Do all graduates in Singapore find employment after graduation? Read on

Employment opportunities in a country for graduates is a very important statistic that shows how a country is doing. If a country is not able to provide employment opportunities to its own people, then there are fundamental problems. Problems such as not enough companies cropping up that provides job opportunities and not enough tax paying citizens which affects the economy of the country.

Many reports have suggested that 89% of students who graduate get employed. With law, medicine, IT and business degrees getting most of the jobs.

The average salary that is earned is also pegged at $3,400 which is $100 more than the year 2016. The report also suggested that freelance employment has picked up and those jobs earn more than the median salary.

If all this is true, then the employment opportunities for graduates are looking great. But this isn’t true.

Numbers can be fudged in any way to make things look rosy. Accountants and business folk and governments have been manipulating numbers for centuries to show a much more better situation than reality.

So what do the employment rates tell us?


  1. The Ministry of Manpower release regular data. They say the Unemployment rate is around 3%

This is itself does not seem bad, but it doesn’t cover the entire gamut of unemployed folk because, people who don’t have work experience aren’t covered in this number. Now, most graduates are too young to have work experience and they aren’t included in these figures.

Technically you are unemployed, if you have the necessary qualifications, if you are of legal age (Above 18) and if you don’t have a job. But the MOM only considers those who have work experience and don’t have jobs as unemployed.

  1. Incomplete Surveys

So how are all these numbers arrived at? By using surveys. Questionnaires are sent out by teams who reach out to graduates and find out if they are employed or not. When these surveys are conducted, not all people respond.

Some non-response percentages are big. For example, NUS had a non-response rate of 20% and SMU had 22.4%. These are large percentages. There is no assumption made for non-response and they are cut out of the picture.

  1. The Surveys Include Students on Scholarships

NIE Graduates from from NTU generally have a 100% employment rate and that is by default. SAF regulars on scholarships also have a job right after graduation. These numbers shouldn’t be considered in the employment rate because they are pre-decided.


This increases the percentage of employment rate by a bit.

Read also: Advice from the most successful Shark Tank investor – Mr Wonderful

  1. All courses are not made equal

Another number that can really hurt graduates is the fact that not all courses have the same employment rate. For example, undergraduate courses in Dental Surgery and Medicine has a 100% employment rate. These are some of the most sought after courses.

On the other side, courses such as Bachelor of Arts have an employment rate of 61%. This is understandable because the practical applications from an Arts course are minimal. Students need to pick up other skills to get a job after these courses.

Even specific courses like Biology and Chemistry have just a 50% employment rate. So if all students are looking at the 80% employment rate, then some are bound to get a shock because that’s not the reality. So when reporting these numbers, it’s better to show the individual numbers, instead of just a collective average.


  1. Underemployment

Have you ever met somebody too smart for their job? Kind of like Matt Damon in the movie Good Will Hunting.

This is actually a crisis in Singapore. Graduates who don’t get a job immediately after graduation join clerical and administrative jobs that’s well below their pay grade and also their capabilities. Say a doctor had to get a job as a receptionist to make ends meet. That is the situation.

These numbers are also not included in the Unemployment rate. These graduates are not where they are supposed to be financially and career wise.


The Reality Check

So when graduate students come out to the world seeing statistics like the ones above, they think life is going to be smooth and that they are going to get a job and be contributing members of society. Wait till you read this article about 47% of Private School Graduates found a job within 6 months…which will send shivers.

The reality is different. Now that you understand this. It’s time to change things.

Read about: How to create WEALTH from NOTHING

How to improve the odds of getting a job.

  1. Get Work Experience, Early.

Having a resume of work experience while in college improves your prospects of employment. Generally companies don’t trust graduates because they don’t have the ability to focus and and sometimes don’t have the temperament to work.

When you resume boasts of work experience, it validates your ability to work. As simple as that. Companies will know that you can be a contributing member of the company.

  1. Pickup Skills.

Skills like using excel and preparing presentations might seem rudimentary. But they are very sought after in the corporate world. You are expected to know your Office suite tools. So find out the tools you need to succeed in your industry and work with them, become moderate experts in each of those tools and don’t mention it in your resume, but speak about what you can do in each tool. For example “Can work with Macros on Excel”

Read about: Best Stock Market Trading Programmes and Workshops in Singapore

  1. Learn to Freelance

To be good at getting a job, you’ll need to be a hustler these days. While in university look for freelancing opportunities on online platforms. The best part about freelancing is, you can work with companies from anywhere in the world and you can choose to work with companies in countries that pay competitively. Freelancing also makes you professional, you understand the value of delivering in time and delivering quality work.


This also gives you a buffer when after graduating you don’t get a job immediately, you can freelance till you find a job or you can freelance comfortably and make money.

Read about: Salary increment for Job Hopping in Singapore: A Reality Check