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Man Behind Viral “37K Tweet” Has Advice For Fresh Grads, Prompts Discussion About Liveable Wage

Man behind viral “37K tweet” has advice to fresh grads

It’s an open secret in the Philippines that salaries here are comparatively not yet up to par with our neighboring countries, despite our rising cost of living, especially in Metro Manila.

Since 29th April, two days before Labor Day, this issue surrounding our labor conditions has coincidentally been making the rounds on social media after Twitter user Kume, who goes by the handle @DearKume, wrote about an Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) fresh graduate who had declined a starting monthly salary offer of P37,000. 

Twitter user was shocked when the fresh grad declined his offer

Viral 37K tweet - DearKume
Image credit: @DearKume

In his tweet on 29th April, @DearKume stated that he was shocked that a fresh graduate had not accepted his offer of a P37,000 starting salary offer for an entry-level marketing position. The applicant, according to the tweet, had stated that she expected at least P60,000 because she graduated from a prestigious university. 

“I just made a job offer to an Ateneo fresh grad, and I was shocked that she declined a 37K starting salary. The role is for an entry-level Marketing Associate. I asked for her reason and she said that she expects at least 60K because of her education background. I’M SPEECHLESS,” he tweeted. 

His advice to young jobseekers

Viral 37k tweet - Adamson graduationImage credit: Adamson University 

After his tweet went viral, @DearKume followed up with some advice for jobseekers. He explained that fresh graduates can definitely set their standards high, but they should take a holistic approach when justifying their expected salaries by stating their capabilities and skills instead of just saying that they were educated at a top university. 

Viral 37K tweet - DearKume
Image credit: @DearKume

“Kids, no one is stopping you from expecting and demanding a huge pay [sic]. I do encourage dreaming big and setting high standards. But if you [want] to do it, at least be prepared to justify it with credentials. Discuss your projects, skills, extracurricular activities, volunteer work,” he said. 

He also added that for job applicants, only saying that they had graduated from a prestigious school would give hiring managers “the wrong impression” as it “shows lack of depth and insecurity.”

Netizens have mixed reactions

Viral 37K tweet - twitter user reaction
Image credit: Twitter

While @DearKume’s tweets were intended to guide fresh graduates, netizens have mixed reactions. One Twitter user sympathized with the Ateneo grad jobseeker, replying to @DearKume’s tweet that “she should have answered ‘I deserve 60k because I have exceptional communication skills, I can make you more than 60k in a month with my skills and determination.’” 

Viral 37K tweet - twitter user reaction
Image credit: Twitter

Another netizen had a different take, however. They said that there’s nothing wrong with the applicant’s reason for declining the offer, because ADMU’s tuition fees are high. Their tweet can be translated as, “The tuition fees at Ateneo are high. And they’re expensive for a reason.” 

@DearKume’s viral tweet was even discussed widely on Facebook

viral 37k tweet reaction - FB user reaction
Image credit: Facebook

Aside from the heated exchange on Twitter on whether or not the applicant’s reason is justified, @DearKume’s viral “37k tweet” also prompted discussions on Facebook. One netizen, for instance, shared that while the P37,000 offer is already high for an entry-level position, Filipinos should actually have higher salaries. 

“Sa totoo lang, in reality dapat mas mataas pa nga ang pasahod e. Ang Pilipinas ay isa sa mga bansang mababa magpasahod sa buong mundo. Nasanay na kasi tayo sa mababang salary, sinanay tayo ng mga ganid na korporasyon.”

This can be translated as: “To be honest, in reality, Filipinos’ salaries should be higher. The Philippines is one of the countries in the world with the lowest salaries. We are used to getting low salaries, we were trained by greedy corporations.” 

A Facebook page also explained why some fresh grads accept a P15,000 offer

viral 37k tweet reaction - FB user reaction
Image credit: Dalawang Sentimo sa Kalye 

Facebook page Dalawang Sentimo sa Kalye tried to explain the underlying causes behind why some applicants can turn down an offer that is seemingly high, while others immediately accept a job that comes with an offer of below P15,000 a month. 

According to the post, the socio-economic background of an applicant plays a role. “Graduates from prestigious universities [such as] Ateneo can take the risk of bargaining since they have safety nets whilst students from marginalized sectors don’t have that kind of privilege,” the page said. 

The post ended with the page’s admin saying that everyone deserves a liveable salary, but one shouldn’t feel guilty of immediately accepting a job with a low salary because the problem lies in the disparity between different socio-economic classes. 

“A living wage should be a right. However, you shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed if you accept a job with a low salary immediately, it’s not your fault. The problem is the existing system that perpetuates labor devaluation,” the page said. 

“37K tweet” prompts livable wage discussion

The viral “37K tweet” indeed revealed many debatable issues surrounding labor conditions in the Philippines.

And while these matters are up for discussion, we hope that employers will look to giving every Filipino worker the living wage they deserve.

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Cover image adapted from: @theateneo, Adamson University