Parliamentary Replies

February 06, 2018

Poly ITE employment

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Leon Perera, Aljunied GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) in respect of the percentage of polytechnic and ITE graduates securing permanent, full-time employment within a year of their graduation (a) what has been the statistical trend over the past 10 years; and (b) what are the reasons behind the trend.

Response

1. Every year, MOE surveys the employment rates of polytechnic and ITE graduates, six months after they complete their final examinations. The employment rate has remained high over the past ten years. Each year, subject to some fluctuations due to the performance of the economy and job market, around nine in ten graduates found jobs.

2. Having said that, there has been some significant shifts in the choices of graduates. Over the last ten years, the percentage of polytechnic and ITE graduates who chose to go into further studies, instead of working, has gone up by over 10 percentage points.

3. This is driven by various efforts of the Government to expand education pathways for students. There are more places at polytechnics for ITE students, and at universities for polytechnic students. The Singapore Institute of Technology, which is a new autonomous university, takes in mostly polytechnic students today.

4. As for those who choose to enter the labour force, there has also been a shift. Full-time permanent work has come down, while freelance, part-time and temporary work have gone up. To illustrate this, the percentage of polytechnic and ITE graduates who reported that they were in full-time permanent employment fell from 77% in 2007 to 58% in 2016 – a 19 percentage point change.

5. About half of the decrease is due to students choosing to do part-time work while they prepare for further studies. A similar proportion chose not to do full-time permanent work voluntarily. They could be doing freelance work, or have other reasons to lead them to choose to work part-time or take up temporary employment. The small remainder – about 1 percentage point – represents an increase in those who are involuntarily doing part-time work or are still looking for employment.

6. The strong desire to further their studies, higher incidence of students choosing to do freelance work or start their own business, and students taking longer to look for work, are possible explanations for these changes. MOE will be doing an in-depth study into these trends, and understanding the underlying forces driving the decisions of students.