$10k starting pay? Netizens express disbelief at NUS undergrads' salary expectations

How much are fresh graduates in Singapore expecting their starting salaries to be?

Between $5,000 and $10,000, it seems.

This was the result of an informal survey conducted by Hong Kong-based YouTuber Torres Pit, who took to the National University of Singapore campus with the query during his trip here recently.

Pit, who’s based in Hong Kong, noted that NUS is listed as the “best university in Asia”.

The video, published 10 days ago, featured Pit asking students about their expected starting salaries.

The clip soon went viral, with many comments debating if undergraduates’ expected salaries of between $5,000 to $10,000 were attainable.

When interviewed by Pit, one first-year Business Administration student majoring in finance and economics noted that “there’s a difference between ‘expect’ and ‘hope'”.

She then shared how she thinks she’d be able to earn $10,000 a month in her first job.

Another Bachelor of Arts undergraduate pursuing a degree in Philosophy shared: “I know some of my friends have an expected salary of $9,000 a month.” She also indicated that she intends to pursue a career in academia upon graduation. 

Two Computer Science students interviewed stated how based on a 2022 report, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) computing and business double-degree students were the top earners.

“I think last we saw was $5,000 to $6,000,” one of them shared. 

Indeed, based on the 2022 Graduate Employment Survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, the average fresh graduate with a double degree in Business and Computer Engineering/Computing was the top earner, getting $6,300 a month.

NUS Computer Science fresh grads came in second in the ranking with $5,800 a month.


One mechanical engineering Masters’ student interviewed, on the other hand, shared how he expects his annual salary to be 300,000 yuan (S$58,598) a year, which works out to be close to $5,000 a month.

He, however, indicated that the expected salary is in Chinese yuan, as he intends to head back to China after completing his degree.

Over in the comments and on discussion forum Hardware Zone, many expressed surprise at the responses, with most of the debate centred on the undergrad who shared about her $10,000 salary expectation.

“What! All these interviewees have unrealistic expectations of their salary, $10k!!!” wrote one.

A few commiserated over how times have changed since they graduated.


Netizens were also sceptical about the high $10,000 starting salary for someone just embarking on his or her career.


Not all were pessimistic, however, with one sharing: “It is possible, especially in investment banking. Of course, it is not that easy.”

Others shared that it would depend on the undergraduates’ Grade Point Average (GPA).


One netizen noted how the video struck a chord, as he too, had expected a high salary after graduating.

“[The] reality is $10k is impossible la. Who would hire a fresh grad for $10k with no prior experience.”

In contrast, one commenter indicated that the student pursuing his Master’s was probably underestimating his ‘market value’.

“A Master of Mechanical Engineering [sic] graduate only expects his annual salary to be around USD$44k (S$58,000) in mainland China?! Dang!”

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