Singaporean

From Bus Drivers To Hawkers: Here's A List Of Jobs In S'pore That Pay Higher Than You Think

Many millennials have grown up with the older generation telling them that becoming a doctor, engineer, or lawyer is a sure-fire way to success.

After all, many Singaporeans do believe that high paying jobs can only be achieved through years of studying or attaining a degree.

However, with this mindset comes the notion that certain jobs are “lowly” or “not worth doing” because they might not require a degree to apply.

The recent debacle about Singaporeans’ jobs going to foreign workers also highlights how experience, soft and hard skills are also key factors that employers look out for.

This adds on to the rhetoric that even though paper qualifications might help boost one’s job-seeking efforts, many companies value past work experience, dedication as well as character over education level.

In fact, there are actually many jobs out there that do not require employees to be degree holders, yet offer a high pay.

The Definition Of A ‘High Pay’

According to The Economist 2020 Cost of Living Index, Singapore is ranked as the most expensive city in the world, in a three-way tie with Osaka and Hong Kong.

singapore most expensive city
Top five most expensive cities / Image Credit: The Economist

The average cost of living for a single person in Singapore (excluding rent or house loans and a car) is around S$800 a month when living frugally. This figure goes up depending on the lavishness of one’s lifestyle.

According to Seedly, the 50-30-20 Allocation Rule is an ideal model one should use to segment their salary, with 50 percent of one’s monthly salary going towards expenses. The other 50 percent should go towards savings.

Our income from employment is a key indicator of economic well-being.

According to the Ministry of Manpower, the median gross monthly income in Singapore is S$4,563. This is the income of a typical worker, and anything higher than that can be deemed as a ‘high salary’.

Here are some jobs that Singaporeans might not be keen on doing, but still pay relatively well each month:

#1: Automotive Mechanic

automotive mechanic high paying jobs singapore
Image Credit: Prestige Car Services

According to Glassdoor, mechanics earn an average of S$6,000 a month. Though it may seem unexpected, car workshops actually provide mechanics with a good career progression.

There is a high volume of vehicles in Singapore, which in turn leads to a greater demand for automotive mechanics.

Back in 2015, it was reported that Singapore’s car workshops were hit by a labour crunch — and there was a serious shortage of skilled labour at car workshops.

With the number of vehicles on our roads steadily increasing, the demand for automotive mechanics are unlikely to fall anytime soon.

#2: Hawker

hawker high pay singapore
Image Credit: Behind the Food Carts

Waking up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare food and toiling for long hours in a hot and stuffy kitchen is likely what deters Singaporeans from taking on a job in a hawker store.

However, in 2019, 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles was offering S$2,500 to S$3,400 for a chef to cook prawn noodles.

Of course, that is just what one can make working in a hawker store. Being the boss of your own hawker store probably entails a much greater monthly salary.

There has been a longstanding myth that hawkers don’t earn a lot in Singapore, which was debunked through Seedly’s calculations. According to them, it is possible for a hawker to earn a profit upwards of S$5,000 a month.

Of course, it has to be taken into consideration that business has significantly fallen since the Covid-19 pandemic, and having a loyal base of customers will be important for these hawkers to continue sustaining profit.

#3: Make-Up Artist, Beautician

make up artist high pay singapore
Image Credit: Saubhaya Makeup

As a makeup artist, one’s portfolio is definitely more important than having a degree or educational qualifications.

However, that does not make it a low-skilled or low-paying job.

According to Daily Vanity’s list of bridal make-up artists and their rates, prices can go as high as S$1,000 per wedding night.

MoneySmart also highlighted that freelance make-up artists can make up to S$180 to S$400 for half a day’s work for one look, and a full day comprising two looks can make up to S$450 to S$1,500.

#4: Financial Advisor

financial advisor high pay
Image Credit: Caproasia

In Singapore, financial advisors and insurance agents are often synonymous for each other. However, some financial advisors do act as investment advisors as well.

To be a financial advisor, one does not require a college degree. However, they will be required to pass the Singapore College of Insurance exams.

Financial advisors typically work under an insurance company, and receive a basic salary from the company. This is typically along with a commission they receive from closing sales.

For example, it is possible that up to 50 per cent of an insurance premium can go to the agent who sold it to you.

If a premium costs S$2,000 a year, with a 50 per cent commission, selling 100 premiums can result in a financial advisor earning S$100,000 worth of commissions.

According to Platinum Advisors, how much one earns as commission is “directly related to the amount of effort put into their work”.  

Most insurance agencies also provide on-the-job training, and established agents that go on to lead teams often earn five figure monthly incomes.

#5: Bus Driver

Bus driver high salary singapore
Image Credit: Ministry of Health Singapore

Working as a bus driver is unfortunately not the first career choice for most. This can be seen from Singapore’s shortage of bus drivers.

Admittedly, being a bus driver will not garner you a pay of above S$5,000 in Singapore. However, due to the shortage, transport firms like SBS Transit, SMRT and Go-Ahead have increased salaries to entice Singaporeans to take on the role.

As of 2019, SBS and SMRT are offering new bus drivers up to S$3,500 monthly salary, on top of a S$3,000 joining bonus.

Other incentives include up to 21 days of annual leave, free bus and MRT rides as well as medical benefits.

Should We Be More Open To Taking Up These Jobs?

Many Singaporeans are undoubtedly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and retrenchments have reached an all-time high.

It is perhaps time for us to shed the sentiment that only the jobs that are offered to degree holders can be considered as ‘good’, or the misconception that only with high levels of education can you achieve a high-paying job.

Many times, it is possible to carve a career out of passion for the arts or food, or even when you do not have the highest level of education.

Featured Image Credit: Best Lobang, Our SG Heritage, Vanilla Luxury

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