Fresh graduates from Singapore’s polytechnics have witnessed a significant improvement in their job prospects and starting salaries in 2023, according to the latest Graduate Employment Survey (GES) conducted by the five polytechnics in the country.
The survey, which encompassed responses from 8,065 out of 10,757 fresh graduates of 2023, revealed a notable increase in employment rates. Nearly 60% of these graduates secured full-time permanent jobs, marking a gradual rise from 59% in 2022 and about 58% in 2021. Moreover, an impressive 92.7% of the graduates managed to find permanent, freelance, or part-time jobs within six months of their graduation or after completing their full-time National Service (NS).
This positive trend is attributed to Singapore’s steady economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the unemployment rate dipping from 8.2% in 2022 to 7.3% in 2023.
In terms of earnings, the median gross monthly salary for graduates in full-time permanent employment rose by S$200, climbing from S$2,600 in 2022 to S$2,800 in 2023.
Graduates from health sciences, humanities and social sciences, and information and digital technologies earned higher than their peers from other courses.
Republic Polytechnic principal Jeanne Liew, speaking for the Polytechnic GES committee, commented, “The wage growth and stable employment rates reflect employers’ confidence in our polytechnic graduates. Our industry connections and progressive curriculum have produced adaptable and resilient graduates.”
The survey also included responses from 5,055 out of 8,739 graduates from 2020 who completed their full-time NS between 1 April 2022, and 31 March 2023.
Notably, about half of the polytechnic graduates in part-time or temporary employment are pursuing or preparing for further studies.
Amidst these encouraging figures, Singapore’s economic growth showed a slowdown, easing to 1.2% in 2023 after a 3.6% growth in 2022.
To support their graduates, the polytechnics – Singapore, Temasek, Ngee Ann, Nanyang, and Republic – have been actively providing career guidance, job matching, and personalized coaching. They also facilitate job placement and apprenticeship opportunities through initiatives like the SkillsFuture Work-Study Programme.
Singaporean financial advisor and blogger Leong Sze Hian raised concerns regarding the real growth of starting salaries for polytechnic graduates, considering the inflation rate.
Leong suggested that while nominal salaries have grown, the real increase per annum might be around 0.5% when adjusted for inflation. He also questioned the impact of the S-Pass scheme on the starting salary growth of poly graduates and recommended reporting starting salaries in real terms in future GES reports.
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