Influencer dream or steady career? Syed Saddiq advises youths on future planning

Education Ministry revealed that an alarming 50 per cent of young individuals are uninterested in furthering their studies.

29 May 2024 02:13pm
Syed Saddiq
Syed Saddiq

SHAH ALAM - It is not surprising that many youths are drawn to the gig economy and influencer lifestyle as these paths offer flexibility, creativity and the potential for quick earnings.

Recent research conducted by the Education Ministry revealed that an alarming 50 per cent of young individuals are uninterested in furthering their studies.

However, former Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman advised youths, especially teenagers not to avoid impulsive decision-making and resist the urge to avoid impulsive decision-making and mindlessly follow trends or succumb to fear of missing out (FOMO).

"I understand why many youths aspire to be influencers or delivery riders. I could not blame them, especially considering that obtaining a degree can take up to six years and often involves incurring tens of thousands of ringgits in PTPTN loans, with minimal starting salaries."

“Additionally, Khazanah Research reveals that over 65 per cent of degree holders begin with salaries as low as RM2,000.

“However, stop and consider these three factors which consist of career progression, safety net, and the comparison between short-term and long-term outcomes,” he said in the video posted following the release of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) result which was released on Monday.

Saddiq stressed the importance of career progression, noting that with the presence of a degree or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) certificate, where youth could expect faster salary increments.

He added while starting salaries may range from RM2,000 to RM3,000, within 5 to 10 years, it could increase to RM5,000.

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He further stated that after 10 to 15 years, salaries are expected to reach RM10,000 to RM15,000.

He elaborated on the second factor, emphasising the importance of a safety net or financial security, 24 per cent were contributed to EPF, ensuring future financial stability for their children.

Syed Saddiq urged people to consider the numbers, illustrating that with a monthly salary of RM5,000 at age 30 and an annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent, individuals could amass savings of RM1.2 million over 30 years.

He said this would alleviate financial burdens on their children or grandchildren in their old age.

Therefore, he suggested that youths could thrive with adequate funds.

Thirdly, he emphasised the importance of comparing short-term and long-term prospects.

Saddiq said while it might seem appealing to pursue immediate gains in gig economy, such as becoming a FoodPanda or Grab rider with a salary of RM4,000, it was crucial to consider whether such incomes would sustain over the next 20-30 years.

“At times, it remains stagnant, while occasionally, the allowance benefits are reduced once more. Just observe all the protests taking place.

“Consider this, out of hundreds of thousands of influencers, how many can truly sustain themselves? With a permanent salary, EPF contributions, and potential financial aid in the future, stability is ensured,” he added, highlighting the necessity of carefully contemplating their future.

Saddiq also emphasised the significance of weighing facts and data as these decisions not only impact their own future but also contribute to shaping the future of Malaysia as a nation.

For the record, in 2021, 180,680 SPM graduates decided against higher education and in 2020, 115,939 graduates, making up 35.16 per cent of the total, shared the sentiment.

Additionally, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan noted that about 300,000 SPM graduates skip further education each year, opting for roles in manufacturing or e-hailing services.

In the meantime, it was reported a recent study by the UCSI University Poll Research Centre found that among 1,000 SPM school-leavers aged 18 to 20, only 51 per cent planned to continue their studies while 39 per cent chose to look for a job while another 10 per cent had no plans.

The reasons for not pursuing further education included aspirations to become influencers and social media affiliates (34 per cent), interest in the gig economy like e-hailing (26 per cent), entrepreneurial ambitions (22per cent), and a lack of future plans (8per cent).