SUTD grads match peers on pay scale

Engineering graduates' job prospects similar to those from other local varsities: Survey

It may be only four years old, but the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has produced graduates who are just as marketable as those from the more established local universities.

The first graduate employment survey released by the university yesterday showed that the gross median salary of graduates from its three engineering courses last year was $3,600. Their overall job prospects were similar to those of graduates from similar courses at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University.

SUTD provost Chong Tow Chong said graduates from some courses even commanded higher median salaries than their peers in other varsities' engineering programmes as these courses were multi-disciplinary and design-centric.

For instance, the engineering product development course covers areas like materials, mechanical and electrical engineering.

Its graduates earned a median gross salary of $3,600, more than the median $3,300 that an NTU electrical and electronic engineering graduate took home last year.

"We do not offer traditional degrees like mechanical or civil engineering degrees. This is the right choice for us... (as) the challenges that companies face today are pretty multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted," said Professor Chong.

Some 85 per cent of SUTD's 187 graduates in the labour force were employed within six months after their final examinations last year, slightly behind the 90 per cent overall employment rate for graduates from the other universities, which released their yearly survey results earlier this month.

Prof Chong attributed the lower overall employment rate to the university's small cohort, and how some graduates might have taken a gap year. Around 86 per cent of SUTD's cohort of 298 fresh graduates took part in the survey.

Established in 2012 in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and China's Zhejiang University, SUTD offers just four degree programmes, including an architecture and sustainable design course. Data from the first batch of the architecture course will be released in 2020 after graduates finish their practical training.

The university, which moved to its Changi campus in May last year, aims to boost intake to more than 400 when the new school term starts in May. Last year, it admitted a record 386 students.

Mr Joshua Cheong, 24, a cross-franchise management associate at Citibank who graduated from the information systems technology and design course last year, was glad that he joined SUTD.

"Learning design methodology enabled me to tackle abstract problems from an engineering perspective and break them down into different parts. From my social science courses, I also understood that technology adoption or development is not devoid of social interaction."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'SUTD grads match peers on pay scale'. Print Edition | Subscribe