The Edge Singapore called out by two ministries for inaccurate data on jobless graduates

Business publication ‘The Edge Singapore’ had to carry clarifications on its report on unemployment levels among graduates. — TODAY file pic
Business publication ‘The Edge Singapore’ had to carry clarifications on its report on unemployment levels among graduates. — TODAY file pic

SINGAPORE, July 6 — An article by business weekly The Edge Singapore stating that only “...41.6 per cent of degree holders between the ages of 20 and 29” were employed in Singapore has prompted two government ministries to issue a clarification on the inaccuracies published.

In a joint clarification sent to several news outlets yesterday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Education (MOE) said that both the print and online versions of the article had “quoted MOM’s employment statistics out of context and contained inaccuracies” about youth and graduate unemployment.

In the original print article titled Young, Educated and Jobless published on June 27, it was written that “in 2018, 149.4 residents out of 359.4, or 41.6 per cent of degree holders between the ages of 20 and 29 were employed”.

The article went on to say that this translated into “roughly 58 per cent” of university graduates who were unemployed.

In its clarification, the ministries said that these statements were wrong, explaining that the “41.6 per cent” referred to the proportion of employed residents aged between 20 and 29 who were degree-holders, and not the employment rate.

The ministries also said that MOM’s first-quarter labour market report this year — which was cited by The Edge Singapore — had stated that 84.4 per cent of resident degree-holders aged between 20 and 29 were employed last year.

“As for the remainder, a significant proportion are economically inactive,” they said, adding that the unemployment rate of resident degree-holders in this age group was 7.3 per cent for June last year.

“Like most countries, youth unemployment rate in Singapore is also higher than the overall unemployment rate, because of higher job search activities of the young.”

Incorrect ratio

In the same article, The Edge Singapore also wrote that “the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons is 1:1:08, indicating that there are more job seekers than positions available”.

The ministries pointed out that in the same MOM labour market report, the ratio was 1.08:1, meaning there are more positions available than jobseekers.

MOE and MOM said that they had asked The Edge Singapore to correct the errors on July 3 for the print edition and that the clarification has been carried in full in this week’s edition of the publication.

‘Misleading’ headline

Apart from correcting the figures, the ministries also called the original headline of the online article “misleading”.

The headline was: “Close to 6 in 10 young graduates unemployed in 2018: MOM”.

After their request for a correction, the headline has since been changed to say: “Young Singaporeans face higher unemployment levels compared to older peers: MOM data”.

The online article has also been updated to reflect the corrections. — TODAY

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