Graduates real starting pay decreased 2% last 9 years?

(This post by Mr Leong Sze Hian first appeared on his blog on 22 February 2017. It is reproduced with permission.

Higher salaries for university graduates

I refer to the article “Higher salaries for university graduates from NUS, NTU and SMU in 2016” (Straits Times, Feb 22).

Photo:John Walker/CC BY 2.0

It states that “Median monthly salaries for university graduates last year rose to a new high of $3,360, up from $3,300 for the class of 2015.

The survey also found that about nine in 10 graduates, or 89.7 per cent, were able to find employment within six months of finishing their final examinations. The figure is similar to previous years.

Full-time jobs dropped from 83.1 to 80.2%?

However, about 80.2 per cent of the graduates in the labour force secured permanent full-time jobs, a dip from the 83.1 per cent in 2015.”

According to the Singapore Yearbook of Manpower Statistics 2014 (page H30) – the median gross monthly starting salary of university graduates in full-time permanent employment was $2,750 in 2007.

Graduates’ real starting pay declined 2% last 9 years?

Does this mean that their starting salaries increased by about 22 per cent ($3,360 divided by $2,750) in the last nine years?

Since inflation was about 24.2 per cent from 2007 (CPI 79.65) to 2016 (CPI 98.932) – does it mean that in real terms – their starting salaries declined by about -2 per cent (24 – 22%) in the last nine years?



Leong Sze Hian is the Past President of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, an alumnus of Harvard University, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow and an author of 4 books. He is frequently quoted in the media. He has also been invited to speak more than 100 times in 25 countries on 5 continents. He has served as Honorary Consul of Jamaica, Chairman of the Institute of Administrative Management, and founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Brunei and Indonesia. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional qualifications. He blogs at


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