Fresh polytechnic graduates enjoyed rosy job prospects last year, with the median gross monthly salary for those in full-time positions hitting the $2,000 mark for the first time in the last four years. This is up from $1,950 in 2012 and $1,850 in 2011.
However, the employment rate for fresh polytechnic graduates also fell to its lowest in four years. The figure dipped to 89.8 per cent last year, from 91 per cent in 2012 and 92.1 per cent the year before.
These were the findings from the annual polytechnic graduate employment survey released yesterday. Conducted by the five polytechnics between October and November last year, the survey drew responses from more than 14,000 graduates. It found that fresh graduates taking courses like Built Environment, Engineering & Maritime, and Health Sciences were the best-paid - with an average gross monthly salary of $2,144 and $2,107 respectively.
A separate survey released by universities last year found that fresh degree holders earned a median gross monthly salary of $3,050 in 2012.
Among those who landed jobs easily was Ms Lim Qin Rong, who graduated with a Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work) from Nanyang Polytechnic. She said a third of her course mates signed on with voluntary welfare organisations just a few months into starting school. The rest had their pick of multiple job offers before graduating. "We weren't worried about getting a job, it was more about finding a good match to suit our interests," said the 21-year-old, who earns $2,100 a month as a social work associate at Trans Safe Centre.
However, fewer of her peers are working, as shown by the declining employment rate. And it may be due to their own decision not to work.
Mr Josh Goh, assistant director for corporate services at recruitment firm The GMP Group, said more are taking on part-time positions while waiting to pursue degrees or deciding if the job is a right fit before committing.
Sakae Holdings founder and chairman Douglas Foo said he has seen a growing number of his employees with diplomas going on to further their studies.
He believes the survey's findings come in handy with the Government's extensive review aimed at "future-proofing" polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education.