Jul 11, 2013

    Higher pay but fresh graduates expect more

    FRESH graduates can expect to earn a slightly higher starting salary than last year's cohort, going by a recent study.

    However, another survey suggests that students' starting-pay expectations exceed what bosses are offering.

    According to management consultancy Hay Group's Fresh Graduate Pay Survey report that was released yesterday, university graduates can expect to earn a starting base salary that is 2 per cent higher than what the previous year's cohort made.

    The average monthly starting pay for degree holders without honours this year is $2,714.

    Some 130 organisations took part in the survey in May, including those from the oil and gas, chemical, high-technology, transport, telecommunications and natural-resources industries.

    Mr Emran Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, said the slight rise could be due to Singapore's inflation rates, which have averaged at approximately 2.82 per cent over the last few years, as well as the good employment situation here among the young.

    Mr Josh Goh, assistant director of corporate services from The GMP Group, also noted that graduates with qualifications that are in high demand, such as chemical engineering, can expect an even higher increment compared to their peers from other cohorts.

    "Employers are facing the challenge of recruiting more Singaporeans and the demand for Singaporean graduates is driving the starting pay upwards," explained Mr Goh.

    This could be due to the Ministry of Manpower's stance to curb foreign hiring, explained Mr Adrian Tan, managing director of Recruit Plus Consulting.

    The upward trend for starting salaries could also continue until the European or the United States currencies dip, he added.

    Mr Emran Tan noted that if Singapore has a smooth economy for the next six to nine months, a moderate pay rise of 2 to 3 per cent is expected.

    However, a survey of about 6,000 university students by employer-branding consultancy Universum showed that their starting-pay expectations this year outstripped what bosses were offering.

    Hay Group's study showed the average starting pay that employers would offer graduates with a second upper- or higher-honours degree was $2,876.

    But the average starting pay that university students expected in general was higher, at $3,349, said Universum's survey.

    Universum had polled students from major universities here between last December and May.

    Mr Emran Tan said the discrepancy in pay was normal.

    "The younger generation tend to have higher aspirations, especially when they hope to achieve greater success after getting their education," he said.

    "So, they tend to ask for a bit more...employers may not give as much because of current market situations so they tend to be more conservative and not offer as much."