College grads earning more, says gov’t data

By Stephanie Chao ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Education and Labor Ministry released data on employment for university graduates Wednesday, confirming positive wage growth and debunking the nation’s previous NT$22,000 average starting salary among new graduates.

Deputy Education Minister Chen Der-hwa (陳德華) said the data will likely become a reference for school enrollment figures in the future. More open data analysis will be done according to each academic discipline, Chen said. The Ministry of Education (MOE, 教育部) will reportedly refer to the data to distribute grants for private institutions, considering factors such as the academic department’s employment rate post-graduation and wage levels. The Cabinet-led survey on higher-education graduates from school years 2010 to 2013, totaling around 8 million pieces of data, was taken from a Labor Ministry analysis based on labor insurance, and an Education Ministry analysis of national tax data.

On average, graduates with a bachelor’s degree or from junior colleges earned NT$24,000 to NT$26,000 per month in their first year after graduation, Chen said. After that, wages make a leap to over NT$30,000.

For Ph.D. graduates and working students aged under 35, average wages start off at NT$74,000 and increase to around NT$92,000 in the second year after graduation, while those aged 35 and above earn a monthly average of NT$100,000 in the first year. Master’s degree graduates and working students reported earning NT$50,000 to NT$80,000 on average in the second year after graduation.  The MOE statistics also show that the industry a graduate works in is a decisive factor in determining income.

A Ph.D. graduate on average earned NT$141,000 in the electronics industry four years after graduation, which is 3.5 times more than a graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

Prospects are bleaker for bachelor’s graduates in industries such as fabricated metal or mechanical equipment, and junior college graduates in basic metals or fabricated metal industries still earned less than NT$30,000 even in the fourth year after graduation. MOE data showed that Ph.D. and master’s graduates were more stable and less likely to switch jobs, compared with their younger counterparts holding bachelor’s degrees or having graduated from junior colleges.

Data showed only 30 percent of such graduates would still be in the same job three years after graduation.

25K Min. Wage for Grads: MOL

According to the MOL statistics, 33.59 percent of university graduates were able to find their first job within three months of graduation.

At least 78 percent of graduates were insured three months after graduation, MOL Secretary-General Chung Chin-chi (鍾錦季) said.

Those holding bachelor’s degrees on average earned NT$31,000 three years after graduation, compared to their starting salary of NT$25,000.

Chung said that while students holding bachelor’s degrees had low starting pay soon after graduation, their prospects looked better after three years.

The MOL will aim its employment counseling at undergraduate students, as at least 89 percent reported earning low wages, with the largest portion, around 40 percent, working in the service sector.