SMU’s 2020 fresh graduates see healthy employment and starting salaries in latest employment survey

93.9 per cent of fresh graduates from the 2020 cohort who were in the labour force were employed within six months of completing their final examinations

Singapore, 19 February 2021 (Friday) – Fresh graduates from Singapore Management University’s (SMU) 17th cohort have registered healthy and stable overall employment, with 93.9% of them employed and commanding good starting salaries across all six of the university’s degree programmes.

The results were revealed in the annual Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey (JAUGES), jointly conducted by SMU and the other Autonomous Universities.

78.4% or 1,476 of the 1,883 SMU alumni who graduated in 2020 took part in the survey.

The survey showed that 93.9% of SMU fresh graduates in the labour force gained employment within six months of completing their final examinations. 57.0% were offered full-time permanent jobs before graduation. Among those who were on full-time permanent employment, 51.9% were offered employment through internships, which are compulsory for SMU undergraduates. 29.9% of those who were on full-time permanent employment accepted the offers from their internship employers.

Both the mean and median gross monthly salaries are at an all-time high. The mean gross monthly salary of SMU graduates in full-time permanent jobs is $4,196 in 2020, an increase over the previous year’s salary of $4,121. The median gross monthly salary of graduates in full-time permanent employment is $3,900 in 2020, up from $3,800 in 2019.

The top three industries of employment for SMU graduates were “Financial and Insurance”, “Information & Communication”, and “Public Administration and Defence”, with “Financial and Insurance” maintaining its position as the highest paid industry with an average gross monthly salary of $5,187.

SMU Provost, Professor Timothy Clark said, “Despite the current economic conditions, we are delighted to see that SMU graduates are in much demand and have once again been very successful in finding employment. This affirms the recognition by employers of our holistic and multi-disciplinary academic curriculum, as well as a co-curricular programme that enables our students to nurture the values and critical skills desired at the workplace.

In addition, SMU’s Internship Programme where each graduate completes an average of 2.6 internships during their time of study, contributes rigour and work place relevance to students’ applied learning. About half of the internships actually translated into job offers and we are proud to be the first university in Singapore to make internships a compulsory graduation requirement.”

98% of 2020 graduates said they had experienced personal growth during their time at SMU. Having experienced our flexible broad-based programmes, 96% felt they had developed the ability to persevere and adapt in the face of challenges. Another 96% said they developed a greater ownership of their personal development while 92% felt that they had developed a keener sense of responsibility for individual and collective actions.

“These are skills and attributes that are critical given the evolving economy and very much valued in any workplace today,” added Prof Clark.

Here are some examples of 2020 Graduates who have benefited from the SMU educational experience:

Brendan Tan Junwei, a graduate of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, was given multiple opportunities to work and study overseas through his SMU journey. His first experience living overseas was an internship in Shanghai. This was followed by an exchange programme with HEC School of Management in Paris. Outside of school, he would travel annually to Lesvos Island in Greece to volunteer with search and rescue operations in support of refugees. He said, “These experiences helped me to develop a global mindset and fueled my desire to meld my knowledge in finance and volunteerism to create a meaningful impact.” This led him to pursue a career in the field of development finance and consulting through two internships. One was with Ernst & Young, where he is now an Associate in the Infrastructure Advisory team. He said, “I am grateful for my mentors and career coach I met at SMU, who have taken the time and effort to guide me as a young junior. These experiences led me to my ideal career path, where I work in support of the development of countries across developing Asia.”

Kimberley Sarah Ambrose, a graduate from the School of Economics, did four internships as she felt it was a rewarding and fun use of her summer breaks where she had opportunities to meet many new people. She enjoyed venturing into different sectors to understand a bit more about each, before coming to a decision on what she wanted to pursue. The companies she interned at ranged from start-ups like Kashmi, to SMCs like Tripzilla and MNCs like Nestle Singapore and The Walt Disney Company SEA where she eventually landed a position in Digital Marketing. She also embarked on two study missions – one to Scandinavia and one to Bangkok, to gain exposure on the culture and business practices there. She said, “The many opportunities received during my time in SMU is what I am most grateful for. There was never a time where I felt that the resources accessible to me were inadequate, and you never needed to look far to find help. Needless to say, the courses that are offered in SMU equip many of us with the fundamental and critical skills that are necessary in today’s world.”

Sherman Koa, a graduate of the School of Computing and Information Systems, did four internships ranging from start-ups to big tech firms, including stints at Amazon Web Services and Visa. Through those internships, he was able to hone skills that go beyond the classroom, working with modern technologies and frameworks like React and Python. Through his internships, he picked up skills in managing data warehouses and Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) pipelines built on the industry-leading Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, as well as Continuous Integration and Deployment strategies on highly-available, globally-distributed cloud servers. He eventually took up an offer from a leading large tech multi-national corporation prior to graduation, and works with the global team there. He adds, “SMU provides opportunities to pick up both soft and hard skills that helped me succeed at the workplace. As an example, encouraging individuals to speak up and participate in seminars might sound insignificant, but it helped me get comfortable with framing ideas and perceptions and voice them out concisely. An idea is only as good as how you present it!”

SMU’s 2020 graduates across all six Schools also enjoyed competitive monthly salaries.