STJob.sg’s survey distorts results, paints graduates in a negative light

On 4 March, AsiaOne published an article about a survey conducted by STJobs.sg, claiming that “1 in 5 graduates” expect $4,000 starting pay.

But anybody who bothered to read the article would eventually realize that the proportion of graduates who claim this, is only 18%.

12 per cent of all respondents expected to receive less than $2,500 per month while 70 per cent of them expected to be paid up to $4,000 per month. The remaining 18 per cent felt they should receive more than $4,000 in remuneration.

The survey was made to find out about the salary expectations of graduates, but the respondents were drawn from a variety of educational backgrounds.

Among those surveyed, 79 per cent are from local universities, 11 per cent from local polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), and the remaining from private institutions.

79% surveyed are from local universities. Let that statistic sink in for a moment.

Why lump the survey answers of such a diverse mix of graduates together? A poly graduate and an undergraduate from a local university would naturally have different perceptions about how much they expect to be paid.

STJobs.sg appeared to not care and just lump all of them together because “they’re all graduates!” Maybe the majority of the “more than $4,000” respondents were medical or law school students?

Then we have this question:

When asked why they felt they deserved their expected salary, half of the respondents said it was because they would be graduating from a recognised university

The question makes zero distinction between a person expecting a starting salary of $2,300, for example, and a person expecting $4,000. Additionally, we have no information about what constitutes as “recognised universities”.

They don’t even know how much they should be getting

Interestingly, 1 in 5 fresh graduates admitted that they had no clue about the usual starting pay of the job they are looking for and thought up a random figure for their expected remuneration.

20% of the surveyed did not even know how much they should be paid, but had to give an amount anyway, because there wasn’t an option to say “I don’t know”. Twenty per cent.

statsmug

Source

This statistic makes the survey essentially meaningless.

The majority doesn’t demand high pay

Unfortunately, people have latched on to the result that a mere 18% of the surveyed (out of almost 200, which works out to about 40) had pay expectations of over $4,000 as a starting salary, and are complaining about how kids these days are having unrealistic expectations.

asiaone

Source

A mere 1.9% of Singaporeans are unemployed as of January this year.

Also, we resent that perception.

18% out of nearly 200 is not a significant enough population that all graduates should be lumped into the same category and called “unrealistic”. What about the 70% who didn’t expect to be paid that kind of money? No mention.

The survey may not have been completely terrible as the main aim was to gauge starting pay expectations, but the chosen focus gives off an air of sensationalism which distorts the purpose of the survey.

And as mentioned earlier, 20% of the surveyed did not even know how much they should be paid!

The average starting pay for a bachelor’s degree (without honours) is at $2,741. If anyone’s expecting more, they probably have their own individual reason for thinking that, but the article chose not to focus on that at all.

Readers should take the results with a pinch of salt and not assume statistics tell the whole truth when the sample size is minuscule. The survey is intended to be from an employer’s point of view.

You might want to take a look at our article about top-paying jobs to have a real idea of how much starting pays are.

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Featured image via James Cook University
With references from AsiaOne, Ben Vitalis, Trading Economics