Graduates' Starting Salaries Dropped 60% In 15 Years?

By Win Battles Lose War

Some jobs in hot demand

According to the Straits Times news report “Hard skills in hot demand next year” (Dec 16) – “Restrictions on foreign labour, as well as the slowing supply of skilled graduates in engineering, are contributing to the rising demand for those with the right skills for the job.

Engineers, for example, are particularly difficult to recruit, as not enough students are choosing to study engineering in university.”

Starting pay only $2,500

The table in the news article says that the lowest starting salaries for various jobs range from $2,500 to $3,300. You can see that all these jobs normally require a degree.

In hot demand, but pay so low?

If engineers are in such hot demand and short supply – why is it that their lowest starting salary is only $3,300?

Similarly, why is it only $2,800 for accountants and project finance managers, and just $2,500 for digital marketing specialists?

As much as 60% real pay decrease in 15 years?

According to a Straits Times news report (April 27, 2013) – “In 2007, the median monthly gross starting pay for a local university graduate was $2,750, meaning that half of them earned at least that. Last year, it was $3,050, up almost 11 per cent.

Yet cumulative inflation over the same period was 21 per cent – meaning that in real terms, starting pay actually fell 10 per cent (over the five years).”

I have been told that the starting pay around 1998 was about $3,000. If this is correct, then after adjusting for inflation – it has not increased in the last 15 years or so.

Since inflation was 33 per cent from 1998 to 2013 – in real terms – pay has decreased by 33 per cent. And if you take the lowest starting salary of $2,500 cited in the news report – pay has decreased by 60 per cent.

This was reproduced with permission from editors of The Real Singapore.


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