SMU graduates see increase in salaries again in latest local grads survey

Graduates from 2014 cohort scored highest starting salaries compared to previous years and achieved strong employment rates. Over one in five who were offered jobs landed full-time employment through internships.

Singapore, 27 Feb 2015 (Friday) – Graduates from Singapore Management University’s (SMU) 11th cohort have registered a strong overall employment rate[1] of 91.6% and high  starting salaries across all six of the university's degree programmes.

The results were revealed in the Joint Graduate Employment Survey (GES) 2014 conducted by three autonomous universities in Singapore, namely Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University.

This is the third year in which the three autonomous universities have conducted a joint Graduate Employment Survey (GES). 77% or 1,214 participants of the 1,577 SMU alumni who graduated in 2014 took part in the survey.

The survey showed that 91.6% of SMU graduates gained employment within six months after completing their final examinations, with more than half of the total number surveyed being offered jobs before graduation. More than one in five who received job offers landed full-time employment through internships, which are compulsory for SMU undergraduates.

The mean gross monthly salary of SMU graduates in full-time permanent jobs is a record $3,592, since SMU graduated its pioneer cohort in 2004. This is an increase over the previous year’s mean gross monthly salary of $3,455.  

The top 20% of wage earners commanded a mean gross monthly salary of $5,441.

Of the SMU graduates who are working full-time, 31 chose to embark on an entrepreneurial path and start their own businesses.

SMU President, Professor Arnoud De Meyer said, “Year after year, SMU graduates prove that they have a distinctive edge in the job market and possess qualities that are highly sought after by employers. They are given a head-start in their careers through the opportunity of taking up internships. All SMU students, from 2nd year onwards, are required to deep dive into a 10-week internship in a company with duties that align with the student’s degree and academic major. Our students don’t just learn from being interns; they value-add with innovative ideas and solutions. As shown in the survey, many of them are talent-spotted and offered jobs by their intern companies even before they graduate. A majority of them do no fewer than two to three internships both in Singapore and overseas.”

Recognising the importance and value of having real-world and career-relevant work experience for its students, SMU is the first university in Singapore to make internships compulsory for all undergraduate students. Students are provided opportunities through the Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre (DKHMCC) which works closely with industry to ensure successful placement of students in internships and jobs. The DKHMCC’s close and regular contact with employers is vital in helping SMU students be market relevant and business-ready.

The strong survey results reinforce the fact that SMU is producing a highly-trained work force that is versatile, confident and articulate. Apart from internships, our students are encouraged to take up community outreach projects, and international exchange programmes. Coupled with SMU’s rigorous multi-disciplinary programmes, students are equipped with a complete skill-set, consisting of hard knowledge skills, soft people skills and ‘heart’ skills. Our holistic undergraduate educational experience helps to develop students into broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy.

The versatility of SMU graduates is demonstrated in the wide variety of professions and industries that they are employed in, ranging from advertising services and market research, business and management consultancy, finance and insurance, legal, accounting and auditing, public administration and defence, maritime/shipping as well as the public and social sectors.

As compared to 2013 findings, more SMU’s graduates in 2014 have joined industries such as finance and insurance, logistics and supply chain management, information and communication, and business and management consultancy.

SMU’s 2014 graduates continued to do well across the six Schools.

SMU's Accountancy graduates garnered a mean gross monthly salary of $3,420. The median gross monthly salary is $2,875. Those with Cum Laude or better achieved a high mean gross monthly salary of $3,903.

The Business Management graduates' mean gross monthly salary is $3,752. The median gross monthly salary is $3,333. Those with Cum Laude or better were paid a mean gross monthly salary of $4,116. 

The mean gross monthly salary of Economics graduates also increased to $3,645 for the 2014 cohort. The median gross monthly salary is $3,500. Those with Cum Laude or better achieved a higher mean gross monthly salary of $3,824.

The Information Systems Management (ISM) graduates drew a mean and median gross monthly salary of $3,530 and $3,350 respectively. Those with Cum Laude or better enjoyed a high mean gross monthly salary of $4,151.

The mean and median gross monthly salary of the Social Sciences graduates is $3,166 and $3,000 respectively. Those with Cum Laude or better enjoyed a higher mean gross monthly salary of $3,545.

Please refer to Annex for the detailed figures.

The follow-up survey[2] on SMU Law graduates showed that 97.8% of economically-active respondents are employed. The mean and median gross monthly salary of Law graduates in full-time permanent employment was $ 5,332 and $5,025 respectively. Those who attained a GPA of 3.4 and above had a mean gross monthly salary of $ 5,571.

Explanatory Note: Cum Laude and Merit Awards

SMU uses the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) criteria to identify degree candidates with academic excellence in the following award categories: Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude. These are Latin awards adopted from the American system, and can be translated as with Highest Distinction, with High Distinction and with Distinction, respectively. All Cum Laude awards are highly selective.

They do not equate to the various classes of degree honours conferred by universities that follow the British system of academic honours. A graduate needs a GPA of at least 3.40 out of 4.00 to be awarded Cum Laude. All SMU bachelor degrees are four-year full-time programmes.

Cumulative GPA


≥ 3.80

Summa Cum Laude

3.60 to 3.79

Magna Cum Laude

3.40 to 3.59

Cum Laude

3.20 to 3.39

High Merit

3.00 to 3.19



[1] The overall employment rate refers to the number of graduates working in all types of full-time, part-time and temporary employment, as a proportion of economically-active graduates. Economically-active graduates refer to those who are working, and those who are not working but are actively looking and available for work.

[2] SMU’s Law graduates in 2013 were excluded from the 2013 survey as they were undergoing pupillage in the first six months of their graduation. They have since started employment and have been included in GES 2014, which is a follow-up survey.