587,200 earn below $2,000: How many ‘graduate poor’?

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How many ‘graduate poor’ in the workforce?

I refer to the article “Survey findings on underemployment show S’pore’s ‘graduate poor’ earn less than $2,000 a month” (Today, Apr 11).

It states that “A survey, among the first of its kind, has revealed “worrying statistics of seriously underemployed Singaporean graduates”, in the words of a labour Member of Parliament (MP).

The survey conducted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute canvassed responses from 1,626 Singapore workers between August and November last year. It found that about 70, or 4.31 per cent, of the respondents were severely underemployed. These were degree-holders earning less than S$2,000 a month, despite holding full-time jobs.”

According to the Yearbook of Manpower Statistics 2017 – there were 587,200 employed residents with gross monthly income (including employee CPF contribution) less than $2,000.

After deducting the typical 20 per cent employee CPF contribution – does it mean that the take-home disposable income may be less than $1,600?

How many of these are graduates or PMETs?

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.