SINGAPORE — The number of fresh polytechnic graduates employed last year dipped slightly from 2013, continuing a gentle decline in the employment rate for such diploma holders.
A joint survey by Singapore’s five polytechnics showed that 89.2 per cent of fresh polytechnic graduates were employed last year, down from 89.8 per cent in 2013. In 2012 and 2011, the employment rate stood at 91 per cent and 92.1 per cent, respectively.
The median gross salary — the mid-point between the highest and lowest salaries — for fresh graduates remained unchanged at S$2,000 per month from 2013. In 2012, the median gross salary was S$1,950.
While the number of fresh graduates in full-time positions dropped from 62.7 per cent in 2013 to 59.4 per cent last year, those employed in part-time positions inched up from 27.1 per cent in 2013 to 29.8 per cent last year, showed the Graduate Employment Survey. It had sought responses from 15,321 graduates between Oct 1 and Dec 8 last year.
The employment rate for polytechnic diploma-holders joining the workforce after National Service (NS) also declined marginally from 92.8 per cent to 92.4 per cent.
Fresh graduates from the Built Environment, Engineering and Maritime courses, as well as Health Sciences courses, were the top-earners, drawing median gross monthly salaries of S$2,100 and S$2,150, respectively.
For diploma-holders who joined the workforce after NS, their median gross monthly salaries climbed from S$2,250 in 2013 to S$2,400 last year. Those in the Health Sciences drew the highest median gross monthly salary of S$2,665.
The survey results come after the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) committee made recommendations last year to enhance the job and academic prospects for polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates. The recommendations, which have been accepted by the Government and include developing multiple pathways for these graduates to advance in their careers, are in line with the Government’s efforts to shift the focus away from the obsession with paper qualifications.
In response to TODAY’s queries, a spokesperson representing the five polytechnics said employment rates are affected by various factors and small fluctuations from year to year could be reasonably expected.
The overall employment rate remains at “healthy levels”, with about nine in 10 polytechnic graduates securing jobs within six months of graduation. “Internationally, the overall employment rate of Singapore’s polytechnic graduates is also higher than the average youth employment rate of other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries,” the spokesperson added.
On the median gross monthly salaries for fresh graduates, which remained stagnant over the last two years, the spokesperson said median gross salaries have risen from S$1,700 in 2009 to S$2,000 per month last year.
Ms Sufiyah Amirnordin, 20, who found a job as an assistant video producer after graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic last year, said business and nursing graduates find it easier to land full-time jobs.