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Fewer Polytechnic and ITE Grads Employed in Full-time Permanent Jobs: MOE

February 8, 2018

Recent survey findings by the Ministry of Education (MOE) reveals that fewer ITE and poly grads are employed in full-time work compared to 10 years ago. According to Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary, this phenomenon is attributed to a shift in the choice of employment among these graduates.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 6) in response to a question from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera, he said that the ministry conducts a survey on employment rates of polytechnic and ITE graduates every year, six months after they complete their final examinations.

The data noted that the number of poly and ITE grads in full-time permanent employment has dipped from 77 percent in 2007 to 58 percent in 2016, showing a significant decline of 19 percentage points. In contrast, Dr Janil said, the number of graduates who opt to work freelance, part-time, and temporary jobs has seeing an increase.

Responding to the figures, he said that about half of the decrease is caused by trend of student choosing to do part time work while preparing for further studies. He cited MOE figures indicating that the number of ITE and poly grads choosing to pursue higher studies has rose up to 10 percentage points over the last 10 years. Meanwhile, the other half of the decrease is owing to the graduates choosing not to engage in full-time permanent jobs.

“They could be doing freelance work, or have other reasons to lead them to choose to work part-time or take up temporary employment,” Dr Janil said.

See: More than Half Professionals in Singapore Willing to Accept Contract Jobs

He continued that 1 percentage point in the survey represents an increase in those who are doing involuntary part-time work or still looking for a job. However, despite the figures, he said that the employment rate remained high. Apart from fluctuations due to the performance of the economy and job market, Dr Janil noted that around nine in 10 graduates can find jobs.

Further, the ministry will conduct an in-depth research to study these trends, in an effort to understand the underlying forces that drive student’s decisions regarding to employment, Channel News Asia reports.

Mr Perera also asked regarding to future job security for poly and ITE graduates. He questioned if technical jobs typically taken by these graduates will be at risk amidst a global focus on automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

In response to this, Dr Janil said, “Our preliminary analysis and information we have suggest that the trends are reflective of the behaviour and aspirations of students as well as opportunities that are being made available rather than a specific push as a result of factors described by the Member.”

“But we will continue to study the matter to ensure whether there are factors we can address to benefit the students as best we can,” he added.

Dr Janil response comes two weeks after a survey by the five polytechnics revealed that the employment rates for fresh polytechnic graduates dipped to an all-time low since the survey was first conducted.

Read also: More than 285,000 Singaporeans Already Benefited from SkillsFuture Credit

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