I refer to the article “Goals of poly grads changing” (Straits Times, 18 Jan).
It states that “More polytechnic students are choosing to continue their studies instead of finding work immediately after graduating. This is a preference among diploma holders that has emerged over the last decade, and is also seen in the latest graduate employment survey conducted by the five polytechnics.”
So, what does “more” mean?
That just one per cent more than last year’s figure, or say 30 per cent more?
Why can’t the actual statistics be made public and reported in the media?
Are “most” (I also use lah) of them going for further studies because they planned to, or because “most” couldn’t find a full-time job?
Also, since the graduates’ employment survey was from “1 October to 15 January” – which I understand is already about five to eight months after their graduation – wouldn’t “most” of those who planned to further their studies have started their studies already?
Did the survey or if not, then why didn’t the survey ask whether they have already enrolled for further studies?
Otherwise, we may just be speculating when we keep saying that “more” or “most” (for that matter) of those in part-time jobs were doing so because they were going for further studies?
By the way, if you are a graduate waiting for say five to nine months to further your studies – wouldn’t you prefer to get a full-time job (that is if you can find one) in the meantime, so that at least when you finally graduate from your further studies – you would at least have some real working experience which may help in your future job search?
With regard to “The results released last Friday showed that 86.4 per cent of their graduates found permanent, freelance or part-time jobs last year within six months of graduation. This is down from 2016’s figure of 90.6 per cent, and the lowest since 2005, when the survey was first conducted.
The employment rate for post-national service graduates also dipped from 95.4 per cent in 2016 to 89.8 per cent last year. This decline is not a cause for worry and, as the polytechnics explained, is partly due to year-on-year changes in the labour market and economic conditions, as well as students’ choices upon graduation” – why is it that the subject news report, as well as the earlier article “Poly grads not getting jobs as quickly: poll” (Straits Times, Jan 13) – did not tell you that “(only) five in 10 (52.8 per cent) had full-time permanent jobs”, like the Today news report on the same day (Jan 13)?
Is this “52.8 per cent“ an all-time low”?
Ok, let’s say we accept the excuse that full-time employment is very low because “more” want to further their studies.
But then, how do we explain the even lower full-time permanent employment of only 41.8 per cent in 2016 for ITE Higher Nitec graduates, and an even lower 33.6 per cent for Nitec (Engineering) graduates?
You mean – “most” ITE graduates also shun full-time jobs because they want to further their studies!
In respect of “Overall, the employment rate remains high, and the median monthly pay of diploma holders has been climbing slowly” – do you know that poly graduates’ “real starting salaries” have decreased by about -2.7 per cent in the last eight years or so?.
In other words, the salary did not go up at all, but actually decreased in real terms, in the last eight years or so!
As to “But more attention should be paid to the changing aspirations of young people as the public university landscape expands and diploma holders seek to upgrade themselves through further studies. According to the survey, most graduates taking on part-time, freelance or temporary work were doing so because they were pursuing or preparing to commence further studies. But even as the Government opens up more university places, it has been urging young people to consider other pathways” – don’t you think that we may be “out of sync”, when despite the consistent rhetoric in recent years that “you do not need a degree” – has resulted in so much more people furthering their studies for a degree?
With regard to “It will take time for mindsets to shift, but, as the figures show, among those from polytechnics who choose to work, there is a small but growing number who are opting for flexible work arrangements, including freelancing and setting up companies. It is encouraging that some young Singaporeans are trying to figure out their interests and strengths before jumping into any course or career for life” – similarly, can we make public and reveal in the media – the statistics, instead of simply saying “but, as the figures show”?
Do all these not make you wonder – whether some media reporting may arguably, be “just for show” or what?
Editor's note - The figures for the 2017 survey have not been published publicly and TOC has written in to ask the committee on how to access the figures. No reply has been received yet.