Jobs (Part 4): Why are they so hard to find??? Part 1

Lately there have been some posts on the SPS Facebook Page on this topic, which set me wondering on this topic. Are jobs in psychology really that hard to find? What is the problem behind this?

According to the Ministry of Manpower, the median duration of unemployment for the last 3 years has been 8 to 10 weeks. So if you have been unemployed or have not found a job for a month, do not panic, as there are more others like you.   

But the question is why do psychology students have issues finding jobs? (These reasons are of the author's opinions, and may not be 100% accurate)

1) Psychology degrees are general degrees. 
Honestly, psychology degrees (undergraduate and diploma level) are often seen as general degrees by many employers. When asked about your specialisation, "I specialise in psychology" never seemed like a good enough reply, as Psychology is a very broad topic of study. Psychology is the philosophy of human behaviour and thoughts (in my opinion), hence it is definitely a good basic degree to have, but it covers a VERY LARGE range of topics required for one to become a psychologist. But "Jack of all trades, master of none" do not seem to be a good employee for some organisations. 

2) Lack of experience in the field. 
Some psychology programs do not require students to undertake internship/work placements. If yours does, good for you. Without these extra "real" experience, there is often nothing else much to brag to your employer about other than the knowledge you have got from your books. With the experience, you will then be able to connect "theories" to "experience". As mentioned before, "All the theories learnt would forever be theories that you have learnt, but not something to be applied, if they were not being experienced before. With real experience, you will see the theories becoming true and knowledge that you have learnt to become applicable. Things will start to make sense from a psychological point of view."  

3) Disparity of job expectancies and salaries
After three to four years of studying to get a psychology degree, most people would think that they might get a job as a counsellor or social worker, and others. Yes, not a psychologist. It has been said and explained in this post, so stop thinking about it. However, even getting a counsellor/social worker position requires some luck too, as it will depend on the organisations and the demand during the period when you start to search. 
The disappointing part of the search is the point where you may find that the position offered is actually of a much lower grade and of a lower salary (which could be due to the prestige and recognition of psychology in Singapore and other issues). Question is "Will you take the job after a long 8-to-10-week job search?"

There may be other reasons and answers to the above question, and these may not be the ones affecting you. But they are definitely some issues for some psychology students out there. If you have one that is not in this list, leave a message or email me and I can add it in. Thanks. 

To be continued (Part 5)....

2 comments :

  1. Hi, what other jobs can psychology majors do other than psychology related jobs? I am a year one student in university studying psychology but not that interested to do counselling. Is it silly to do a psychology degree when I dont intend to do psychology related jobs? I'm actually more interested in marketing , and planning to do a 2nd major in management too, will the psychology degree still be useful in marketing etc?

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    1. You can actually choose the type of job you wish upon your graduation. Read these:
      http://sgpsychstuff.blogspot.sg/2011/08/jobs-for-diploma-and-bachelors.html
      http://sgpsychstuff.blogspot.sg/2011/09/jobs-part-3-which-job-is-suitable-for.html

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