THE starting pay for polytechnic graduates has gone up last year, according to the latest graduate employment survey jointly conducted by Singapore's five polytechnics.

The annual survey, which was conducted in October and November last year, involved 14,329 people - 9,982 of them fresh graduates, with the remaining 4,347 being those who joined the workforce after completing their National Service (NS). The findings were made public yesterday.

Fresh graduates in full-time permanent employment earned a median gross monthly salary of $1,950 last year, up from $1,850 in 2011.

As for post-NS graduates, they are earning a median gross monthly salary of $2,253, up from $2,100 in 2011.

In a joint press release yesterday, the five polytechnics - Singapore, Ngee Ann, Republic, Temasek and Nanyang - said the higher starting salaries of graduates "attest to the strong value of a polytechnic education, and show how employers continue to appreciate skilled polytechnic graduates".

But while starting salaries went up, the overall employment rate dipped slightly for both groups.

The survey found that about 91 per cent of fresh graduates found work last year, down a touch from 92.1 per cent in 2011. As for post-NS graduates, 93.1 per cent were employed last year, down from 94.7 per cent in 2011.

Nanyang Polytechnic registrar T Thambyrajah said the change in employment rate could be a year-on-year fluctuation, with no significant trend indicated over the last three years for fresh graduates.

"Despite the small decrease from 2011, overall employment rates for both fresh graduates and post-NS Graduates are at very healthy levels of more than 90 per cent. This indicates that polytechnic graduates are highly sought after by the industry," he told BT.

Among the fresh graduates in full-time permanent employment, those enjoying the highest median gross salaries came from Health Sciences ($2,000) and Built Environment, Engineering and Maritime ($2,000).

For the post-NS group in full-time permanent jobs, the categories that commanded the highest median gross salaries are Health Sciences ($2,429); Business, Management, Design and Others ($2,400); and Built Environment, Engineering and Maritime ($2,300).