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Am I expecting to much? Or am I really earning to little?

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Hithnar
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Am I expecting to much? Or am I really earning to little?

Postby Hithnar » Sun, 21 Jun 2009 7:40 pm

Hi all! Since people here usually pour buckets of cold water on those who have too high expectations in terms of salary, and right now I might be in need of a cold shower to wake me up... Please share your opinions on my situation.

I'm a double Master Degree holder on DP, working for 8 months with one of Singapore biggest advertising agencies as Marketing Executive. This is my first full time job (I have 1 yr of part time experience). Thing is, they only pay me 2 000 SGD, and when I asked for a salary rise they almost threw a fit over it, and told me that maybe during annual review I will (or not) get 5% rise.

My job requires unlimited working hours (including weekends), and constant work after hours (reading, researching, I am expected to do that outside working hours). Am I really that crazy to think I am getting slightly ripped off? Or should I fall flat on my face and thank the Lord I am getting even this much?

I know my colleagues who are locals earn at least 50% more than I do (company policy is not to share salary information, but they all have pretty loud mouths <_<). Am I getting punished for having a husband (hence my employer assuming he earns buckets of cash)? Or is it because I am an Ang Mo blamed for stealing away work from locals?

:???:

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 21 Jun 2009 10:14 pm

You are being taken advantage of. But that is normal here. You are probably right in your though processes as well. They know you are on a dependent's pass so you are probably working with a letter of consent. If that's the case, they also know that yes, your husband probably earns sufficient and two, your working papers are tied to his. If he loses his job / employment pass, so do you. Therefore they are looking to get as much as pay a little as possible. They also know it's an employers market out there at the moment. It sucks, but that's Singapore for you. There are no employment laws to protect anybody who makes at least 2000/mo. You signed to work for them, They didn't force you to do it. Always remember, at the end of the day, you are free to go anythime you wish. It all depends on your own thresholds and on the value you place on yourself.

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Postby noel43 » Sun, 21 Jun 2009 11:11 pm

SGD2k for a double master degree is way too low in my opinion. But based on current market situation, think we need to be gratefull if still have a job.

While you are still in this company, try to gain as much experience as possible from your work. This will equip yourself to prepare for next job. On the other hand, start your job hunting.

All the best!

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Postby ksl » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 1:05 am

SMS is right i know, although from my own experience, i have met others with two master degrees, and have no experience, my question is how is this possible, does it really mean that because one is excellent at study and can produce results in exams expect to get a higher income? The answer is I doubt it.
You have one year experience in what exactly? just because you have a double barrelled gun, doesn't mean you get more meat!

I would say it depends on your age and experience in both degrees, I assume you didn't like the first study and decided on a second masters.

But in all honesty a master degree that does cost a fortune is over rated, if it isn't earned through an employed position where you get the experience, if you cannot produce the goods who wants you, and with 1 years experience'.on a DP you have not much to offer! which is also tied to your hubby, I would say around 2k max and a bonus scheme which reflects your results.

My suggestion is to bring something to the table, that deserves your employer to pay you more, after all this appears to be a Country that lacks real skills, and when they see them, they will never recognise the fact, but just steal your ideas. That's called life! :cry: We must have a talk maybe!

I would evaluate people without any education, providing they can produce the results i need, especially in sales and marketing and I presume that this is were you are involved, after all we are not talking of a charity organisation but a growing business, just forget the title that goes with the job and you should be okay. :wink: Passion is what it will take to succeed, without a doubt, which also means working almost 24/7 or being available. Is it worth it? Is another question?,Most hobbies are, if they produce income and pleasure.. All I appear to do is give advice and not get any reward and that's okay because i get it else where. Of course I could charge a fee.

The reason i do not charge is because at the moment I have no need!

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Postby Addadude » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 9:10 am

Hi Hithnar

As someone working in the ad industry here, let me see if I can give you some advice.

First of all, be very careful how much information you reveal. It would be remarkably easy to work out who you are just from the info you have posted in this thread. You don't really know who might be reading this - and the ad industry is VERY small!

"I'm a double Master Degree holder on DP, working for 8 months with one of Singapore biggest advertising agencies as Marketing Executive. This is my first full time job (I have 1 yr of part time experience). Thing is, they only pay me 2 000 SGD, and when I asked for a salary rise they almost threw a fit over it, and told me that maybe during annual review I will (or not) get 5% rise. "

Advertising is one of those industries where, quite honestly, degrees and educational qualifications are almost meaningless. You must also take into account that a great deal of importance is attached to where the degree was earned.

By your own admission, this is your first job and you got it at a time when jobs are few and far between. They offered you a salary and you accepted it. 8 months is a little too soon to start looking for an increment unless it was understood that you might get one oafter your probationary period.

The only way you will likely earn a raise in these market conditions will be if you truly excel in what you do and/or earn the client's absolute love and trust.

(BTW, I've never heard the term Marketing Executive used in an agency context. This is a job title normally used by clients. In the agency world, you would usually be called an account executive or, in the more pretentious agencies, a brand executive.)

"I know my colleagues who are locals earn at least 50% more than I do (company policy is not to share salary information, but they all have pretty loud mouths <_<). Am I getting punished for having a husband (hence my employer assuming he earns buckets of cash)? Or is it because I am an Ang Mo blamed for stealing away work from locals?"

Quite honestly in this industry what you earn is more often down to your bargaining power - and the market situation - than your abilities. I would not be at all surprised if every one of your peers earned different amounts.

I'll be honest: $2k is not an unheard of salary for someone starting off in the industry (master's degree or not).

You are NOT been 'punished'. YOU took the job at that salary. Nobody forced you to. Your husband's situation made it easier for you to accept this job on those terms than if you had to survive by yourself. Even if you had been single, I doubt that the agency would have offered you any more.

Leave the "Ang Mo" bit out: if they felt you were stealing jobs from local talent they wouldn't have hired you in the first place.

"My job requires unlimited working hours (including weekends), and constant work after hours (reading, researching, I am expected to do that outside working hours). Am I really that crazy to think I am getting slightly ripped off? Or should I fall flat on my face and thank the Lord I am getting even this much? "

Welcome to the world of advertising - Singapore style! :)
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Postby Hithnar » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 10:02 am

Hi guys! Thank you for all your insights...

But it all burns down to the fact that financially I am screwed for life :P I seriously wonder how people can afford traveling buying apartments or even having cars... *sight* It's so embarrassing when even my boss tells me I should travel and enjoy life, while I calculate if I won't fall into debt after paying the bills for the month.

I just sometimes wonder if I am being to picky about my life situation, or am I really getting the short end of the stick. Turns out it's both :(

Thx anyways...I feel weirdly uplifted and motivated to stop moping around whining about my life situation ;)

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Postby Addadude » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 10:12 am

You're just starting your career. It's almost an unwritten rule that first timers in advertising are always 'exploited'. If you are talented and work really, really hard, you can eventually change that situation. You are on the first rung of the ladder. Keep climbing.
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Postby calvink » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 11:33 am

Yesss..Passion in ur career is the way to go in the long term.!!... Love it... :D

Marketing executive are to be used by the client side, not AGENCY...its misleading some agency put it as brand/marketing/corporate comm when you are doing client servicing.....

Some people love the long working hours since they enjoy what they're doing.....i rather be on the client side since i know what im capable of....

Cheerss..............

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Postby Hithnar » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 12:31 pm

I don't mind long working hours to, but it feels like all work no play...

I wish after a week of working 14 hours a day I could go out to party or on a weekend trip some where... But no chance for that. Not without going flat broke and recovering for next 10 months.

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Postby Thaiclan » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 12:34 pm

You are obviously paid the exact right amount as you accepted the position in the first place.
You are only worth as much as you accept. So YOU are worth 2k per month.... - or less than the minimum wage jobs in Europe.
I wish people would stop going ahead to get a Masters and then another one and instead spend the cash and time on self assertive courses, career management courses and the like (only those that need them however - like you).
I'm not trying to be mean AT ALL. But where is your sense of self worth?
As someone who is so qualified, with a career that you have interest in you should be making more than 2k on your own. Its a big world and the internet makes it much smaller. Use it to your advantage. You are smart so start acting smart. Know your worth and go out and get it.

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Postby Hithnar » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 12:59 pm

Let me explain bit bout the double Masters.. I started doing Political Science, but it felt very meek in terms of background knowledge in economics, maths or marketing, so I signed up for Marketing&Management track at another uni. Ended up specializing in political marketing ;)

I guess I agreed to 2k because during interview I was told that "salary will be re-negotiated after probation period". No one mentioned that they mean annual review (which naturally happens after probation period+ 9 months), and no one ever mentioned the 5% cap. I feel extremely cheated on that part. It's not even mentioned in my contract - it's just something the HR manager pulled out all of the sudden after scolding me for asking about salary.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 1:34 pm

This past year, a large majority of companies here didn't even give even a 5% increment nor did they give bonuses either (or the bonuses were curtailed sharply). I think it was something to do with the current recession. :o

I've been here over a quarter of a century and have been through 4 major recessions. This one is my fifth and it's the worst I've seen so far (although it has affected me the least this time). My last company, during the '97 Asian Financial Crisis, didn't give any increments for 2 years nor bonuses. Additionally I took a 15% pay cut in order to implement a 10% pay cut across the board for the rank & file (my boss didn't know how to do it) As the only Ang Mo in the Company, I figured if took the cut, they would have to accept or lose face - It worked). What I am saying is that at the moment, nobody has any rulebooks or guidelines to go by and most companies are kinda feeling their way around. A lot are folding, others are actually making money but all are experiencing things that they haven't dealt with before. You could be a victim, or it could be normal company policy or you may not have remembered to ask those sort of questions when you had your interview.

At any rate, you can still walk away from it if you want to.

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Postby irvine » Tue, 23 Jun 2009 2:13 pm

The cup may be half empty, or half full... whichever way you choose to see it. Some people see the cup to be overflowing.

What I can say is... this shituation will pass, and you will be able to ask for more in the future when 1) you have more to offer, 2) you know your worth better.

Read: Things to do to become really really wealthy - http://nicholasbate.typepad.com/nichola ... althy.html

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Postby Addadude » Tue, 23 Jun 2009 3:35 pm

Hithnar wrote:I guess I agreed to 2k because during interview I was told that "salary will be re-negotiated after probation period". No one mentioned that they mean annual review (which naturally happens after probation period+ 9 months), and no one ever mentioned the 5% cap. I feel extremely cheated on that part. It's not even mentioned in my contract - it's just something the HR manager pulled out all of the sudden after scolding me for asking about salary.


Hithnar, you really need to get this "feeling cheated" nonsense out of your head.

1. This was the salary YOU agreed to. If no other precise figure was negotiated, what do you expect is going to happen? In business you don't get what's fair; you get what you negotiate.

2. As I mentioned before, in the ad industry a starting salary of $2k a month is not that unusual for a first timer - especially during these times. Despite what many outsiders seem to think, there are very few people earning big money in advertising - only the guys at the very top. The rest of us (and that includes me) earn surprisingly little for the amount of time and effort we put in every day. And, by the standards of other time consuming professions like finance and law, advertising professionals are very poorly rewarded - reflecting the industry's equally poor profitability (even during the 'good times').

3. As SMS mentioned, most companies are retrenching now - not hiring. Ad agencies have it REALLY bad at the moment. We are talking massive layoffs and big salary cuts. Forget about increments! No wonder your HR manager is freaking out at you. Please look outside of your little bubble and work out for yourself how much money your company is really making. (This shouldn't be too difficult for a double master's holder!)

4. When or if things do pick up, don't expect generous bonuses. As a rule, most agencies' idea of a bonus is to pay you a 13th month. (I'm not kidding about this.)

As I mentioned in point 2, the ad industry is not a terribly profitable one when you look at the amount of time and effort that is put in. I know of several naive businessmen who set up their own agencies only to rapidly close them down when they discovered the how poor the return on their investments was. It is an industry driven by passion (and no small amount of fear and insecurity). You can certainly make money from it - but there are plenty of other businesses that offer far better ROI.
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Postby Hithnar » Tue, 23 Jun 2009 4:29 pm

Addadude, thx for all your words. But I feel I need to clarify myself once more: I feel cheated cuz during the negotiation process I got the impression that I will eventual earn more (and my employer did nothing to disperse that impression). I knew the average is 2500 SGD for marketing executives, and I agreed to earn less because I thought its a matter of my employer not wanting to pay a full price during the probation period.

I know how much I earn for the company, and I know they do well financially (quotations go through my hands). My colleagues earn far more than me. Its just me and my short end of the stick.

What really worries me at that point, that from your word seems that I will never earn more. Never going to travel, rent an apartment without roommates, bah! even pay social security! How is it, that everyone can have that, but not me? I feel very depressed right now.


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