Photo of university graduates from Straits Times

According to the latest Joint Graduate Employment survey conducted by NUS, NTU, SIT, SMU and SUTD, 21.6% of the graduates were unable to find a full time job in 2017. The figure is higher than the 20.1% than a year before in 2016. Despite being ranked among the best in Asia and the world, 10.6% of the 2017 cohort have to work freelance or part-time.

Even the prestigious Yale-NUS school saw a 6.7% unemployment rate.

State media Straits Times defended the jobless rate by quoting fake “human resource experts”. A David Leong from a recruitment agency said that many graduates prefer to further their education or go for a long “overdue” holiday before working. A Ronald Lee from another recruitment agency said freelance and contract workers are well paid.

Graphic from CNA

The government survey was conducted in Nov 2017, and polled 11,628 graduates in full-time courses. However, the statistics exclude part-time students and there is no breakdown on the nationality of the graduates – many of whom are ASEAN scholars on fully-sponsored scholarship by the Singapore government.

The median monthly salary including CPF is S$3,400, S$100 higher than a year before. Graduates from business, economics and computing reported higher wage increases, with engineering graduates forming the bottom percentile.