Fresh graduates from the Class of 2020 at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) continue to be in demand and are drawing higher starting salaries, despite a tough economic environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than nine in 10 NTU fresh graduates in the labour force reported that they were employed within six months after completing their final examinations, comparable to the previous cohort.
4,636 NTU graduates responded to the 2020 Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey (JAUGES), jointly conducted by NTU and the other Autonomous Universities. This comprises 4,553 graduates from the Class of 2020 as well as 22 Biomedical graduates and 61 Medicine graduates from the Class of 2019 who took part in a follow-up survey.
NTU’s Class of 2020 earned higher salaries, with a mean gross monthly salary of $3,840 for fresh graduates in full-time permanent employment, an improvement of 4.0 per cent from $3,693 in 2019. Their median gross monthly salary was also higher at $3,660 in 2020, compared to $3,500 in 2019.
Fresh graduates in Business & Computing (double degree) earned the most among their 2020 graduate peers with a median gross monthly salary of $5,400, compared to $4,833 in 2019. This was followed by Medicine graduates with $5,250 after completing their one-year housemanship or first-year residency, and Accountancy and Business graduates with $4,405. The other top earners were those who graduated from Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Aerospace Engineering courses.
Professor Tan Ooi Kiang, NTU’s Deputy Provost (Education) said, “Despite COVID-19’s impact on the economy, NTU graduates continue to stand out in the fiercely competitive job market locally and abroad. We know employers value our graduates for their skills and competencies, in addition to their global and industry exposure. The latest employment survey results suggest that employers are willing to pay a premium for them too.”
Besides graduates from National Institute of Education (NIE) and Medicine who achieved 100 per cent overall proportion in employment , other courses with the highest overall proportion in employment include Accountancy & Business (97.6 per cent), Computer Engineering (97.2 per cent), Business & Computing (97.1 per cent), Linguistics & Multilingual Studies (96.6 per cent), and Philosophy (96.3 per cent), as well as Accountancy (96.0 per cent) and Information Engineering & Media (96.0 per cent).
Internships give graduates competitive advantage
Prof Tan said, “About 6,000 students graduate from NTU annually, so having more than 9 in 10 graduates land a job within six months of final examinations during the pandemic is a remarkable result, and clearly shows the employers’ confidence in NTU graduates.
“A key factor for their success is authentic work experience. It gives our students an important competitive advantage because employers in today’s job market rely heavily on resumes that illustrate a relevant work history, whether that comes from internships, volunteer work, or actual job experience. Such experiences also help students make the connection between their academic studies and the world of work.”
At NTU’s Nanyang Business School for example, eight in 10 graduates in the labour force found full-time permanent jobs six months after completing their final examinations. Among them is Mr Alden Chen, who holds a double degree in Accountancy & Business from NTU and is a newly minted employee at tech giant Apple.
Alden said, “One thing I learned is that experience gets you hired. Internship is the best time to experience different job roles, to see which ones interest us and where we can potentially do well as a career. NTU has prepared me well for the challenges of today’s fast-paced workplace, and the internship opportunities it offered have helped me understand the nature and scope of the jobs that I want to apply for before graduation. Having four internships, including one in Japan, really gave me a better idea of my strengths and weakness and what I should focus on.”
Currently under Apple’s Pacific-operations Accelerated Career Experience (PACE) programme whereby newly hired graduate employees undergo three job rotations in two years, Alden gets an accelerated experience to gain a solid foundation in Apple’s operations.
Alden said, “I wanted to start my career in a function that is more closely connected with actual day-to-day business rather than support functions such as human resources or finance. So when Apple posted the job opportunity on their website, I grabbed it. My current job requires nimble learning, flexibility and the ability to bring the different business functions together to achieve a common goal.” From the new academic year starting in August 2021, internships will become an essential requirement for all NTU students, starting from the 2021 cohort.
To prepare students to meet the demands of a rapidly changing and unpredictable world, the incoming cohort will also be offered a university-wide common interdisciplinary core curriculum that covers topics such as digital literacy, communication and inquiry, ethics and global challenges.
The JAUGES results for NTU is available at: www.moe.gov.sg/post-secondary/overview/autonomous-universities/ntu.