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SIT fresh graduates most employable among local universities, longer internships pay off

SINGAPORE — A higher proportion of fresh graduates from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) found a job within the first six months of completing their final examinations, when compared with their counterparts from four other major universities here.

Singapore Institute of Technology's accounting graduands seen at their graduation ceremony on Feb 24, 2017. About 94 per cent of fresh graduates from SIT's accountancy course found a job within six months of completing their examinations.

Singapore Institute of Technology's accounting graduands seen at their graduation ceremony on Feb 24, 2017. About 94 per cent of fresh graduates from SIT's accountancy course found a job within six months of completing their examinations.

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SINGAPORE — A higher proportion of fresh graduates from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) found a job within the first six months of completing their final examinations, when compared with their counterparts from four other major universities here.

The big picture: Findings from the 2017 Joint Graduate Employment Survey (GES) released on Monday (Sept 10) found that the overall employment rate for SIT graduates grew 3.3 per cent from 2016 to hit 92.3 per cent last year.

In comparison, the overall employment figure for graduates from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) stood at 88.9 per cent last year, based on their GES results released in February. This is a dip from 89.5 per cent in 2016.

In March, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) reported that overall employment rate for its graduates went up from 91.0 per cent in 2016 to 91.4 per cent in 2017.

Despite the overall rosy prospects for jobseekers from the nine-year-old SIT, which has a focus on applied learning, their starting salaries still lag behind their counterparts. SIT graduates who secured full-time jobs saw a 2.1 per cent increase in mean gross monthly salary from S$3,282 in 2016 to S$3,350 last year.

Fresh graduates from NUS, NTU and SMU got 2.9 per cent more in their salaries last year, compared with the previous cohort (S$3,613 versus S$3,509).

The mean gross monthly salary for fresh graduates from SUTD employed in full-time permanent jobs was S$3,859 last year — a minimal increase from S$3,853 in 2016.

The fine print: The soar in overall employment figures for SIT graduates came on the back of a 5.8 percentage-point increase in the proportion of graduates in the labour force who secured full-time permanent employment, from 77.1 per cent in 2016 to 82.9 per cent last year.

Correspondingly, those who landed part-time or temporary employment dropped 2.8 per cent, from 9.4 per cent in 2016 to 6.6 per cent last year.

These figures buck the trend seen at NUS, NTU and SMU, where only 78.4 per cent of graduates with a job found full-time employment last year. This was down from the 2016 figure of 79.9 per cent, which marked the first time the proportion fell below 80 per cent since the survey was first carried out for the 2012 cohort.

SIT is the last university to release its results for last year’s graduating batch as its students typically graduate in October. Students from NUS, NTU and SMU usually graduate in May, while students from the SUTD graduate in late August or early September.

What SIT did well: This year’s report card showed that SIT’s work-study programme, which put their students through work attachments of between eight and 12 months – longer than traditional internships – is valued among employers, said the university.

The brightest spot was seen among graduates from its accountancy and hospitality business programmes, who received job offers even before graduation from the companies they were attached to under the programme, said SIT’s Associate Professor Ivan Lee, who is the university’s vice-president of industry and community.

Array

About 94 per cent of SIT's fresh graduates from its accountancy course found a job within six months of completing their examinations, with 92.1 per cent among them securing full-time employment.

For its hospitality business students, 94.7 per cent found a job in the same period, with 84.2 per cent of them snagging a full-time job.

“The industry perceives (our) Integrated Work Study Programme as a means to grow its talent pipeline, as the extended attachments allowed employers to assign meaningful tasks and challenging projects to SIT’s students to assess their suitability as full-time hires,” the university said in a press release.

Highlights of SIT employment statistics

Most employable: Computer science and game design graduates (DigiPen Institute of Technology), offshore engineering graduates (Newcastle University), occupational therapy graduates and physiotherapy graduates (SIT-Trinity College Dublin/ Trinity College Dublin), with overall employment rates of 100 per cent.

Least employable: Chemical engineering graduates (Newcastle University), with overall employment rate of 77.3 per cent.

Highest paid: Computer science in real-time interactive simulation graduates (DigiPen Institute of Technology) – S$3,904.

Lowest paid: Professional studies in culinary arts management graduates (Culinary Institute of America) – S$2,598.

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