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Education, Singapore

Jacqueline Woo
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Education, Singapore

Will a degree still spell good pay?

Jacqueline Woo | Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Recruitment firms said that, with more graduates joining the workforce, "downward pressure" on salaries is likely to set in.

SINGAPORE - Prospective graduates in Singapore could see their salaries take a hit in time to come, as competition for entry-level roles here is poised to stiffen.

Singapore is set to churn out more degree holders, with 40 per cent of the cohort expected to participate in local universities by 2020. Many will also pursue private or overseas degrees.

This year, the Government is already providing 30 per cent of the cohort with places at publicly funded universities, up 1,000 from the 13,000 places available in 2012.

Most of these additional places come from the Singapore Institute of Technology and the new full-time degree programmes at UniSIM.

In March, Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin had flagged the potential problem of a graduate glut here, where there are too many graduates who cannot find good enough jobs.

Recruitment firms told My Paper that, with more graduates joining the workforce, "downward pressure" on salaries is likely to set in.

Mark Hall, vice-president and country manager of Kelly Services, explained: "Companies (will) have a larger talent pool to select from, and this translates to a more competitive graduate job market."

Jaya Dass, associate director of Randstad Singapore, noted that, already, there is an expectation gap among graduates here when it comes to starting salaries.

The Universum Top 100 Ideal Employers 2014 survey found that undergraduates in Singapore expect to be paid $3,308 on average each month. This is higher than the average monthly salary of $3,229 that fresh graduates actually draw, according to a separate graduate employment survey.

The gap could widen when almost half the cohort is armed with a degree.

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