Grad salaries expectations: $4k …the reality: $2.7k

paper chase


A poll conducted by STJobs showed that one in five local undergrads expect no less than $4k.

This is in sharp contrast with the average starting pay of $2741, according to the same report.

“Well if I put in so much effort at school, a high starting salary is a given”, said Lionel Tan, an undergrad at NUS. “Otherwise what do we study so hard for?”

This sort of expectation and attitudes are not uncommon amongst students. The survey revealed that 12 per cent of all respondents expected to receive less than $2,500 per month while 70 per cent of them expected to be paid up to $4,000 per month. The remaining 18 per cent felt they should receive more than $4,000 in remuneration.

However, the tight labour markets and restrictions facing foreign staff will force employers to reassess their salary packages.

According to a report by AsiaOne, many of the grads said they decided on their expected salary after consulting with friends who worked in a similar industry (46 per cent) or assumed that the industry or organisation they wanted to work in would be willing to pay them their expected salary (23 per cent).

Among those surveyed, 79 per cent are from local universities, 11 per cent from local polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), and the remaining from private institutions.

The fresh grads also comprised of Singaporean and Singapore Permanent Residents (61 per cent) and foreigners (39 per cent), and 9 in 10 fresh grads are aged between 20 to 27 years old.





  1. $2741 is the average without honours. $4000 was expected by only 18% of the students.

    This is not too far off reality.

    If you check SMU business/accountancy/economics/information systems cum laude median, graduates are receiving 3.8k-4k+ without bonuses. This means that about 15% of the SMU cohort is taking home at least 3.8k.

  2. Seriously, graduates are getting $2100-2700 only. Poly $1500 – 1800. There will be some outliers, but they are the exceptions rather than the norm. That’s why I think it is better to work for gov. They are the only ones who believes and pay for their reports.

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