Fewer polytechnic and ITE graduates in full-time employment

Compared to ten years ago, full-time employment among graduates of polytechnics and ITEs has decreased.

An increasing proportion of polytechnic and ITE graduates are going into freelance, part-time and temporary work.

Speaking in Parliament, Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary said that a Ministry of Education (MoE) survey found that fewer polytechnic and ITE graduates are in full-time, permanent employment.

The survey is conducted annually, six months after the graduates have finished their final assessments for their respective courses.

According to the survey’s finding, the number of polytechnic and ITE graduates in full-time permanent employment in 2016 was 58% -- falling from 58% in 2007.

“About half of the decrease is due to students choosing to do part-time work while they prepare for further studies,” said Puthucheary.

He added that the number of these graduates choosing to pursue further studies has gone up 10% in the last decade, according to MOE figures.

Puthucheary was also asked if transformative technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence and robotics were reducing the number of technical jobs available to these polytechnic and ITE graduates.

But it appears that some graduates might simply prefer to take alternative paths in their careers, such as going freelance.

 “Our preliminary analysis and information we have suggest that the trends are reflective of the behaviour and aspirations of students as well as opportunities that are being made available rather than a specific push as a result of factors described by the Member,” said Puthucheary.

“But we will continue to study the matter to ensure whether there are factors we can address to benefit the students as best we can,” he added, highlighting that the MOE will be conducting an in-depth study to better understand the reasons and motivations for these students to pursue further studies or give full-time employment a miss.


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