In Focus
HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Fewer new graduates found permanent full-time work in 2020: survey

Only 69.8% of new graduates had permanent full-time jobs last year.

University graduates who have managed to secure a full-time job six months after their final exams dropped by over 10% in 2020, despite government programmes being put in place to help in employment.

Nearly seven in 10 (69.8%) fresh graduates found permanent full-time jobs in 2020, down from 81.7% in 2019, according to the annual Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey (JAUGES).

The survey also showed the percentage of graduates in part-time or temporary jobs spiked from 7% in 2019 to 22.3% this year. Graduates on the SGUnited traineeships programme made up 16.9 percentage points of the 2020 figure.

Overall, 93.6% of graduates found employment within six months of completing their final examinations, up from 90.7% in 2019. The median gross monthly salary amongst fresh graduates in permanent full-time jobs was $3,700, up from $3,600 in 2019, according to the survey.

Graduates of the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) continue to be in demand in employment prospects and earn higher starting salaries in the latest survey results.

Amongst NUS fresh graduates in the labour force, 93.9% were employed in 2020, compared to 90.9% in 2019. The median gross monthly salary of fresh graduates from NUS in full-time permanent employment also increased to $3,800 in 2020, from $3,600 in 2019.

“The survey results, therefore, demonstrate that the University’s rigorous curriculum and training have imparted our graduates with resilience, adaptability, innovativeness, and industry-relevant skills to excel in today’s workplace, even in trying times,” NUS provost Ho Teck Hua said.

Similarly, 93.9% of SMU fresh graduates were employed in 2020, with 57% of them being offered permanent full-time employment before graduation. The median gross monthly salary of SMU graduates in full-time permanent employment is $3,900 in 2020, up from $3,800 in 2019.

“This affirms the recognition by employers of our holistic and multidisciplinary academic curriculum, as well as a co-curricular programme that enables our students to nurture the values and critical skills desired at the workplace,” SMU provost Timothy Clark said.

Meanwhile, NTU has noted that more than nine in 10 of its fresh graduates in the labour force were employed six months after completing their final exams. Their median gross monthly salary was also higher at $3,660 in 2020, compared to $3,500 in 2019.

“NTU graduates continue to stand out in the fiercely competitive job market locally and abroad. We know employers value our graduates for their skills and competencies, in addition to their global and industry exposure,” NTU deputy provost Tan Ooi Kiang said.

Around 11,800 fresh graduates, including those from full-time programmes at NUS, SMU, and NTU, were surveyed for the JAUGES in November 2020, about six months since the completion of their final examinations.

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