Updated: 08/27/2014 22:47

Pay gap between graduate and non-graduate public servants should be narrowed, MPs say

Pay gap between graduate and non-graduate public servants should be narrowed, MPs say

As part of the attempts to ensure public servants without a degree can look forward to faster career progression, the Public Service Division, or PSD, is looking at ways to merge more employment schemes into a single pay scale for both degree and non-degree holders. 

These initiatives come after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally speech that the Public Service will do more to support the aspirations of non-degree holders. 

But although the PSD hopes to establish more single pay scales, it says there will contine to be a difference in the starting salaries of new degree and non-degree holders. 

While public servants without a degree should soon be able to benefit from faster career progression, they'll still have to accept that their starting salaries will lag behind those of their degree-holding peers. 

MP Baey Yam Keng, who's a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, says a difference in starting pay may simply be a reflection of the time degree holders spend on their education. 

"Graduates, they spend a longer time, more years, probably two, three years more than diploma holders in their education, so they start their career later. So I think the difference in starting pay, could in a way sort of compensate for more years of investment in their education. "

But he agrees that the difference ought to be narrowed. 

"If it's a quantum difference, I think certainly they should be adjusted over time. Obviously you can't just do it overnight, but I think that should be the right message that'll be sent."

Deputy Chair of the GPC for Education, Denise Phua, agrees that there will be no quick fixes, but momentum will build as new processes and mindsets are established. 

"I think it will take some time to look at the current schemes and so forth, but the direction has been started, and the ball has started rolling, then I think future developments will be faster rather than slower." 

Meanwhile Senior Minister of State for Education, Indranee Rajah, says the issue shouldn't be viewed as a competition between different types of qualifications. 

"There's all kinds of jobs. They require all kinds of different talents and knowledge. And it's not degree versus the other types of qualifications. It's really a question of what is right for you, and what kind of qualification will enable you to go further in the path that is your aptitude, and is correct for you."

-By John Yip

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