With university degrees being as popular as never before in Singapore, highly-motivated fresh graduates continue to enter the labour force year after year. As a result, the rising number of qualified degree holders is quickly outgrowing the number of graduate jobs available on the market. Underemployment ultimately occurs as workers find themselves taking jobs that require a lower skill set than they possess.
A 2018 survey by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy reveals that 64% of underemployed graduates were employed at businesses mainly serving the domestic market. Despite prior work experiences, only 51% of respondents felt that their skills are being recognised at work.
Here are four signs that you may be underemployed and how you can rise above the adversity:
1. Your part-time job is starting to feel like a long-term careerDue to difficulties finding employment in full-time jobs, underemployed workers often find themselves working in part-time and temporary positions much longer than planned. If you are a fresh graduate, take this opportunity to learn but be strategic about where you seek employment. Your experience should be something you can add to your resume and boost your employability in the job function of your choice.
2. Your job severely undermines your full potentialAnother sign of underemployment is when workers find themselves in roles that significantly undermine their capabilities, stagnating their professional growth. If you feel that you are ready for the next level of your career, proactively contribute and take on more tasks that may be well beyond your current job description. Should additional contributions go unrecognised by your current employers, even after proving your abilities, it might be time to consider other career options.
3. You are highly unmotivated at workEmployees often feel both physical and emotional fatigue as an onset of underemployment. This makes it an extra challenging task to stay motivated and accomplish work through the day. Make a conscientious effort to think positively about people and their accomplishments, including your own, no matter how small they might be. Set your mind on short-term career goals and put together a game plan on how you can achieve them for impactful wins.
4. You begin to develop job and income insecurityWhen employees experience a disconnect between how little they are getting paid in contrast to what their capabilities should realistically command, job and income insecurities will arise. Make sure to keep your eyes on the market by going to interviews whenever possible and looking at salary surveys. This allows you to have a better understanding of your own market value and what you should realistically be earning.