Graduate Employment Surveys (published 2009)


If you believe the annual graduate employment survey reports (I don’t quite), here are the rankings for the class of 2008:

Permanent Employment Rate

  1. NTU Arts (with Education) – 100%
  2. NTU Maritime Studies – 100%
  3. NTU Science (with Education) – 100%
  4. NUS Dental Surgery – 100%
  5. NUS Information Systems – 100%
  6. SMU Information Systems Management (cum laude and above) – 100%
  7. SMU Economics (cum laude and above) – 98.3%
  8. SMU Economics – 97.5%
  9. NUS Business Administration (3-year programme) – 95.9%
  10. NTU Accountancy (3-year programme) – 95.7%
  11. NUS Business Administration (Honours) – 93.9%
  12. SMU Accountancy (4-year programme) – 93.9%
  13. NTU Civil Engineering – 93.5%
  14. SMU Accountancy (cum laude and above) – 93.4%
  15. NTU Computer Science – 92.3%
  16. SMU Information Systems Management – 91.9%
  17. NUS Computer Engineering (Faculty of Engineering) – 91.0%
  18. NTU Economics/Economics (Honours) – 90.5%
  19. NUS Computer Engineering (School of Computing) – 90.5%
  20. NUS Bioengineering – 90.3%

Median Gross Monthly Salary

  1. SMU Economics (cum laude and above) – $3750
  2. SMU Information Systems Management (cum laude and above) – $3500
  3. NUS Dental Surgery – $3400
  4. SMU Economics – $3300
  5. NUS Business Administration (Honours) – $3274
  6. NTU Science (with Education) – $3186
  7. NTU Arts (with Education) – $3144
  8. NUS Computer Engineering (School of Computing) – $3100
  9. NTU Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering – $3094
  10. NTU Computer Engineering – $3021
  11. NTU Maritime Studies – $3021
  12. NUS Chemical Engineering – $3000
  13. NUS Computer Engineering (Faculty of Engineering) – $3000
  14. NUS Information Systems – $3000
  15. SMU Business Management (cum laude and above) – $3000
  16. SMU Information Systems Management – $3000
  17. SMU Social Sciences (cum laude and above) – $3000
  18. NTU Electrical & Electronics Engineering – $2960
  19. NTU Mechanical Engineering – $2942
  20. NTU Economics/Economics (Honours) – $2940

The Dumping Grounds by Employability

  1. NTU Environmental Engineering – 77.0%
  2. NTU Biological Sciences (Honours) – 77.9%
  3. NUS Science – 78.3%
  4. NUS Environmental Engineering – 79.3%
  5. NUS Arts (Honours) – 79.8%
  6. NUS Applied Science (Honours) – 80.0%
  7. SMU Social Sciences (cum laude and above) – 80.0%
  8. NTU Materials Engineering – 80.7%
  9. NUS Chemical Engineering – 82.0%
  10. NTU Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering – 83.0%

The Dumping Grounds by Starting Pay (Gross Monthly)

  1. SMU Accountancy (4-year programme) – $2400*
  2. NUS Applied Science – $2450
  3. NTU Accountancy (3-year programme) – $2468*
  4. NUS Industrial Design – $2500
  5. SMU Accountancy (cum laude and above) – $2500*
  6. NUS Science – $2600
  7. NUS Business Administration (3-year programme) – $2700
  8. NUS Environmental Engineering – $2700
  9. NTU Communication Studies (Honours) – $2733
  10. NTU Business (3-year programme) – $2746

* people may argue that accountancy grads have promising careers.

Reference: Ministry of Education page on Post-Secondary Education, with links to the 3 GES.


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  1. omg,
    >>NTU Biological Sciences (Honours) – 77.9%
    can’t they go wash test tubes in the life sciences industry?

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  5. hahaha the accountancy graduates earn even less than graduates from well known dumping grounds of local U- NUS science and NTU engineering!!

  6. Blameitonfate on

    ALL the Universities want to do is to psycho you into thinking that they have the best students with the highest paid graduates. This is called MARKETING.

    Then again, you can’t really blame them cos the truth is humans live self-fullfilling lies. Yes lies. We put up the lies, and we go about trying to fulfil it.

    The statistics are ALWAYS biased. They perform very focused sampling, but they call it grab sampling. That is, they pick from the best student groups and then say they are representative of the entire cohort.

    Then again, it has its pros and cons. Its one good way to keep the economy from slumping into ‘depression’.

  7. Out of the 10,000 accountancy graduates yearly, less than 5 will become partners? There are only 3 large auditing firms based here. The rest are smallish local ones. The road to partnership, of which most do not reach is also mediocre in remuneration- along which they earn even less than creative professionals like PR and marketing.

  8. And it’s so not a recession proof career, if you have a macroscopic view of HR of Singapore. A lot of accountancy students after CMI/fail the auditing route (of which they get a meagre starting salary), go the finance route- work as finance executive (promote to finance manage if can make it) which is the management of money of a company. When companies (SMEs) close down or move out of SG (foreign) in a recession, out their jobs go. Recession proof job is teacher, pastor, police, soldier.

    By the way. A lot of NTU accountancy and NTU communication studies graduate to become insurance agents with Prudential and AIA.

  9. We should look beyond starting salaries. If you say there are only 3 large auditing firms based here, I don’t think you know the profession. There are 4.

    The annual increments for accountancy grads in a Big 4 are between $500-$1000. And these increments/promotion are almost guaranteed for at least the first 5 years. After 6 years, they should be earning almost $7k. No need to job hop.

    There have not been retrenchments, even for the poor performers. The worst are ‘asked to leave’. I’ve seen a few of these who did not leave and can still get increments of $100-$200 per year.

    That’s not a bad deal you know?

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  12. Of cos I know the business. I counted three because old timers like me never considered Deloitte to be one of the big boys, up till today unlike youngsters.

    The annual increment is year on year? And ALL auditors get annual increment year on year? Ask again. Their base salary starts out over $1k lower than other farmer graduates. The increment doesn’t mean much. $100 increment for poor performers from such a low base is very very bad. Even a $500 increment doesn’t mean as much because the starting pay is very bad. There’re many other jobs that give you $500 annual increment from a much higher base.

    I know many accountants who continued in the finance route, became finance managers after 10 years only earning $5k. A 35 year old finance manager I know is drawing only $5k+ and she’s not alone.

    If accounting is so attractive, there won’t be such huge numbers of local accountancy graduates applying to be insurance agents with AIA and Prudential. The next time in Orchard or Raffles you see them at their road show hawking insurance, ask them where they come from.

    Recession proof is definitely false. The info you gave above is only for auditors. “Asked to leave” = fire. I know of many auditors who were asked to leave/fired. There’s only no retrenchment because auditors are recruited in huge numbers, paid very low wages and are worked to the bone. No need for retrenchment.

    Like I said earlier, accountancy graduates either become auditors or finance executives. The latter depend on how many companies are alive to hire a money counter. It’s one of the last few jobs anyone would describe as recession proof.

    I assure you I know over 20 finance managers who were fired in the few years. I have listed a slew of recession proof jobs above. Healthcare is another one you can list to the list of what is RECESSION PROOF.

  13. I agreed lol Says’ saying…. Accounting isn’t a fun n well-paid jobs… Everyday, u get shit from all over the places… U start as an Associate level n work your ass up to Partner level… Yup… in btw, how many can make it to Partner level?? In EY or PWC, there are slightly abt 100+ junior n senior partners in each big firm…. But look @ the mid-size firms, there r ard 9 partners to ard 20 or 30 partners (based on my previous experience in a mid-sized Audit firm), the increment isn’t that great… my 1st increment cum promotion was $200 only
    then subsequent year, got promoted to Senior, but increment was a mere $300… So to compare against the Big 4, the Mid 4 still got alot to catch up… Yet when everytime, I saw the charging fees to clients, u feel damn bloody rip off by the partners in the firm, as per hour is from $90 to $650 charged to clients depending on the seniority of the Auditor… Thus imagine the Partners drawing a gd year end bonus cum profit-taking… u feel what u get is just peanuts… But there r people like me… Who rather work for 4-5 years in Auditing, so that when I get enough of Audit exposure, I can jump to my dream job, M&A, to achieve my goals from there on… But in real life, even M&A is not getting any better these days…. It used to be a glamourous job… but now… it is not as well-paid as back in 2005… Haha… But 1 thing is for sure, Accounting is a job which is required in almost all sectors… thus it depends on how outstanding u r…..

  14. Traditionally, only the smartest can go study law, medicine and engineering. What about today?

    Anyway, chemical engineers certainly should command a much higher premium than what they’re getting now.

  15. NTU Engineering is indeed a dumping for a lot of ppl…i knew that because I was from NTU (non Engineering faculty) and I saw ppl who can’t make it to other faculties goin there..and obviously they will fare even worse – doing something that they don’t like, they are not particularly bright, some of them are super lazy (i.e. wrong attitude/mentality). Having said that, there are NTU engineers who are super smart who really love their stuff and who went on to become winners in life. It doesn’t really matter whether u are in a “DUMPING” ground or doing a “HOT” degree… loong as u do well, it is gd enough…hahaha…..isn’t it? I see a lot of Mgt consultants from top consulting firms and investment bankers coming from Eng Lit, communication, Engineer, business, ASS, accountancy etc….it doesn’t matter. Even if u are doing a “HOT” degree, u are the bottom cohort – u won’t do well as well…….

    Speaking of the big 4 (or big 3 or whatever u want it to be called), audit is a very taxing job…it used to be a good place to start with…but now i am not so sure….to be honest, i am not really too sure abt the value that some of the auditors bring – so i don’t think they should be paid so much…hahahaa…….again, alot of ppl went into audit thinkin it is a gd springboard for better things (gd career, gd pay etc) but then again u have to make sure u make it…..I see alot of ppl ( I really mean ALOT) falling through the cracks. now they are “Neither here nor there”. hahaha – it is a pity cos i know academically they are really gd…..but the world is sadly not about academics (if it is, i will be a millionaire right now)….We (sporeans) are so used to thinkin that going to a particular path (takin a certain degree etc) is a sure bet to success in life…but it doesn’t work this way anymore….we are no longer competin with sporeans, we are working with ppl from all over the world…..u think there are no ppl outside doing the same “HOT” degree as u? they are more hungry smarter more realistic and they have every bit as gd an opportunity to succeed as u…..

  16. Hey Finance!! you’re absolutely right!
    whether it’s a dumping ground or a hot place to study and finally land a good job totally depends on each individual! we’ve no rights to judge.

    and I also pity the accountancy ppl >.< they tried so hard during A level to achieve straight As to get into NBS (NTU's)/NUS Business School/SMU accountancy and to start off with auditing at the so-called BIG4, with average/mean pay of around 2.4-2.5k and they work their a**es off for about 10-12 hours a day for the first few years

    I have many friends in NIE now who are from accounting/business background who have decided to become teachers, a job which requires certain level of commitment, has a relatively shorter hours of work while enjoying more comfortable life…

    and no one would disagree that teaching/education is one of the most, if not THE most, secure industry in the whole world. No teachers/professors get retrenched/fired during bad economy -_-" (we can see this through stasistics… NIE graduates are the only TRUE 100% employed group of graduates, with pretty high starting pay, and they even earn while studying !!

  17. regarding the graduate employment survey:

    I’ve seen the NTU system and i think it’s pretty fair actually. the employment rate above actually indicates ‘within 6 months upon graduation’, and also… in the case of some geniuses who got some jobs in the US (school of computer engineering) and receive a pay of about 11k a month, NTU does not include these few into the calculation so as to not deviate the mean.

    Also, in order to reply the survey, we need to log-in using our matriculation numbers. thus, no repetition nor faking. Anyway, it is then up the the ex-students to key in the honest data. The school also indicates the total number of respondents.

    We can see that in some cases of NUS, some schools are new and thus the sample size is already small. As many of those graduates from those schools refuse to do the survey, it’s natural that the school decides to not publish the data in order to create false impression.

    I just wanna tell you guys the inner side of it from the point-of-view of a student, who will graduate soon and will be filling up for 2011 employmeny survey (i.e. grad in 2010, given 6 months to find jobs, and survey published in 2011 to show 2010 cohort)

    NOTE: GES published in 2009 is based on 2008 cohort, thus it’s PRE-CRISIS. that’s why MANY STUDENTS are SOOOO ANXIOUS over the upcoming 2010 survey showing 2009 cohort T.T please understand us

  18. accountancy straight As? more like for A level losers, its not even nus medicine and even for nus med, I have friends who know its a dumping ground for Cambridge and Yale undergrads

  19. SMU Accountancy Undergrad on

    I’m an accountancy student from SMU.

    I have to say this figure of starting salaries is pretty accurate, presuming you decide to join an auditing firm. But I think the figure should be higher because there are many accounting students who join banks as well; these people should only inflate the number above the big 4 rate of 2.4k.

    I guess the accountancy degree is diluted because of the larger supply from private ACCA students, and overseas auditors coming to SG to work in big 4s. Comparing this with law, for example, where the bar exam is necessary, the huge supply of accountants result in this lowering of salaries.

    However, I must admit that the career prospects upon joining a big 4 is promising. Horizontal and lateral movements look good. And the low starting salaries only hint strongly and the revenue upstream towards the partnerships, which is (in all fairness) possible albeit not probable.

    That being said, I’m joining a bank, and my starting salary is easily double that 2.4 reflected in the survey. =)

  20. SMU Accountancy Undergrad on

    Also, I noticed the statistics for law and medicine grads are not reflected. These should be a lot higher than the 3 plus k of SMU econs students.

  21. Yup
    Medicine graduates starting pay is 7.6K as a house officer
    After 1 yr, they earn 9.6K

    But since it is a 5 yr course, it makes sense to pay them more.

  22. why are u so rude?
    7.6K includes the medical school subsidy lah
    Govt pay 80% of medical tuition fees so we need to include that as part of their salaries.

    Havent u read about the pre employment grant?

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  25. From my years of working experience, I noticed alot of companies usually hires Malaysian in their accounts dept. Only positions like Finanicial Controller are probably Singaporeans.

  26. My son is from NUS,he has graduate for almost 6 months, and most of the Life Science jobs is given to Singaporean/PR only.How can a fresh graduate from Malaysia be able get a PR if the Company dos not give them a chance to service the Singaporeans.

  27. sgdr, this is the 1st time i’ve heard of such a funny joke like this. is this what the scores of meagrely paid doctors who earn peanuts tell themselves in order to sleep at night? That their “salaries” should include “the medical school subsidies”? haha.

    This is the saddest consolation story I’ve ever heard. A few things.

    Did you know that ALL local university courses are subsidized? Even the dumping ground ones like Arts? Going by your claim, anyone who studied in a local university and works for any government agency later should “include” the subsidies and tell themselves they have a higher pay than they do.

    Also, does this mean that true value of salaries of overseas scholars should include the bond amount of $300k factored in? So their annual income for the first three years should be whatever they take home + $100k?

    You really do pull figures out of your ass haha.

    There’s no point in being a doctor.

    At the end of the day, they earn way less than many professions in the private and public sectors and most of them end up being beauticians administering cosmetic treatments and facials to the public.

  28. To finance “I see a lot of Mgt consultants from top consulting firms and investment bankers coming from Eng Lit, communication, Engineer, business, ASS, accountancy etc….it doesn’t matter. Even if u are doing a “HOT” degree, u are the bottom cohort – u won’t do well as well…….”

    The Management Consultants from Eng Lit, Business, Arts, Physics, are from top universities, Ivy League, Oxbridge, basically OVERSEAS universities. Not local universities.

    In fact, local grads don’t generally even get hired to be management consultants, which is why so many of them have to pretend to be overseas grads and go for as many exchange programmes as possible.

  29. SMU Accountancy Undergrad, what function *will* you be joining in a bank? Haven’t even graduate and talking out of your ass. Another ass-talker. There are so many in this website from the local Us!

    The starting salaries for back and middle office entrants, even those enlisted in one of those half baked associate programmes which actually offer nothing, range from $2.4k to $2.8k only. And this was back in 2007 pre crisis.

  30. Money alone will not give u satisfaction. I used to work for a Korean MNC, working for 60 to 70 hours per week. I am no happy at all.I see my social life wane away and my health deteriote.

  31. 1. Specialised surgeon – $27,977
    2. Managing director – $26,444
    3. Personal banker – $20,238
    4. Commodities futures broker – $19,098
    5. General manager – $18,068

    Here are the stats to prove that doc earn the most among the professions.
    Ever wonder why so many students apply to medicine?

  32. The income figure for specialised surgeon refers only to a minute percentile among medical grads. The rest of them on the bell curve make less than many high-paying professions.

    Out of the yearly output of med grads, how many of them don’t drop out of specialty training and end up as GPs? please lah..

  33. Including subsidies from studies and believing that it was a “grant” is the weirdest sad story I ever heard.

    What a “grant” means, is that the holder doesn’t get penalised for it. This term is used for placement for PhD studies, where the holder gets a position to read a PhD and a stipend. In turn, the papers he writes in the course of his pursuits are credited to the university.

    It’s the same reason scholars are not supposed to “pay back” the scholarship amount through their salaries later.

    Here’s a revelation, sunshine. If the amount of a so-called “grant” is later deducted from one’s salary, or so its claimed, then it was NEVER a grant. If this hogwash was indeed told to the local med students on paper, it goes to show how stupid they are to not have noticed or questioned it.

    Many people apply to med school because there are many places available (>250) and nobody only applies to one thing. People apply to a suite of options and see what they end up later on and take up what they think is the best.

    What everyone knows but is too polite to say is that many people in med school are PSC rejects.

  34. Hey Mr Logic

    At present, undergraduate education at NUS is highly subsidized by the Government of Singapore, which pays for the bulk of the operating costs besides the infrastructural costs. The University’s fees are reviewed and adjusted periodically to reflect the cost of providing education to students. The substantial tuition subsidy from the Government of Singapore comes in the form of a tuition grant which is administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and offered to all admitted students. Students who apply for and are approved for the tuition grants need only pay subsidised fees (also referred to as the “Direct Payment” portion of fees). While the tuition grant is not repayable, and Singapore citizens in receipt of it will not be required to undertake a service bond, the following accountability measures will apply:

    Singapore citizens on Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarships or bursaries will be required to undertake a service bond under the terms of such scholarships or bursaries.
    All students, regardless of nationality, admitted to the Faculties of Medicine or Dentistry (in the case of Singapore citizens, only those who are not on PSC scholarships or bursaries) will be required to undertake a service bond with the Singapore Ministry of Health for five or six years for Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents/international students pursuing the medical course respectively, and four or five years for Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents/international students pursuing the dental course respectively.
    All Singapore Permanent Residents and international students (except those already in receipt of a service bond from the PSC or the Ministry of Health) will be required to undertake a service bond under the terms of the tuition grant to work for a Singapore-registered company for three years upon completion of their degrees so as to discharge some of their obligations to the Singapore public for the high subsidy to their university education.

  35. What the thick-skinned NUS med undergrad pasted only says that the course is subsidized. Yet, as rightly pointed out by someone earlier, all local university courses are subsidized. The alleged subsidies are only linked to the bond time of six years of servitude in the article provided.

    It says NOTHING about the alleged peanut salaries being higher than they are cos of the alleged “grant”, which was what we laughed about earlier and also the claim of this NUS undergrad/grad who ostensibly has no brains.

    You gotta serve a bloody long bond at third-world peanut wage terms when you didn’t even get to go overseas and travel the world glamorously and was stuck here? Hahahaaa

    Do you know how much the Admin Service officers are paid?

  36. Terms are bad. That’s why many are scholarship rejects.

    Notice he/she keeps quiet on the things he/she knows he/she can’t refute. On the fake puffing up of salary and the income figure from the list inapplicable to most doctors.

    He or she needs to console him/herelf by adding some random figure to his/her sad pay and puffing it up to another random figure and saying “its subsidised so we need to include that as part of their salaries”.

    Everytime I feel I need a good laugh, I’ll go back and read that post.

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