Reply to ST Forum letter on “Is a 'good honours degree' a must for jobs?”
Public Service hires based on merit, not academic results
We thank Mr Joseph Khoo Yang Kim for his letter “Is a ‘good honours degree’ a must for jobs?” (ST, 25 April).
There is a huge range of jobs in the 136,000-strong Public Service, from those in frontline operations to project management to policy design and implementation. There is also a large variety of specialist jobs requiring professional qualifications and technical skills and competencies.
Given the diverse range of jobs, the Public Service does not only hire candidates with good honours degree. Qualities and abilities such as leadership, teamwork, project management, customer orientation or technical know-how may be more important, depending on the nature of work.
Our officers enter the Service at different levels, depending on the years and depth of experience, as well as nature of the work.
For fresh graduates, whether those with diploma or degree, in the absence of other criteria, grades are a proxy. Even then, we look beyond grades, e.g. for leadership, problem-solving and service orientation, when assessing candidates.
For those joining at the middle and senior levels, criteria such as relevant experience and skills as well as leadership and organising abilities weigh more heavily than academic achievements.
Most importantly, because we hire based on merit, candidates with the best fit for the job will be employed.
Tan Hoe Soon
Director, Career Development and Management
Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office