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Advice needed: Public or Private sector for Fresh Grad?

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Old 16-02-2015, 12:10 PM
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Smile Advice needed: Public or Private sector for Fresh Grad?

Hi everyone! I am new to this forum. Just wanted to seek some advice from the experienced people here. As some background about myself, I am female, local, a fresh grad, graduating in May this year, from NUS FASS, expected second upper/ first class honours. I have started to job hunt and has been contemplating whether to join the public or private sector for quite some time. I see that there are pros and cons for both, e.g. for private sector, it may be more volatile, but mobility is higher like if i decide to leave the company, it may be easier for me to join another company with the skills i learnt. In public sector, more stable, perhaps bonuses and pay could be higher (??), but it is difficult to leave, & skills would not be as transferable.

Interests wise, i am open to anything. Plus our FASS degree is rather general so i am really fine with anything (except banking sectors, that's really not my thing). Pay wise, of course a higher pay would be better that's why i was gravitating towards public sector, but i am also concerned that i would be tied down and would not be able to leave if i want to do that few years down the road.

Any advice or just your thoughts, or your experiences would really be greatly greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for reading and Happy CNY!


Last edited by clouds; 16-02-2015 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 16-02-2015, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clouds View Post
Hi everyone! I am new to this forum. Just wanted to seek some advice from the experienced people here. As some background about myself, I am female, local, a fresh grad, graduating in May this year, from NUS FASS, expected second upper/ first class honours. I have started to job hunt and has been contemplating whether to join the public or private sector for quite some time. I see that there are pros and cons for both, e.g. for private sector, it may be more volatile, but mobility is higher like if i decide to leave the company, it may be easier for me to join another company with the skills i learnt. In public sector, more stable, perhaps bonuses and pay could be higher (??), but it is difficult to leave, & skills would not be as transferable.

Interests wise, i am open to anything. Plus our FASS degree is rather general so i am really fine with anything (except banking sectors, that's really not my thing). Pay wise, of course a higher pay would be better that's why i was gravitating towards public sector, but i am also concerned that i would be tied down and would not be able to leave if i want to do that few years down the road.

Any advice or just your thoughts, or your experiences would really be greatly greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for reading and Happy CNY!
You already state down all the pros & cons of both dies, really up to you.

TBH I don't quite see the logic how you want higher pay = join public sector. Public sector pay is more stable, but as a famer the glass ceilin is quite low so pay potential is limited.

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Old 16-02-2015, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by clouds View Post
Hi everyone! I am new to this forum. Just wanted to seek some advice from the experienced people here. As some background about myself, I am female, local, a fresh grad, graduating in May this year, from NUS FASS, expected second upper/ first class honours. I have started to job hunt and has been contemplating whether to join the public or private sector for quite some time. I see that there are pros and cons for both, e.g. for private sector, it may be more volatile, but mobility is higher like if i decide to leave the company, it may be easier for me to join another company with the skills i learnt. In public sector, more stable, perhaps bonuses and pay could be higher (??), but it is difficult to leave, & skills would not be as transferable.

Interests wise, i am open to anything. Plus our FASS degree is rather general so i am really fine with anything (except banking sectors, that's really not my thing). Pay wise, of course a higher pay would be better that's why i was gravitating towards public sector, but i am also concerned that i would be tied down and would not be able to leave if i want to do that few years down the road.

Any advice or just your thoughts, or your experiences would really be greatly greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for reading and Happy CNY!
This may not be what you wanted to hear but I'd always advice to secure a couple offers first and choose among them before putting such restriction to yourself so early.


If has to choose one I'd prefer to try private first as moving into public later is slightly more probable than the other way around.

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Old 16-02-2015, 02:41 PM
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as much as they like to say that the scholar culture is not heavy, non-scholars can make it etc, it is wiser to anticipate otherwise.
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Old 16-02-2015, 02:48 PM
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Perhaps I'll offer some insights so that you may make a better decision. Public Sector will be having headcount freeze for years to come, as they cannot be constantly taking in talents. This move will ensure that adequate talents can flow into the labour market (i.e. SME and MNCs). What this means is that:

1) Stricter competition for fresh graduates entering the public sector; and
2) Stricter criteria for mid-career making a move from private into public.

So should you join the private, hoping to gain experience and then jump over to the public, be prepared that it will not go as you envisaged. Even if you are successful, unless your experiences and skill sets are sought after, be prepared to take a pay cut and start off at a lower level than if you were to remain in private. Of course there are instances where you get a pay increment, but that's only if your current salary is below market rate.

In another situation, should you join the public upon graduation, you will be getting a reasonable salary package. Of course it will not comparable to those top bracket jobs, but decent nonetheless. Work life balance should be better than private, but dependent on your workplace culture and your job responsibilities. Should you wish to go out into the private sector in a few years time, you will find it challenging. Reason being private usually don't take into account the experiences you had in public, unless its niche roles (e.g. finance, accounting, corporate communication and IR etc.). Also, you may experience a pay cut more often than not, so most people tend to stay in the public. Afterall, you get a stable income, with good bonuses and increments annually. The downside is that promotion may be slow, and career development will not be as fast (unless you're a scholar, or your supervisor highly recommends you). So you will see younger colleagues being promoted or parachuted into positions above you. If you're the type to feel strongly against such "bias-ness", I would advise you to think twice.

In summary, if you think that you're the type that excels in competition, with a thirst to learn more and climb fast, go for private. If you're the type that are easily contented, wish to do good for Singapore, and want to have good family life in the future, then you can consider the public.
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Old 16-02-2015, 03:34 PM
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why so many 2nd upper / fch people ah? what is the average percentage of 2nd upper students per cohort? no wonder i cant even secure any interviews at any stat boards
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Old 16-02-2015, 03:43 PM
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I don't think seeing things like public vs pte sector is the correct thing to do.

You should evaluate each job offer and the organization individually then make a decision which one better for you.

Though there are some general assumptions for both sectors, there are enough exceptions to be more careful.

For e.g. Making a decision of Business Analyst at Google vs Events Marketing Manager at National Arts Council is very different from comparing Key Accounts Executive at Singtel vs Liason Officer at MFA. You cannot just look at public vs pte sector angle.
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Old 16-02-2015, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clouds View Post
In public sector, more stable, perhaps bonuses and pay could be higher (??)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
if you think that you're the type that excels in competition, with a thirst to learn more and climb fast, go for private.
Actually, even though your starting pay in private sector might be lower (especially if you have FCH), if you are the ambitious type, your pay will easily exceed your civil service peers very quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clouds View Post
Interests wise, i am open to anything. Plus our FASS degree is rather general so i am really fine with anything
Have you applied to any jobs? This kind of "anything-also-can-just-want-high-pay" mentality, I'm not sure if you can get any private sector jobs.
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Old 16-02-2015, 05:36 PM
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I see. Thanks everyone for the constructive comments so far.


Quote:
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Have you applied to any jobs? This kind of "anything-also-can-just-want-high-pay" mentality, I'm not sure if you can get any private sector jobs.
--> I have applied for a few public sector jobs this recent one or two weeks, still waiting for calls for tests/ interviews. And to Unregistered, you are right, that is the problem- my mentality stems from not knowing what exactly i want to do in the private sector. It seems so broad and i don't know where to start looking from ... was looking at several research/brand consulting jobs such as at Milward Brown but realised they are all mostly hiring those with a few years of experience. Then I also considered things like MA which seems like good exposure as we get rotated around different departments, but not too sure of future prospects after an MA. Anyone has any advice?

But being one that values work-life balance and dislike cut-throat competition, from the comments above, i guess the public sector would be better for me? Hmmmm.
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Old 17-02-2015, 02:27 PM
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Then I also considered things like MA which seems like good exposure as we get rotated around different departments, but not too sure of future prospects after an MA. Anyone has any advice?
Depends which MA you are looking at specifically...
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