Graduates’ real starting salaries minus 0.4% p.a. last 6 years?

I refer to the article “Over 90% of fresh grads from 2012 cohort employed” (Channel NewsAsia, Mar 22).

Salary increased?

It states that “The median gross monthly salary for those in full-time permanent employment was S$3,050.

The mean gross monthly salary for this group was S$3,260.”

$2,700 in 2006?

According to Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) ClassAct Issue 51, June 2007, “NTU graduates from the Class of 2006” had “a mean gross monthly salary of $2,700”.

In this connection, according to, “ (said) this is higher than both NUS and SMU“.

Salary grew 3.2%?

This means that starting salaries for NTU grew by about 3.2 per cent per annum, from 2006 to 2012.

Real salary minus 0.4%?

Since inflation was about 3,6 per cent per annum for the same 6-year period from 2006 (CPI 91.3) to 2012 (CPI 113.1), does it mean that the real increase in salaries per annum was about minus 0.4 per cent?

Median worse than mean?

Since my above calculations are based on the mean salaries because I cannot find the data on the median salaries in 2006, is the real growth in the median salaries even worse than the mean salaries?

Real median salary increase – 2.9%?

As those who landed full-time permanent jobs last year earned a median gross monthly salary of $3,050 – up from $3,000 in 2011, which is an increase of 1.7 per cent – after adjusting for inflation of about 4.6 per cent last year, the real salary increase is about minus 2.9 per cent last year.

Now have median and mean salaries, but only mean in the past?

Why is it that media reports now report both the median and mean salaries now, but only the mean salaries in the past?

Was it because the Graduate Employment Survey reports only reported the mean in some of the previous years?

Polytechnic graduates negative real increase was worse?

In this connection, it would appear that the negative real increase in university graduates’ salaries, is not as bad as that for polytechnic graduates. (“Polytechnic graduates’ real pay dropped 16%?“, Jan 10)

Foreign workers?

To what extent has the liberal issuance of Employment passes which have a minimum salary of  $3,200 (previously $2,800) and the S-Pass which has a minimum salary of  $2,200 (previously $1,800), contributed to the drop in real salary growth of both university and poly graduates?

Graduate Employment Survey should report real salaries?

I would like to suggest that the annual Graduate Employment Survey report the starting salaries of graduates in real terms too, instead of just the nominal increase.

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.