Singapore has seen a recent increase in university graduates. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but now more qualified people are competing for the same limited number of jobs.
As more universities appeared in Singapore and the number of students increased, the percentage of graduates who got full-time employment has decreased, at first.
It’s important to note that the number of graduates who managed to secure employment remained virtually the same, or even increased a little, though the end percentages plummeted.
But what does this mean for you? How can you adapt to this situation? Read on to find out.
Challenges arise from false expectations, which is why you need to be very aware of the situations you’ll face after graduating.
The salary you want might not match the one you expect. Although the median monthly pay had increased in 2018 to $3500 from $3400 in 2017, it still doesn’t compare to the salary guide.
A salary guide may lead you to believe that you will earn $10,000 every month, but about 20% of fresh grads don’t get full-time jobs that guarantee them this income.
The discrepancy in salary occurs because of a higher demand for qualified jobs, compared to the same offer of jobs. As a result, companies feel they can pay less because there’s more competition.
Law and medicine grads earn a medium of $5,000 per month – the highest medium salary in Singapore. They are followed by architecture, tech and dentistry grads with $4000/ month. In turn, music grads earned a medium salary of $1,800 in 2018, down from $3,250 in 2016.
Of course, young people should choose the sector they want to enter according to their interests and abilities. But, if you’re not sure what you’re good at, or what you want to do after you graduate, take these median monthly incomes into account before settling on a career path.
Some students might believe that their academic results equal expertize, and so they will be valued according to their grades. Although getting good grades in school shows self-discipline and intelligence, it’s not the sole measure of qualification.
Studies show that average students get better employment once they get into the workforce. That stems from different reasons.
Firstly, average students don’t have high expectations based on their grades. Secondly, they probably spent more time following particular interests, networking or working part-time.
Besides, thinking that once you graduate, you’re as qualified as someone who has already been working for some time is unrealistic.
Luckily, there are some solutions to overcome these difficulties. The important thing is to remember that most of your problems are caused by false expectations.
Recently, internships are compulsory requirements for students who want to graduate. This is a definite advantage because, according to the universities’ research, this explains why the percentage of hired graduates has seen an increase in 2018.
Data shows that more than a third of fresh accounting grads from SUSS, along with business and computing grads from the NTU Nanyang Business School received job offers from companies where they secured internships.
Thanks to compulsory internships, 50% of SMU graduates received job offers.
These are encouraging statistics, showing you that a good internship increases the likelihood of landing a full-time job after university. To further increase your chances and gain more work experience, you can get a part-time job or freelance in your sector.
It’s common for some fresh grads to receive full-time work at their parents’ companies, even if they didn’t have remarkable achievements during their university studies. This is called networking.
But how can you rub elbows with top dogs at companies you want to work for if you don’t know anyone there?
Internships and voluntary work can help you meet key people at good companies. Brush off your LinkedIn profile and connect with people who can recommend you, to improve your network and meet new people.
If you are a web designer, artist or musician, working as a freelancer helps. You can create an online portfolio with your works so other people can see what you can do. You can also ask your former clients to recommend you to their colleagues or to write you reviews.
Self-education entails various things, but they all start with finding and focusing on a particular topic you’re passionate about. This single-mindedness will help differentiate yourself from your peers because they will have general knowledge in the area you studied, while you will have expert knowledge in a particular niche.
For instance, you can get a scholarship abroad to study a certain topic from your area of studies, or to learn a foreign language like Portuguese or Mandarin.
You can do your research too, apart from the recommended read-list. From books, magazines, online journals and newspapers to video tutorials, including free or paid courses from top universities in the world like Stanford, the world is your oyster.
Decide what your goals are and make a plan to get there. Self-education enables you to get valuable certifications in key areas that count more towards securing employment than good grades.
You should always work on your skills, whether these are technical, job-related abilities or soft skills. You can exercise technical skills by working during your university years, whether that’s freelancing, voluntary work or internships.
Even a job that’s not in your sector, for instance, babysitting or bartending, can help you acquire essential soft skills like determination, patience, or an entrepreneurial mindset.
But how can these skills help you find full-time work if you don’t have much work experience? When you write your CV, underline all these particular skills and abilities in a special section. Emphasize for each of them how they can turn you into a better employee, and why they set you apart from other candidates.
It’s important to understand the realities of the Singapore workforce and to adapt your expectations accordingly. It’s also important to understand how employers think and what they look for in new employees. That way, you can work the necessary steps to land your dream job!
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