It's a sign that employers' willingness to hire fresh graduates is rebounding: in 2021, fewer fresh grads turned to government-assisted traineeship schemes to secure jobs.
Back at the start of the pandemic the government set up the SGUnited Traineeships Programme to help fresh graduates find work in the form of temporary traineeships, with the government funding 80% of their allowances. Within one year - March 2020 to February 2021 - the programme saw around 7,500 placements of recent graduates who presumably could not secure a job otherwise. Singapore's universities produce approximately 20,000 graduates per year according to official statistics, not including those who pursue degrees overseas.
While the full numbers for 2021 have not yet been released, preliminary figures from Workforce Singapore, the statutory board in charge of administrating the scheme, indicate that the number of placements for fresh graduates dropped by over 40% last year, suggesting that these graduates have found jobs instead of turning to government assistance. According to Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng, around 11,500 fresh graduates had taken up placements through the scheme by the end of November 2021.
Singapore Business Federation CEO Lam Yi Young commented that traineeships were something of a second choice for both employers and job seekers, to fall back on in hard times. The Sunday Times reported him saying of the drop in traineeships: "Given a choice, job seekers would prefer to secure full-time jobs over traineeships. Companies that are recovering well also intend to hire employees on a full-time basis instead of onboarding trainees."