Conversations surrounding the expected salary for fresh graduates sparked online because of a tweet asking if P17,000 is a fair offer for a degree holder who’s just starting out. Users soon chimed in with their opinions on the issue and shared how much they got paid on their first jobs. The responses varied, some calling this out as entitlement or privilege, while others empathized with how hard it is to earn a living in the country.
Average Salary for Fresh Graduates
In 2018, Jobstreet reported that the average salary for fresh graduates is P19,785, and has increased to P22,268 in 2019 according to LiyabPH’s survey. Law graduates were among the best-paid, with an average of P27,355, followed by fresh graduates in the Communication industry with P24,675. That leaves with the question, is P17,000 a reasonable offer?
Minimum Wage in the Philippines
Statistically, P17,000 is well beyond the minimum wage in the Philippines, which ranges from P290 to P537, depending on the region. ASEAN Briefing reports this to be higher in comparison to neighboring countries like Vietnam and Indonesia but is still among the lowest in Asia. And based on the 2015 data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), a household of 5 needs at least P9,140 each month to cover basic expenses. However, this number does not account for other unexpected costs like medical bills and repairs for damages caused by calamities.
What is a Livable Wage?
Although the terms minimum wage and living wage are sometimes used interchangeably, by definition, they are two different things. The minimum wage is dictated by law, whereas a livable wage is based on the standard of living in each location. To earn a livable wage, a person should be able to afford more than the bare necessities. To quote from The Balance, “If the national minimum wage isn’t a living wage in even the cheapest city in the country, it’s not a living wage anywhere.” People should not have to live paycheck-to-paycheck or work two jobs just to make ends meet.
The bottom line is everyone deserves to earn a living wage, degree holder or not. It is a person’s discretion whether the amount offered to them is sufficient for them to get by for a month.