Graduate under-employment rises as more take to the gig economy, The Business Times, 14 March 2018

The Business Times (BT) carried an article, which looked into the increasing number of graduates taking to the gig economy, with 10.6% reporting that they are in freelance, part-time or temporary jobs, up from 9.7% in 2016, based on the Joint Graduate Employment Survey. BT interviewed Yale-NUS graduate Reuben Su (Class of 2017), who shared that he started applying for marketing jobs and positions in management associate programmes half a year before graduating from the College. As he did not net a full-time job by his May 2017 graduation, he began doing freelance design work. He has since been doing freelance work in social media management, videography and event planning. On being a freelancer, Reuben said, “My schedule can be a bit crazy and manic, but I’d also like to think I’m embracing the future”. Reuben also shared that his work does not bear much relevance to his academic training, but he applies skills cultivated in extra-curriculars in design and event management. The article carried opinions from experts who highlighted that there may be a cause for concern that some of those who are freelancing may be over-qualified for the jobs they are doing, since the surveys do not track the nature of the employment. BT interviewed Maybank economist Dr Chua Hak Bin who said that there is some speculation that more millennials might be going for graduate studies, freelance or gig economy jobs and may not be counted in the data because part of that might be secondary or part-time jobs. Dr Chua added that “some could be graduates in certain degrees, such as in the humanities, who could be struggling”.

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