Sunday 10 September 2023

Taiwan’s low wage university graduates

I came across this documentary on Taiwan youths by CNA. It explores the low wage situation in Taiwan for fresh graduates as 54% of their youth (aged 25-34) have university degrees hence tougher competition and coupled with declining growth in the country, SMEs (small, medium enterprise) are not willing to pay more as there is an oversupply of labour that can be taken.

Many of the individuals interviewed worked multiple jobs with some being part-time or full-time. To add to the tough situation of low wage, many of them come from other cities to work in Taipei and need to pay for rent which is a huge recurring cost. Rent takes up a huge proportion of their salary hence resulting in them not being able to save money at the end of the month.

The Taiwan's Ministry of Labor (MOL) unveiled the average starting salary at between NT$24,000 (US$808) and NT$47,000 (US$1,245) for working-age graduates in 2021.

Very privileged to be born in Singapore

Opportunities and circumstances are better in Singapore than Taiwan although a much higher cost of living is coupled with that. For starters, most of us would not need to rent a place as we stay with our parents and do not need to move inter-cities to work because Singapore is a city state. At most, you will need to go to Tuas for work while staying at Pasir Ris. Of course, that is provided your parents have a property that you do not need to help pay for or that you are able to live with them, renting in Singapore is expensive and has balloon over the past year. So it depends on your circumstances but for the majority, we would be able to live with our parents.

Based on this article released in 2021 about Singapore, 33% of residents above 25 years of age has obtained a university degree in 2020. A smaller proportion compared to Taiwan (54%) but as most Singaporeans get older, they do see a larger population getting a degree.

Having more opportunities to explore, it can create a world of difference. We have MNCs here and various associate graduate programs and scholarships, even if you do not choose either of the 2, I would say that there are jobs available although fresh graduates would have to really work hard on first building that experience through internships or have good interview skills to get that first job.


The girt of Taiwanese can be seen in the video, this is what I see through the lens of the few individuals featured and also the female professor who said that without the language barrier, the diligence of Taiwanese and their education would definitely make them attractive to employ.

The resilience seen in the youths are strong and they are working hard for a better life even if the odds are against them. Many take on a second job and harbour the hopes of making their dreams come true. It’s interesting to see how the youths in other countries are surviving and that in a way we all do face similar yet different situations.

AI revolution

With the earnings of Google and Microsoft out, we can see a huge focus towards AI. Even during my company meetings, many also voiced out feedback and opinions on AI and how will it affect our day to day operations whether will it help us or eventually displace us. It is after all an unpredictable future ahead.

A businessinsider article mentioned that Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon mentioned "AI" 168 times in their earnings calls last week. We can see the importance of AI and how the various key figures know that this can increase productivity which could very well mean that manpower will be reduced.

AI engineers are very much in demand, even knowing how to use ChatGPT is a huge plus point if you are looking for a new job because the employer knows how much time it can save you if it can be a partner in your work. Although some say ChatGPT is outdated considering the pace at which AI tools are being generated.

The world is changing, adaptability as well as the willingness to learn is so important. Industries are set to revolutionise and the years to come would be interesting to watch.

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