Singapore’s private sector employees enjoyed higher wage growth and lower salary cuts in 2017: MOM

The proportion of employees who worked in profitable establishments also saw an overall increase, particularly in the infocomm and wholesale & retail trade industries.
The Straits Times

Private sector employees in Singapore received higher wages in 2017 compared to the previous year albeit a moderate increase after taking inflation into account, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a statement on Wednesday (May 30).

According to the Report on Wage Practices 2017 published by the ministry’s Manpower Research and Statistics Department, higher nominal wage growth was in 2017 (3.8%) than in 2016 (3.1%).

However, due to changes in inflation from -0.5% in 2016 to 0.6% in 2017, real total wage growth fell slightly from 3.6% to 3.2% year-on-year.

The findings are based on data obtained from MOM’s Survey on Annual Wage Changes 2017 which covers 4,900 private establishment that each have at least 10 employees. The survey response rate was reported to be 89%.

MOM highlighted an overall increase in proportion of employees who worked in profitable establishments, noting such a rise in industries like infocomm and wholesale and retail trade.

Moreover, a larger proportion of establishments have raised their employees’ total wages in 2017 (65%) than in 2016 (58%). Fewer establishments have cut total wages as well, from 17% in 2016 to 12% in 2017.

Consequently, the proportion of employees who received wage increases also rose marginally year-on-year from 75% to 78%.

The average wage increase for this particular group of employees was recorded to be higher in 2017 (5.1%) than in 2016 (4.9%), whereas the proportion of employees who got their wages cut slid from 13% to 10% within the same time period. Average wage cuts were lower in 2017 (-3.9%) compared to 2016 (-5%).

A significantly larger percentage of establishments with low-wage employees earning a monthly basic wage amounting to S$1,200 ($892) granted wage increases to these employees in 2017 (62%), up from 40% in 2016. Basic wage increase for low-wage employees was found to be 8.9%.

For most industries, nominal total wage growth in 2017 was maintained at or higher than last year’s levels, said MOM. These include professional services, accommodation and food services, infocomm, finance & insurance, wholesale and retail trade, and manufacturing.

On the contrary, industries that registered lower wage growth include the transportation & storage, administrative & support and real estate sectors.