Median Starting Pay for Graduates in S’pore Increased in 2018 to $3,733

Image: TK Kurikawa /

Long gone are the days of our childhood idols Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens singing and dancing about summer breaks.

While entertaining, we all know the education system in Singapore isn’t much like how they portray it in Western movies.

In the time that Troy Bolton spent frolicking the fields…

Image: Giphy

…our Singaporean students are spending their time slaving away, among books and papers. (This scene brings back dark memories.)

Image: Giphy

But the worse is yet to come.

Yes, I am speaking to all the fresh grads out there, some may or may not be feeling the fear and anxiety that comes with graduating.

With the recent publishing of different surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education, it is safe to say that you don’t have to be so kiasu.

Or maybe not.

Expectations versus…

The Joint Graduate Employment Survey was published yesterday (26 February 2019), depicting side-to-side comparisons between the graduates of 2017 and 2018.

It shewed an overall increase in median starting pay for those who graduated in 2018 and were in full-time permanent employment as compared to those who graduated in the previous year.

With courtesy of Channel News Asia, such is shown in the table below:

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Image: Joint Graduate Employment Survey 2018

In addition, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences,  Information and Digital Technologies and Sciences seen percentage increases in employment rates, resulting in a successive increase in overall employment rate.

Image: Joint Graduate Employment Survey 2018

The sample size for the survey took 700 graduates from NTU, NUS and SMU. These graduates were from the Architecture Class of 2015, as well as the Biomedical Sciences and Chinese Medicine, Law, Medicine, and Pharmacy courses.

Of those in the labour force, 96.9 per cent secured employment after the completion of their practical training, housemanship or first-year residency training, similar to 2017.

Those in the labour force who secured full-time permanent employment increased to 93.9 per cent, slightly higher than the 93.6 per cent in 2017. Another 0.4 per cent were freelancing, lower than the 1 per cent in 2017.

The percentage in part-time or temporary employment was 2.6 per cent in 2018, compared to 2.2 per cent in 2017.


Ever heard the term: “Facts lie and liars figure”?

Numbers, percentages and statistics. How much of it is actually true? Most of the times when things sounds too good to be true, there is always a catch.

Unfortunately, many graduates are not actually enjoying this increase due to the lack of a minimum wage in Singapore and government regulations to ensure fair wage compensations.

This means that you may not be unfairly paid in accordance to your respective credentials.

In an interview with the Business Insider, much of the issue is explained, in relevance to the role of the individual.

Ms Kuik, who has been part of the education ecosystem for the past 16 years, notes that while the value of a degree may not be as high as it once was, this doesn’t mean it has no value.

“At the end of it, it’s not about the degree – it’s about what you got through the degree,” Ms Kuik explains.

Guess It’s Not So Bad to be Kiasu

Oh straitlaced Singapore, perhaps it is time we start to encourage a different perspective and way of thinking in our students.

As a soon-to-be freshman of a particular university, I have experienced the stress that comes with admission, and the constant emphasis on the future, security and jobs.

Perhaps it is time to see university as a place to understand more about your own individual, and grow one’s passion, rather than a bridge to jobs.

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