Degree too Mainstream: More S’poreans Are Going for a Master’s

As a millennial, the thought of pursuing a master’s degree has always been on my mind ever since I graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

But after discussing it with my parents, I have decided to get some work experience before pursuing any post-graduate studies.

I guess I am the only millennial who decided to not pursue my studies—fine I am just exaggerating as usual.

But more and more people are pursuing post-graduate studies as employment rates are dipping.

According to MOM’s advance labour force report, the employment rate between June 2016 and June 2017 fell for residents aged 15 to 24, TODAY reported.

The employment rate for the said group was 36.8% in June 2015 and then it dropped by 1% in June 2016—35.8%.

This year is no better as it dropped to 34.1% in June.

The ministry attributed this trend to the young having a “higher propensity to pursue further education and postpone entry into the labour force”.



SMU told TODAY that 16% more people graduated from post-graduate courses this year—from 818 last year to 947 this year.

This trend has been going on since 2011.



NTU has been also experiencing something similar—over the past year about 10% more Singapore citizens are pursuing post-graduate studies, amounting to 3400 students this year.

Polytechnic students

Even poly students are upgrading themselves as the number of people on part-time, temporary or freelance employment has grown from 31% in 2015 to 34.8% in 2016, indicating that they were either pursuing or starting further studies.

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Associate Professor Randolph Tan, a labour economist from the Singapore University of Social Sciences said: “On educational attainment, the Singapore workforce has reached a level that is higher than we have ever seen. That provides the necessary foundation to meet the needs of the future economy. But by itself, more workers with higher educational qualifications — while necessary — is not enough.”

There will be a point where attaining a Master’s degree would be the norm, just like getting a Bachelor’s degree these days.

There could be another reason as to why the younger generation is going back to school.

Dr Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Maybank Kim Eng, mentioned that the falling employment rate among the younger set may indicate that employment opportunities were ‘not that great for them’.

He added: “Rather than working in temporary jobs, they go back to school.”

With that said, there is only so much one can learn in school and that is why internships are being incorporated.

Something in life can only be learned in the outside world.

If you can’t decide, you can always try to get a job and who knows, you might not even need a Master’s degree to climb the corporate ladder.

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