineering
  • Degree in Electrical Engineering
  • Degree in Environmental Engineering
  • Degree in Civil Engineering
  • Degree in Life Science

 

A Final Point

While the article here looks at industries that pay well with the right degree, it’s by no means an indicator that you’re going to be successful, especially in the long run. You could have been a lazy donkey in university who just scraped by to get that lovely piece of paper. But the bottom line is that there’s no real substitute for hard work and dedication.

 

What degrees do you think have high payoff potential in the future? Share your views with us on Facebook

Image Credits:
Ben Ward

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.