SINGAPORE: In the wake of recent reports highlighting the earning potential of fresh graduates in Singapore, online reactions have ranged from skepticism to outright disbelief. The claim that some fresh graduates are securing salaries of S$6,000 or even S$7,000 has sparked a heated debate among Singaporeans.

Vulcan Post recently reported that the median salary across all sectors was S$5,197 in 2023 and that some fresh graduates are starting their careers with salaries of S$6,000 or more than S$7,000.

However, these figures come with a significant caveat: such high starting pay is typically reserved for top-performing graduates from specific, highly sought-after fields. The report indicates that the average gross monthly salary for the top 25% of graduates in computer science, engineering, business, and law from Singapore’s autonomous universities meets or surpasses S$6,000.

This suggests that exceptional graduates in these fields are indeed highly valued. But for those outside these elite categories, the economic outlook appears far less promising. Online commenters have been vocal about this disparity, with many expressing doubts about the attainability of such high salaries for the majority of fresh graduates.

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Facebook user Dennis Foo said: “Fresh grad with no experience? Count yourself lucky if you can get 3.5k SGD.” Others called the prospect of $6,000 – $7,000 pay for fresh graduates “BS,” a “fairy tale,” “joke,” or even “lies”.

Some astutely called such pay packages “outliers” that don’t accurately reflect ground realities for the majority of graduates.

One Facebook user, James Poh said: “never in my life have i seen a fresh grad get that much…” He added that those with first class honours working in Government-linked statutory boards may command up to $5,000 monthly pay but a salary higher than that may only be linked to jobs in the oil and gas sector.

Reflecting on the figures cited in the report on salaries, Facebook user Gordon Choo opined: “Very skewed. These are based on surveys sent out to graduates. Of course those who responded are either drawing high salaries or in well-paid industries. They’ll be happy to report.”

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He asked, “How about Arts/Social sciences grads who comprises a huge number? Engineering or non-sciences grads? Those with third-class or pass degrees only? Of course, these groups will not respond to such surveys if they deem their salaries lower or still looking for jobs.”

A young Singaporean, Mathew Benedict Ho on Facebook, said: “I am a fresh grad who started working now, it is consider blessed if you could able to earn $3-4K plus per month already.

“Getting a degree does not mean that you are being needed to be prioritize in the working industries, fresh graduates need to be humble and keep gaining knowledge through learning and experiences in the working society instead of putting themselves very high like monarch.”

Echoing Mr Ho’s view, others agreed that a job paying $3,000 to $4,000 itself is hard to find. Others online compared the report on salaries to recent social media posts by graduates unable to land jobs despite sending hundreds of applications.

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In one well-liked comment, Facebook user Eric Chia said, tongue in cheek: “The report probably conducted by fresh graduate Reverse psychology you know…”

Read related: S$7000+ starting salary for Singaporean fresh graduates is no longer just a dream, but there’s a catch…