SGPsychStud: Overhearing conversation about psychologists' pay in Singapore

Overhearing 2 psychology students on the train yesterday (I assume they are psychology students with their knowledge of careers in psychology)...

"Did you know that a psychologist's average pay in Singapore is only 4 to 5 thousand dollars a month?  But in overseas, a psychologist's pay in a private sector is around 9 to 10 thousand dollars.  That's almost like a professor's pay in Singapore.  Four to 5 thousands dollars is like a nurse's pay overseas.

The issue is that psychologists are not considered as prestigious as other professionals like doctors or lawyers.  Even teachers in schools seemed to be of quite a standard.

Maybe we should aim to become professors.  The main difference between professors and psychologists is that professors publish more papers.  Even if you are a psychologist in a private sector, you will only publish a few papers a year.  With more papers published, you get more fame and more pay too.."

I could hear no more, and plugged my earphones into my ears, and continue watching the movie I was watching on my phone. I did not really wished to correct them on the spot, though I had the urge, because they were somewhat correct.  So here I am writing about it, to release my urges, to correct whatever I felt was a mistake...

1)  Not all professors in Singapore get a pay of 10 thousand dollars. Some do get less.
2)  The reason for why the pay overseas are respectively higher is often because of their standard of living.  You do not pay for a plate of chicken rice or fried noodles overseas for $3 or $4.  Often, even in food-courts in Australia, the cheapest meal/main dish you can find is at least $7 to $8.  So a direct simple comparison of salary is quite a wrong way to compare.
3)  Being an academia is not an easy thing.
4)  Studying psychology is not only about getting the salary, the fame, or number of papers published.  There are often reasons why people remain as psychologists, than to go into academia. They probably have not read this post: Money vs Passion: Will being in this field get big bucks for me?

This might be a casual conversation between the two girls, with me overhearing just this part of the conversation, but this was the part I heard.  A final note to everyone studying psychology, if you are into psychology for the money, you are probably in the wrong field of work or studies..

Disclaimer: The conversation abstract may not be fully accurate as I am just iterating whatever I can remember that I heard. The conversation was mostly in Singlish, but I have written it to be more of a proper and correct English level.

10 comments :

  1. Absolutely! Nevertheless,I understand that life can't move on without money, that's why almost every student is wondering how to settle down with a better life after graduate. However, if psychology student are having the thought that psychology field is about to bring them a lot of money, then I personally feel that they might make a huge "significant" mistake.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Max,
      I am agree with your comment that person life can't move on without money . If student is not better life after psychology graduate then why he/she doing psychology?

      Thanks
      Contact The Counsellors Singapore

      Delete
  2. I couldn't agree less. I know a number of psychologists in Singapore and the pay you are referring to (or the girls rather) is what a seasoned clinical psychologist would make simply working part-time (20 hrs / week).

    One more comment I wanted to make in regards to your 'corrections':
    "The reason for why the pay overseas are respectively higher is often because of their standard of living. You do not pay for a plate of chicken rice or fried noodles overseas for $3 or $4. Often, even in food-courts in Australia, the cheapest meal/main dish you can find is at least $7 to $8. So a direct simple comparison of salary is quite a wrong way to compare."

    I wouldn't use Chicken-Rice as a good comparison, or even a semi-valid measure for standard of living. Why not compare something like rent? In Singapore the potential psychologist will have to pay at least twice as much (for half the space) in rent as compared to their US counterparts. Naturally they should be demanding higher salaries in Singapore, because in reality, cost of living is fairly high here compared to the rest of the world. Plug in some cities and see for yourself: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=Singapore


    Where I do agree with you is the bit about passion, and the true desire to want to make a difference in people's lives - if you're in it solely for the money, you will burn out sooner than you think. For true therapists, the intrinsic rewards often times outweigh the monetary ones - nevertheless, there's always money to be made in this field, and that won't change.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. That's a really good link in terms of the comparison.

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  3. http://www.psychology.org.au/Content.aspx?ID=3847

    A nice read above.

    This is not a fair comparison, USA is a big country. Some place higher others lower. Tax wise Ang mo land is higher. A psychologist is not easy too, some ppl get influence by their patients and are depress. Big money come with a price.
    http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=Singapore

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  4. Hi I definitely agree with this.:) I'm Anna from misspsychobabble.blogspot.sg (Psych blog also!) and I've accidentally stumbled by your site. I gotta say, it was a lovely accident! Read a few of your posts already.

    Thank you for your informative and insightful articles. It really helped me since I recently graduated with my honors degree here in Singapore. Looking forward for more posts! :)

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  5. Hi. I am thinking of going into psychology as I am interested in counselling, working with youth and inmates. Am considering the jcu degree and am planning to do masters aft I end. May I know what r the career prospect in singapore?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I think you might find your answers in this list of posts: http://sgpsychstuff.blogspot.sg/search/label/Jobs

      Delete
  6. Hi,

    I am really inspired from your blog hoping you will be there with more interesting post like this.

    Thanks

    Counselling Singapore

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice Write up!
    have a look at mine too! :)
    http://christophertangible.blogspot.sg/2015/04/intention-counsellor-part-one_14.html

    ReplyDelete