The latest graduate employment survey by Singapore's five polytechnic institutes found that the number of graduates able to find work within six months of graduation in 2020 dropped by 3 percent, and that the number who took up part-time or temporary employment increased while the number in full-time employment dropped, reflecting the difficult job market even in a country where unemployment rates have generally been lower than in much of the rest of the region.
On the bright side, salaries were apparently not greatly affected, with the median gross monthly salary for permanent employment remaining constant from 2019. A number of graduates—5.2 percent or around 750 graduates—were also apparently able to take advantage of government-subsidized traineeships under the SGUnited Traineeships Program, which had been set up last year to help fresh graduates gain job experience and improve their employability for the post-pandemic recovery. These traineeships are classified as part-time or temporary employment, lasting up to 12 months at most, but will ideally lead to permanent employment.
Clarence Ti, Principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic and a member of the committee that organized the survey, said that 2020's graduates had entered the job market in an “unprecedented time”.
“We are glad that many of our polytechnic graduates have been resilient and managed to secure a job despite the challenging times," he said. He also highlighted that despite the pandemic's disruption, graduates could still seek opportunities in less affected sectors such as healthcare and infocommunications technology, which command the highest median salary for polytechnic graduates, or emerging sectors such as cybersecurity and e-commerce.