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NUS undergrads salary expectations

Updated: Feb 19, 2023

And of course, the discussion spiraled into whether nus undergrads are living in a bubble, detached from reality.

Now, I have no doubt that the headline and the people featured were specially chosen to capture attention plus the undergrad did distinguish between “hope” and “expectation”. That being said, I always do a similar exercise with all my senior students in order to understand them better and help them understand their own situations better.

I always ask the following questions:

1. Say you have just graduated from university and can get any job, what do you see yourself in?

2. What do you expect your salary to be?

3. Describe the kind of lifestyle you see yourself living?

The gap between (2) and (3) is generally quite big, kids generally have a good sense of pay expectations but unfortunately, they have no sense of lifestyle cost (parents have been taking care of everything).

Without going into details, my reason for the exercise is always to help them gain a better sense of reality (there’s no book, course, or module that teaches adulting 101).

Also, it’s unfortunate when there’s a big gap between (1-2) and (3), only a very small proportion of people can have both. For the rest of us, we simply have to adjust our life expectations around our “dream job” and its monetary benefits, or discard any ideals about dream jobs and work in jobs that help to achieve the lifestyle we desire.

Reality is probably somewhere in between, happy to talk more!


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