Fresh graduate engineers make as much as university dropouts

June 22, 2024 | 03:05 pm PT
Fresh graduate engineers make as much as university dropouts
University graduates often earn more than dropouts after gaining experience. Illustration photo by Pexels
Many fresh graduates complain that their starting salaries are on par with laborers’, but few have the foresight to see that their income will grow much faster with experience.

I too once dropped out of university with dreams of earning money early. When I first started working, my salary was only VND7-8 million (US$275-314) per month.

I later decided to return to school to gain knowledge and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 2018. Upon entering the interior design field, my salary remained at VND8 million per month. Hence, many people told me that it was pointless to study hard and get a degree only to earn just as much as when I dropped out.

However, I persevered and stayed in the field for six years before deciding to shift to a new company. Last year, I applied for office jobs at four different interior design companies and was accepted by all four. Currently, my salary is over VND14 million per month and I work in an air-conditioned office.

Personally, I find this salary appropriate for my level of expertise. Once I have gained more experience, I could potentially become a deputy head of department with a monthly salary of VND17 million.

It was those six years of experience with a modest salary that paved the way for my current earnings. The key, therefore, lies in choosing a field you are passionate about and dedicating 5-10 years to it, after which opportunities for higher income may arise. I doubt many fresh graduates manage to start with high-paying jobs.

Similar to me, my brother-in-law also dropped out after high school and has been working as a ride-hailing driver since. Though he initially made more than me, earning around VND11-12 million per month, he is still stuck with that level of income without many bonuses.

Many people focus only on the short-term gains and quickly dismiss the time invested in obtaining a university degree. But consider this: if you were a director responsible for hiring a crucial position with a high salary, would you favor a college dropout?

Clearly, those with qualifications find it easier to secure jobs. Fresh graduates' salaries might be similar to those of laborers, but the difference will be evident in 5-10 years.

By then, do you think an unskilled worker’s income, even with their seniority, can match that of an experienced engineer?

Reader Hai Pham

*This opinion was translated into English by AI. Readers’ views are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress’ viewpoints.

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