Career

How Much are Singaporean Fresh Grads Getting in Terms of Starting Salary This Year?

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Joanne Poh

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The class of 2015 is about to go out and make their mark in the world, and according to a recent report, they have high hopes. 1 in 5 local grads expects to be earning at least $4,000, and employers are crying foul, seeing as the average starting pay for graduates in 2014 was actually $2,741. The median starting pay was $3,200.

Here are the results of the 2014 Graduate Employment Survey for local graduates of bachelor degree programmes sorted by industry or major and course. Where a range is provided, the results vary according to major.

Industry/major

Course

Gross monthly salary (mean)

Gross monthly salary (median)

Accountancy

NUS

2,989

2,836

NUS (with honours)

3,407

2,912

NTU

3,003

2,840

SMU

3,420

2,875

Architecture

NUS

4,400

4,275

Arts

NUS

2,883

2,800

NUS (with honours)

3,277

3,300

NTU

2,791-3,432

2,700-3,230

Business

NUS

3,367

3,000

NUS (with honours)

4,090

3,520

NTU

3,318

3,100

SMU

3,752

3,333

Communication studies

NTU

2,976

3,000

Computing

NUS

3,000-3,500

3,088-3,500

Dentistry

NUS

4,054

4,000

Economics

NTU

3,222

3,220

SMU

3,645

3,500

Education

NTU

3,475

3,475

Engineering

NUS

3,058-3,719

3,000-3,600

NTU

3,111-3,911

3,000-3,770

Information systems

SMU

3,530

3,350

Law

NUS

5,247

5,150

SMU

5,332

5,025

Medicine

NUS

4,886

5,000

Pharmacy

NUS

3,670

3,630

Science

NUS

2,831-3,328

2,800-3,210

Social sciences

NUS

3,304

3,250

NTU

3,143-3,228

3,100-3,200

SMU

3,166

3,000

 

NUS and SMU grads earn more than NTU grads in the same course

Based on the results, it appears that in terms of salary, NUS and SMU lead the pack, with NUS having a slight edge in industries like law and social sciences. SMU performs more strongly in economics.

On the other hand, NUS and SMU grads consistently earn a higher starting salary than NTU grads. It should be noted that in engineering there was a great deal of variation depending on one’s major, and NTU’s highest earning engineering grads were in the aerospace field. NUS does not conduct an aerospace engineering course.

 

Graduates with professional and business degrees earn the most

Unsurprisingly, the top earners were professionals from protected industries—law, medicine and dentistry. Architecture and business grads also did well. In general, these degrees have particularly stringent entry requirements, reinforcing the stereotype that you’ve got to study hard to earn big bucks here.

 

Graduating with honours does matter

Students who graduated with honours degree had a distinct advantage salary-wise over their classmates from the same course who did not graduate with honours. For instance, NUS arts graduates with honours degrees earned an average of $394 more per month than their counterparts who graduated without honours.

Do you have any advice for graduates in the class of 2015? Share your pearls of wisdom in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

  • malt

    Hi Joanne,
    Thanks for the article.
    However, where do you get yr stats from? It’s grossly out of scale for architecture grads. Our starting pay is much less than the $4400 you mentioned in your article. Even if you include employers cpf contribution and bonuses. I’m in touch with my fellow alumni and hardly anyone, if anyone at all, draws such a high salary. Please clarify how you have arrived at the figure of $4400, I’m genuinely interested. Thanks!

    • xi

      was perplexed too, after some googling, heres what i found.

      source of stats:
      http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/post-secondary/files/ges-nus.pdf

      read note 6:
      Data on law, medical and pharmacy graduates are obtained from a follow-up survey on 2013 graduates after they have
      completed their 1-year practical law course/pupillage/housemanship.
      Data on architecture graduates are obtained from a
      follow-up survey on 2011 architecture graduates after they have completed their practical training.

      • malt

        Perhaps then you should clarify on your post… As you have mentioned, these are based on follow-up surveys on 2013 and 2011 graduates….it’s 2015 now. So your figures do not represent “fresh grad” salaries. The “practical training” period varies from 6 months to 4 years depending on profession (law, medicine, dentistry, architecture, engineering), so your blog post indicating “fresh grads” salaries is very misleading.

  • Dennis Wong

    yup, fresh grad from medicine (houseman) earn $3600, with maybe with a top up of 400-500 with on call pay. however they work unearthly hours, some clocked up to 100hrs/week