I refer to the article “Tougher job market for new entrants” (Straits Times, Nov 2).

Harder for fresh graduates to get jobs

It states that “Acturial science graduate Michelle Lew has sent her resume to more than 100 firms since last December, hoping to land a permanent job.

But almost a year later, she has not received a single job offer.

The job market has not been kind to new entrants to the market like Ms Lew, with unemployment rising for the younger group of workers.

The under-30 unemployment rate rose to 4.3 per cent in September last year, from 3.9 per cent in September 2013, data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed.

To be sure, about nine in 10 fresh graduates found jobs within six months of graduating last year, according to the Education Ministry’s survey of graduates here.”

9 in 10 found jobs or 7 in 10 found “full-time permanent” jobs?

A Channel NewsAsia news report in February said “the overall employment rate was 89.1 per cent, and about four in five of these graduates were employed in full-time permanent jobs within six months of completing their final examinations. This is similar to the employment rates achieved in 2013.”

So, what the above paragraph may mean is that the full-time employment rate was only about 71.3 per cent (80% of 89,1%).

Thus, “to be sure, about nine in 10 fresh graduates found jobs within six months of graduating last year” – may surely mean that “nine in 10″ found full-time and part-time jobs, but only about 71.3 per cent found full-time permanent jobs!

For example, in the first category (Bachelor of Arts) in NUS’s 2014 Graduate Employment Survey – the full-time permanent employment rate was only 65.3 per cent.

153rd media says employment rate “similar” when it actually dropped?

Also, last year’s rate was much better at 74.5 per cent, instead of “this is similar to the employment rates achieved in 2013″.

Foreign employment at all-time high?

In this connection, although the latest MOM labour report released on 29 October did not give the breakdown of total employment into foreigners, PRs and Singaporeans – I estimate (using the unemployment rates and total employment data) the percentage of foreign workers and non-Singaporean workers (foreigners and PRs) may have reached an all-time high of about 38.9 and 47.1 per cent respectively.

Singaporeans’ unemployment rate increased

There may be something wrong with our labour policies, when the percentage of foreign workers and non-Singaporeans may keep hitting all-time highs, whilst the unemployment rates of younger residents and overall Singaporeans have increasedrelatively more than that for PRs and foreigners.

Since the people have given their trust and mandate – shouldn’t we reciprocate by being more transparent?

Leong Sze Hian

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