New poly grads outdo their seniors

Last year's poly grads, some from Republic Polytechnic seen here on graduation day last year, had better employment rates and salaries as compared with poly grads from the year before, according to the findngs of the annual graduate employment survey
Last year's poly grads, some from Republic Polytechnic seen here on graduation day last year, had better employment rates and salaries as compared with poly grads from the year before, according to the findngs of the annual graduate employment survey.ST FILE PHOTO

Polytechnic graduates from last year's cohort have outperformed their seniors when it comes to pay and employment rate.

Fresh poly graduates had an employment rate of 90.6 per cent last year, up from 88.9 per cent in 2015. Those who landed full-time jobs enjoyed a median pay of $2,180, up 3.8 per cent from $2,100 in 2015.

These were the findings of the latest annual graduate employment survey by the five polytechnics released yesterday.

However, more polytechnic graduates may be finding it harder to land full-time employment or prefer to work part-time while pursuing or waiting to start further studies. Those with full-time jobs fell from 57.9 per cent for the class of 2015 to 55.8 per cent for those graduating last year, continuing a downward trend for at least three years in a row.

Meanwhile, those taking up part-time or temporary employment rose from 31 per cent in 2015 to 34.8 per cent last year.

A joint polytechnic spokesman said: "Employment rates are affected by various factors, and it is reasonable to expect some fluctuations from year to year. The increase in overall employment rate shows our graduates continue to be sought after by their respective industries."

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The survey polled 10,541 of the 14,004 fresh polytechnic graduates. They were asked about their employment status as at Oct 1 last year - about six months after their final exams.

Also surveyed were 5,106 of the 9,212 graduates from 2013 who completed their full-time national service (NS) between April 1, 2015 and March 31 last year.

About 95 per cent of them had found employment - 3.9 per cent higher than in 2015. Of these, 70.2 per cent had full-time jobs while 25.2 per cent were on part-time, temporary or freelance ones.

The survey also found that fresh graduates and post-NS graduates from the Health Sciences category had the highest median gross monthly pay in their respective cohorts - $2,400 and $2,800 respectively.

Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) graduate Lee Hong Xuan, 20, received a job offer from architecture firm Woha several months before graduating last May.

Ms Lee, who had interned at Woha during her third year in poly, is now a project coordinator at the firm with a monthly pay of $2,700.

She plans to study architecture at the National University of Singapore in about two years.

On her decision to get some industry experience first, she said: "In design, it's not just about textbooks."

Fellow NYP alumnus Seah Guang Yong, 27, who studied Multimedia and Infocomm Technology, is now an IT administrator at Commerzbank. He got the job a month before graduation.

Mr Seah, who draws a monthly salary within the range of $3,000 and $3,300, recalls the time spent scouring through the classified ads and JobStreet.com. "I sent a lot of resumes," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'New poly grads outdo their seniors'. Print Edition | Subscribe