FRESH graduates this year can expect a small rise in starting salaries, a study by Hay Group showed.
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Here are the findings of the survey:
The average monthly starting salary for degree holders in the three qualification categories - without Honors, with Honors (Second Lower) and with Honors (Second Upper) - is $2,741, $2,853 and $2,939 respectively, for 2014.
Last year's average monthly starting salary was S$2,683 for Bachelor Degree (without Honors), $2,795 for Bachelor Degree (Honors, Second Lower) and $2,892 for Bachelor Degree (Honors, Second Upper).
The survey also showed that one out of five employers placed an average premium of $214 per month for local university graduates compared with non-local university graduates.
Meanwhile, diploma holders can look forward to an average starting salary of $1,878 per month, about 2.0 per cent more than last year's $1,840 per month.
Mr Andrew How, Managing Director, Hay Group, said that even though the Ministry of Trade and Industry had adjusted the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate to 2.5 to 3.5 per cent, this year's findings show promise with increases of 2 to 3 per cent in starting pay for fresh graduates.
Top paying jobs for degree and diploma holders
The Fresh Graduate Pay Survey 2014 revealed that for Bachelor Degree (without honors), jobs in Engineering were at the top, commanding the highest average starting salary of $2,888 per month, followed by jobs in Legal ($2,856 per month) and Information Technology ($2,816 per month).
For diploma holders, Engineering graduates command the highest average starting salary of $1,976 per month, with Marketing graduates coming in second at $1,938 per month and Administration/ Support/Service graduates taking third place at $1,925 per month. See Tables 1 and 2.
Mr How said, "Specialist professional fields such as Engineering, Legal, Marketing and Information Technology command higher starting salaries compared to the other fields in this year's fresh graduate survey."
He added, "Accelerated career development and not just money is the primary motivation for fresh graduates to work for a company.
New entrants now have a wide spectrum of opportunities to choose from - from start-ups to entrepreneurial ventures to freelancing and contract work. With this widening range of choices, individuals are expecting acceptance and freedom to be themselves with the emphasis shifting to more cerebral needs, such as belonging, autonomy, and self-expression in the workplace".
Return on investments
For diploma-holders who are considering investing in a degree, it might be a good way forward. The Hay Group study shows that employers are likely to pay up to 46.0 per cent more in starting salaries for average degree holders versus diploma holders.
Similarly, employers will place a premium of approximately 4.10 per cent and 7.22 per cent on a Bachelor Degree with Honors (Second Lower) and a Honors (Second Upper) respectively compared to an average degree holder.
National Service premium
One in three employers surveyed also said that they are likely to provide an average premium of $195 per month as an incentive to male employees who have completed National Service.