ITE starting pay: 1999 $1,500, 2007 $1,200, 2017 $1,700?

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ITE graduates’ (non post-NS) real starting salaries have decreased by -22% in 18 years?

I refer to the article “ITE grads find doors to good jobs opening wider” (Sep 3, Straits Times).

It states that “The survey tracked 3,500 ITE students who graduated in 2007 – 10 years after they completed their certificate courses. It showed that their median monthly salary last year was $3,000 a month.”

As to “This is more than double their starting median salary of $1,200 when they left the ITE in 2007” – according to the ITE’s own statistics (based on the July 1999 survey) – the starting salary in 1999 was $1,500.

So, how is it possible for the subject Straits Times article to say that the “starting median salary (was) $1,200 when they left the ITE in 2007”?

Does it mean that the starting salary dropped by 20 per cent, in the eight years, from $1,500 in 1999 to $1,200 in 2007?

According to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Yearbook of Manpower Statistics 2018

ITE starting salary $1,700 in 2017?

the median gross monthly starting salary of ITE graduates (Higher Nitec (Engineering)) in full-time permanent employment was $1,700 in 2017.

ITE starting salary $1,500 in 1999?

Since the starting salary in 1999 was $1,500 – does it mean that the increase over the 18 years, from 1999 to 2017, was only about 13 per cent ($1,700 divided by $1,500)?

Certification Level

Starting Salaries
( Based on July 1999 survey )

Higher Nitec in engineering courses


Higher Nitec in business courses


Nitec in technical courses


Nitec in Office Skills


(Source: ITE)

Real starting pay down (-22%) last 18 years?

Since inflation was about 35 per cent from 1999 (CPI 73.814) to 2017 (CPI 99.5) – does it mean that the real increase was about minus 22 per cent or about minus 1.2 per cent per annum?

Since the proportion (%) of ITE Higher Nitec graduates in full-time permanent employment was only 46.9 per cent in 2017 and for Nitec (Engineering) – it was only 33.5 per cent – how do we reconcile the apparently conflicting statistics, vis-a-vis the “propaganda” that ITE graduates are doing well and have good salaries?

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.