Fewer Graduates in 2020 Found Full-Time Job; Many Turned to Part-Time or Temp Jobs

One would think that with a degree, you could do pretty much anything.

Get employed.

Garner a respectable starting salary.

Get a significant other who’s all thirsty for your degree.

You know, the works.

But the fact is that, unlike what movies commonly portray, life is not a bed of roses.

And that’s especially so with the pandemic around, which seems to be dishing up more thorns than anything else.

Fewer Graduates in 2020 Found Full-Time Job; Many Turned to Part-Time or Temp Jobs

The percentage of University graduates in Singapore who secured full-time employment after their final exams have dipped by more than 10% amidst the pandemic.

The shocking statistic was unveiled via the annual Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey: of 11,800 fresh graduates, only 69.8 per cent of fresh graduates managed to find permanent full-time jobs last year.

It’s a startling drop from 2019, when 81.7 per cent was recorded.

Meanwhile, graduates who are in part-time or temporary jobs have spiked in numbers, rising from 7 per cent to a whopping 22.3 per cent.

It should also be noted that around half of the group are in “involuntary part-time or temporary employment”.

This is a sharp increase from 2019, when a mere one-third expressed the same.

However, it appears that not all is bleak.

In total, 93.6 per cent of graduates managed to secure employment within six months of their final examinations, as compared to 90.7 per cent in 2019.

The median gross monthly salary for graduates in full-time jobs has also increased from S$3,600 to S$3,700.

Even so, however, one can’t help but bemoan the distinct repercussions that the pandemic has caused.


The survey polled graduates from full-time programmes at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).

Graduates were questioned on their employment status as of 1 November 2020, around six months after their final examinations.

Following the worrying figures, local universities have pledged their support to existing graduates.

“The six AUs (autonomous universities) have stepped up efforts to support their graduates amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the universities in a joint press release on Friday (Feb 19).

“On top of providing extensive career guidance and support which includes job matching, personalised career coaching and planning, and complimentary continuing education and training courses, the AUs have also tapped on their network of industry partners to curate suitable job placement and apprenticeship opportunities for graduates, such as the SGUnited Traineeships.”

Well, I’d say these additional measures would be much appreciated, considering how the pandemic is not expected to end for at least a few years.

Set To Last 4-5 Years

According to our Education Minister Lawrence Wong, the Covid-19 pandemic may be around for a little longer than we’d like.

In fact, Mr Wong predicted that it could be four or five years before the devastating pandemic ends.

This means, Mr Wong said, that we’ll have to get used to this new way of living for the rest of this year and a good chunk of next year as well.

Mandatory mask wearing, safe distancing, and avoiding crowded places will continue to be a part of our everyday life, he said.

This is despite the vaccines that are currently being issued worldwide.

Apparently, one of the obstacles in eradicating Covid-19 is how quickly it mutates.

One such mutated strain was discovered in South Africa recently, and is believed to be more contagious.

According to Mr Wong, initial research suggests current vaccines may not be so effective against the South African mutant strain.

So yeah, that certainly puts a dent in our plans going ahead.

And that’s especially so for fresh graduates in the present and in the near future. So for their sake, let’s hope that the pandemic gets eradicated as soon as possible.

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