Fresh grads costlier to hire in Singapore than in Hong Kong

Graduates at a graduation ceremony at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on July 4, 2011. Fresh graduates in Singapore expect higher salaries in their first jobs than their counterparts in Hong Kong, a new survey has found. -- ST FILE PH
Graduates at a graduation ceremony at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on July 4, 2011. Fresh graduates in Singapore expect higher salaries in their first jobs than their counterparts in Hong Kong, a new survey has found. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

SINGAPORE - Fresh graduates in Singapore expect higher salaries in their first jobs than their counterparts in Hong Kong, a new survey has found.

They are asking an average monthly pay of $3,308, compared with the $2,798 that fresh graduates in Hong Kong are expecting, said employer branding firm Universum on Tuesday.

Despite the difference in expectations, Universum's survey of over 13,000 university students also revealed that both groups are asking for lower salaries than before.

"As two of the most developed markets in Asia, most employers believe there should be greater similarities than differences among talent in Singapore and Hong Kong," said Mr Joakim Strom, managing director at Universum APAC.

Mr Strom said that local talents are mindful of other non-monetary factors when looking at career options.

Newly-minted graduates here chose "work/life balance" and "to be secure or stable in my job" as their top priorities. They are also placing a greater emphasis on "people and culture", a "friendly work environment" as well as a "dynamic work environment" when it comes to their first job, the firm noted.

But in Hong Kong, it could cost more to retain talent in the longer run as they rated remuneration and advancement opportunities as a top concern. Having a good reference for their future careers, in particular, and the potential for higher earnings were their main concerns.

"We think this could be linked to talents' heightened need for job security, due to concern over their ability to land good career opportunities amidst stiff competition in the market," said Mr Strom.