JOB prospects and salaries for fresh polytechnic graduates remained good last year, but more are working part-time or on a temporary basis, according to an annual job survey.

The employment rate for fresh polytechnic graduates was 89.2 per cent compared with 89.8 per cent in 2013. The median monthly salary was also similar to that the year before, at $2,000, based on the survey results released yesterday.

But the percentage of those with full-time, permanent jobs fell - from 62.7 per cent in 2013 to 59.4 per cent last year.

Instead, a higher proportion of both fresh and post-national service graduates are taking up part-time or temporary jobs.

But this is no cause for worry, say recruitment experts.

In a statement yesterday, the polytechnics said those in part- time or temporary jobs indicated they were pursuing or preparing to commence further studies.

Despite the Government's push to get school leavers to focus on building up their skills, most are bent on furthering their studies, said Mr Josh Goh, head of marketing and corporate communications at recruitment firm ManpowerGroup. "They all want a degree and want it immediately after completing their polytechnic studies," he said.

Those who can afford to go overseas do so, while others apply to local universities or private schools. They work for the few months before they enter university. If they are in a private school, they work part-time, Mr Goh said.

Some also take on temporary jobs while they search for their dream job, he added. "Some of them are not quite sure what they want to do, so they try out jobs. And some can't get their dream job or into the firm they want to work for immediately. So, meanwhile, they take on a temporary position."

Temasek Polytechnic business graduate Samantha Lee, 20, took on a temporary job as an administrative executive before she entered the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) to study for a business degree.

"I did think about going out to work first, but I found it hard to find a job that I really liked. So I thought I might as well go and get my degree first," Ms Lee said, adding she needed the job to help pay for her fees at SIM.

The survey also compared the pay levels of graduates across different courses. It found that fresh graduates taking courses like built environment, engineering and maritime, and health sciences were the best-paid.

Fresh graduates from the health sciences courses - which include physio- and occupational therapy - earned on average $2,204 a month, while those from the built environment, engineering and maritime courses earned $2,220 a month.

The survey was conducted between Oct 1 and Dec 8 and drew about 15,300 respondents.

The employment rate for post-NS graduates fell slightly to 92.4 per cent last year, but their median monthly salary rose 6.7 per cent to $2,400 from 2013 to last year.

A higher proportion of both fresh and post-NS polytechnic graduates are doing part-time or temporary jobs. For new graduates, the figure went up from 27.1 per cent in 2013 to 29.8 per cent last year.

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