These are REAL, ACTUAL starting salaries for graduates fresh out of school!

By Adele Chan

This morning, I was forwarded this:

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Have a look at the comments. While I personally agree with Andrew, official survey results published by The Straits Times are telling us that the median monthly salary is $3,360 (quite close to $3,500). It’s not wrong; but we need to take this into context, and stress on the word MEDIAN. A lot of these surveys also tell us what you’ll earn with various degrees, (What you should earn? According to the school?), but not what you will actually earn with actual jobs.

This is an ongoing topic that interests everybody — fresh grads and employers alike. As I was scrolling through Facebook earlier, this popped up on my newsfeed:

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And then in the course of my research, I discovered that there’s an NTU Business School Book, that says, “Fresh grads can expect $3,500 and up” — apparently supported by an MOE survey.

So, while everyone else is publishing statistics and school surveys, I thought I’d ask around my circle of friends what monthly salaries they offer fresh graduates who apply to their companies (not all industries are represented here. Just the ones I have friends in.) Some things to NOTE: I promised them anonymity, as all of these were told to me in an unofficial capacity (meaning they weren’t speaking on behalf of their companies, but just telling me truths and facts as a friend). Here goes an example of my conversation:

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And I know much of this info can be found online with some smart Googling, but I wanted to hear it for myself — actual starting salaries that are offered to those fresh out of school. So everything below was told to me by people I know. And so I know this information to be real.

Alright then, HERE GOES:

Let’s start with Media and Press! Because, that’s what we are, and everyone at NYLON is going to be reading this intently the minute it gets posted. And like everything in life, there’s a salary range which depends on whether you’re a polytechnic graduate, whether you have first class Honours, which school you’re from, and other factors like whether you bring any relevant internship experience with you, and how long.


Media:
Entry Level Writer, $1,800 to $2,500
Entry Level Designer, $1,500 to $2,000
Public Relations Agency:
Entry Level Public Relations Executive, $2,200 to $2,500
Advertising Agency:
Entry Level Positions (Copywriter, Designer, Account Management), $2,500
Media Planning Agency:
Entry Level Positions (Planner, Account Management), $2,400 to $2,600
Multi-National Beauty Company:
Entry Level Communications / Marketing, $2,300 to $2,800
Fashion Retail Company:
Entry Level Communications / Marketing, $2,000 to $2,100 (Tertiary)
Entry Level Communications / Marketing, $2,300 (Degree)
Luxury Fashion House:
Entry Level Position, from $2,000
Clubs / Nightlife:
Entry Level Communications / Marketing, $2,000+


So if you’re getting much more than the above, know that your company is paying you well, and appreciate it. Here are some additional industries, outside of the Media / Fashion / Beauty business…

Education:
Entry Level Teacher, $3,000
Engineering:
Entry Level Engineer, $3,200
Banking:
Entry Level Bank Staff, $3,300
Law Firm:
Entry Level Position, $5,000
Dental Clinic:
Entry Level Dentist, $5,000
This is my conversation with my friend who’s the lawyer:

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In summary, if you want to work in the media, fashion or beauty industry, it’s unlikely that you’ll secure a starting pay of $3,500, regardless of what you read online. Try your luck at Facebook; I heard their grads get hired straight into Account Manager roles, and with salaries to match (I don’t know how true this is). Or change your profession and go study law or dentistry.

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