Fresh graduates in Singapore get paid more but fewer find jobs

A recent graduate employment survey has revealed a surge in fresh graduate salaries but a drop in securing full-time roles.
By: | February 26, 2024

In 2023, fresh university graduates in Singapore experienced a notable uptick in salaries compared to the preceding three years, despite a decrease in the availability of full-time, part-time, and freelance opportunities due to sluggish economic growth.

According to the latest graduate employment survey, the median gross salaries of fresh graduates rose to S$4,313 (US$3,212), up from S$4,200 (US$3,128) in 2022. However, the survey highlighted a decline in the percentage of fresh graduates securing full-time permanent roles, with only 84.1% finding such positions compared to 87.5% in the previous year.

Additionally, there was a decrease in the number of graduates engaged in part-time or temporary work (4% down from 4.5% in 2022) and freelance work (1.5% down from 1.8% in 2022). Overall, 89.6% of the surveyed graduates found permanent, freelance, or part-time jobs within six months of graduation, down from 93.8% in 2022, aligning closely with pre-pandemic employment rates.

The survey also found that health sciences, information and digital technologies, and business were top course clusters for full-time permanent employment, with rates of 95.9%, 88.7%, and 88.3%, respectively.

Despite the economic slowdown, graduates in information and digital technologies courses continued to command the highest monthly pay at S$5,500 (US$4,096), albeit slightly lower than the previous year. Conversely, engineering graduates experienced a dip in median gross monthly salary to S$4,500 (US$3,351) from S$4,600 (US$3,426) in 2022, while all other course clusters saw an increase in median gross monthly for their graduates.

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The survey, which included responses from 12,300 fresh graduates of full-time programmes at the four major universities in Singapore – including the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, and Singapore University of Social Sciences – was conducted to gauge employment status approximately six months after the completion of final examinations, reported The Straits Times.