Part-time jobs for Singapore students are quite unromantic, at least for those who are serious about making money. You're more likely to see university students breathing down their tuition kids' necks or trying to sell insurance than scooping ice cream, painting murals or making coffee.
Right now, there's been a surge of tertiary students becoming Uber and GrabCar drivers in their spare time. Would you rather be a driver or beat yet another Primary 5 kid into submission because he hasn't completed the exercises in his math assessment book? For many, the answer is clear.
But more importantly, moonlighting as an Uber or GrabCar driver is not just about making money. There are benefits to doing this that students can't get in other part-time jobs. Here are three big reasons why it's a great part-time job.
There are few decent part-time alternatives
As many young mothers wanting to get back into the workforce without pulling 50 hour weeks have found, there aren't many part-time options in Singapore that pay decently.
While in other developed countries it's common for university students to take on part-time jobs in F&B and retail, there's one very good reason Singaporean students don't do that-such jobs pay way too little here.
At $6 to $8 an hour, the wages of part-timers in the service industry have barely risen over the last ten years, while university fees and other costs have skyrocketed. That means that students who are earnestly trying to earn money to pay their school fees or save and invest are better off giving tuition.
There was even a report last year about how some students are turning to house cleaning, simply because it pays better than service jobs.
That means that Uber and GrabCar driving plugs a gap in the job market-it offers students a viable part-time job that promises a decent hourly wage, although obviously how much they actually earn depends on how strategically they choose their customers and hours.
It enables students to have a car for their own use
For a great many Singaporean students, turning 18 and getting their drivers' licence means they now get to borrow their parents' cars. Becoming an Uber or GrabCar driver gives students a legitimate reason to do it more often.
And seriously, cars are as much of a status symbol for Singaporean university students as they are for adults.
Those who decide to rent cars instead get to drive to school and use the vehicle for their own purposes, all while subsidising the cost by ferrying customers around.
When you think about, students can get more enjoyment out of cars than their working adult counterparts.
While working adults might opt to take the MRT to work because parking in the CBD is exorbitant, tertiary students often enjoy free or cheap parking at school and do not need to battle peak hour traffic.
Most importantly, they actually have the time to cruise down the highway with their friends at 2am, or drive out for a late night supper, something which a great many adults whose lives are consumed by work simply do not have the time to do.
It's thus easy to see how the chance to use a car regularly can be a big draw for students.
Truly flexible hours
The life of a tertiary student is an unpredictable one. They can be burning the midnight oil for weeks at time during the exams or staying overnight in school to complete projects, but then be completely free for a period.
One big draw of becoming an Uber or GrabCar driver is the fact that hours are 100 per cent flexible. You can quite literally work whenever you want.
There's no such thing as being coerced by a tuition kid's parent to come down and teach during your own exam period because the kid has exams, too. There's no danger of having your student cancel on you or reschedule the lesson at the last minute.
There's also no such thing as not being able to work because it's the school holidays and all the other part-timers have stolen your shifts or your tuition kid has gone on holiday with his parents. So long as you're free, you can work, even if it's 3am on a Tuesday morning.
Let's just hope their driving skills are up to scratch.
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