Polytechnic graduates’ real pay dropped 16%?

I refer to the article “Polytechnic graduates’ starting salaries up in 2012” (Straits Times, Jan 9).

It states that “The median gross monthly salary of post-NS graduates in full-time permanent employment was $2,253, compared to $2,100 in 2011.”

Nominal increase of only 3.8% last 5 years?

According to the same survey for 2007 (see HERE), the average gross monthly salary of fresh poly graduates was $1,805, and $2,171 for post-NS poly graduates.

So, over the last five years from 2007 to 2012, the salary increased by about 3.8 per cent or 0.7 per cent per annum.

Real increase of minus 16%?

However, inflation was 6.6, 0.6, 2.8, 5.2 and 4.7 per cent in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and September 2012 (the salaries survey is as of 1 October 2012), respectively.

So, after adjusting for inflation, their real salary increase was about minus 16 per cent over the five years, or about minus 3 per cent per annum.

Real increase for all graduates minus 12%?

As to the “Median gross monthly salary among fresh graduates in full-time permanent employment was $1,950, compared to $1,850 in 2011”, their salary in 2007 was $1,805.

So, similarly, after adjusting for inflation, I estimate their nominal and real  increase over the last five years to be about eight (1.6 % per annum) and minus 12 per cent (minus 2 % per annum), respectively.

Full-time employment dropped from 75.3 to 65.4%?

With regard to “The percentage engaged in full-time permanent employment rate was 65.4% for fresh graduates”, it is a decline from 2007 and 2011’s 75.3 and 67.0 per cent, respectively.

Employed vs full-time permanent employed?

Since “the (graduates) overall employment rate was 91.0%, compared to 92.1% in 2011, it may be interesting to have the statistics as to what is the median salary of the 91.0% who are employed, instead of just the 65.4% in full-time permanent employment.

Foreign competition?

To what extent has the S-Pass, which has a minimum salary of  $2,000 (previously $1,800), contributed to the drop in real salaries of poly graduates?

Negative real median basic wage growth for 12 years?

Using the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) statistics cited in David Wan and Ong Chin Huat’s paper “Compensation systems in Singapore” (July/August 2002) and the MOM’s Occupational Wages 2011, the median monthly basic wage for Associate Professionals & Technicians increased from $2,210 in 1999 to $2,700 in 2011. (“Workers’ rights: 12 years of near negative wage growth for almost all workers?“, Dec 9)

This is an increase of about 22 per cent in nominal terms over the 12 years or so.

After adjusting for inflation, I estimate that the increase in real terms was negative.

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.