University graduates’ pay only $2,250?

(This post by Mr Leong Sze Hian first appeared on his blog on 2 November 2017. It is reproduced with permission.

Isn’t graduates’ salary of $2,250 kind of low?

I refer to the article “SIT grads better paid, but more working part-time” (Straits Times, Oct 15).

It states that “But the number of graduates working part-time has also climbed to 12 per cent, compared with 7.6 per cent a year ago.

SIT asked if they had opted for part-time positions over full-time jobs and found that only 5.5 per cent of them had chosen to do so.”

Does this mean that 84.5 per cent of those in part-time jobs did so because they couldn’t find a full-time job?

Or does it mean that 5.5 of the 12 per cent or almost half of them chose to work part-time?

Other universities are showing this trend as well.

In a joint graduate employment survey released in February by Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University, 9.5 per cent of their graduates were working part-time last year, compared with 6.4 per cent in 2015.

Like SIT, nearly 90 per cent of the graduates of the three universities found work within six months of finishing their examinations.”

As to “Some SIT grads had opted for part-time work, including over 17 per cent of the food business management graduates with degrees from The Culinary Institute of America” – according to the Graduate Employment Survey – their full-time permanent employment rate was only 69 per cent, and the median basic salary was only $2,250.

Isn’t this a very low salary for a university graduate?

With regard to “The survey also found a higher number of part-timers among graduates from SIT’s communications design and interior design course” – the Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Communication Design’s full-time permanent employment rate was only 59.9 per cent, and the median basic salary was only $2,600.

Isn’t this a very low full-time permanent employment rate?

“Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said in March that there were about 200,000 freelancers here last year – about 9 per cent of resident employment. Of these, about 167,000 workers were “primary” freelancers, such as insurance agents and private-hire car drivers, who freelance as their main job.”

Leong Sze Hian



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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