Flexibility, work environment and base salary all trend upwards as graduate preferences in Singapore shift due to the pandemic.

Flexibility, work environment and base salary all trend upwards as graduate preferences in Singapore shift due to the pandemic.

Google remains the most ideal employer for young business and IT talent. Engineers still favour A*STAR.

SINGAPORE, July 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Universum, a global leader in talent insights, shared the findings from the Singapore portion of its annual global talent survey. Having collected the opinions of over 7,000 students from Singapore's leading universities, the research sets out to track the career aspirations and preferences of Singapore's future talent pool. The study also recognises the most coveted employers based solely on collected responses.

Local champion A*STAR remained highly attractive to young talent in Singapore and retained its position as the most attractive employer among engineering and natural sciences students, while the Ministry of Social and Family Development gained two places and emerged as the most ideal employer for Singapore's humanities/liberal arts/education students. Google retains its position as the top choice for both business and IT talent.

Mike Parsons, managing director APAC for Universum, said; "Employers in Singapore have had a tough couple of years with things like circuit breakers and Great Resignations to content with. I have seen that the employers who have performed best are those who have been agile and not afraid to make big decisions and communicate them confidently. Those who have been less brave and waited it out have often lost ground."

Ms Rajaswari, group director, human resource, A*STAR, shared, "A*STAR is honoured to be recognised as the most attractive employer in Singapore for the engineering / natural sciences category for the second year running. We offer STEM talent a career in cross-disciplinary, cutting-edge R&D in the area of science, engineering and biomedicine. A*STAR is committed to developing our people and offers opportunities to our staff for professional and personal development as well as multiple career pathways to impact society and the economy. We will strive to remain an employer of choice for new graduates and our own people."

Salary expectations have increased significantly

The study shows a steep year-on-year increase in the salary expectations of students in Singapore, reinforcing the strong salary pressures felt in both the private and public sectors over the past year. Compared to the same survey last year, average salary expectations have increased by 10% to S$50,388 pa. It is clear that recent talent shortages have contributed to salary premiums, including among graduates, who are seeing employers competing fiercely for the best of them. The question is, how sustainable will this be and with a potential market correction looming, are these expectations still realistic, or will they be short-lived?

Disappointingly, the gap in salary expectations among male and female students increased this year. Males now expect 13% more than their female counterparts, compared to 10% in 2021. The gap is worst, however, among business talent, where males expect around 18% more. Although expectations do not necessarily translate into actual salaries, they can influence them and sustain inequality. This is something that employers need to be aware of if they want to maintain pay parity.

Singapore's position as a regional financial hub

Although dropping a few percentage points, banking remains the clear industry of choice among Singapore's up-and-coming business talent, with 52% of male and 39% of female business graduates selecting it as a top choice. The second choice among males is financial services and technology, which has many overlapping employers and choices for talent. For female business talent, e-Commerce would be their second most preferred industry.

Singapore's undergraduates say work-life balance comes before remuneration and job security

The survey also digs into talents' preferences and reveals that students now favour employers who offer better work-life balance, a friendly work environment, and position them better for high future earnings. These preferences now supersede secure employment and professional training and development on the wish list of young talent.  

Clearly driven by the pandemic-induced shift towards remote working, Singapore's 'Remote Natives' prove they value the ability to work remotely. Not only is this clearly shown in their employment preferences, the survey also saw an increase from 65% to 69% in students indicating their interest in remote working opportunities. 

Dora Kuo, regional client partner & employer branding advisor APAC for Universum, said, "Singapore's future workforce has had pretty consistent preferences for some time now, tending to favour employers who can offer them strong professional development. Whereas this is still highly attractive to talent, employers now need to consider what they are able to offer in terms of flexibility, working environment, and work/life balance, if they want to get themselves to the very front of the queue."

Overall students' top preferences



Encouraging work-life balance A friendly work environment High future earnings Secure employment Professional training and development A friendly work environment Secure employment Professional training and development Encouraging work-life balance High future earnings


The survey also shows that the notion of a job for life might become nearly non-existent, with only 11% of graduates believing it is best to try and stay with their first employer for as long as possible. Most graduates in Singapore (45%) feel that between 3 to 5 years is optimal, whilst slightly less (38%) feel 1 to 2 years is better.

Universum 2022

Students' discipline

Ideal Employer Ranking 2022


Google Apple J.P. Morgan Walt Disney Company Goldman Sachs Changi Airport Group Singapore Airlines DBS Shopee TikTok


Engineering/ Natural Sciences

A*STAR Google Apple ST Engineering Rolls-Royce Singapore Airlines Pfizer Dyson GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) Microsoft



Google Apple Microsoft Facebook Amazon Shopee TikTok Grab Government Technology Agency J.P. Morgan


Humanities/Liberal Arts/Education

Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) Ministry of Education (MOE) Google Walt Disney Company Apple Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Ministry of Home Affairs Ministry of Health (MOH) Ministry of Foreign Affairs TikTok



About the Universum 2022 Top 100 Ideal Employer Rankings – Singapore Edition

The results are based on the answers of 7,348 students studying for degrees in business/commerce, engineering/natural sciences, IT, humanities/liberal arts/education, law and health/medicine with 25,591 individual evaluations of 140 employers within each main field of study from October 2021 to May 2022. Each respondent is asked questions about their career preferences, expectations and employment related drivers and then presented with a list of 140 national and international employers, nominated by the target group through an independent and structured nomination and assessment process, which prevents companies unfairly influencing their positions. The rankings consist of those employers chosen most as an 'ideal' choice when working through a structured funnel-based methodology.

About Universum

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. Universum has over 30 years of peerless experience in the field of employer branding and is established in over 60 markets globally. Universum has a diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. With so much data, historically and geographically, Universum is uniquely positioned to deliver key insights to employers about how to attract and retain their future workforce. Our data-led, human and purposeful output has attracted over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. Find out more at https://universumglobal.com.


Source: Universum Communications Pte. Ltd
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