Singapore’s salary increase for 2020 is predicted at 3% – and that’s already way higher than the world average

The estimated average pay increase for Singapore in 2020 is 3 per cent – the highest in three years.
The Straits Times
  • Singapore’s average salary increase for 2020 is predicted to be 3% after inflation.

  • It was predicted to rise 2.6% in 2019, and 2.7% in 2018.

  • Singapore’s expected increase is “among the world’s highest”, with the largest increase going to India (5.4% after inflation).

  • Salaries here are expected to remain high, thanks to low inflation and a tight labour supply.

Singaporeans hoping for a huge salary jump next year year might be in for a disappointment, as the republic’s average salary increase is expected to be just three per cent after accounting for inflation, a new forecast claims.

Still, this is higher than last year’s 2.6 per cent prediction and 2.7 per cent in 2018.

In its annual Salary Trends Report published on Monday (Nov 11), mobility consultancy ECA International predicted an inflation rate of one per cent and an overall salary increase of four per cent for Singapore in 2020.

It obtained this figure from a global survey of anticipated salary increases for local national staff in 307 MNCs across various industries, including manufacturing, retail, transport, and finance.

Singapore’s three per cent increase was “among the world’s highest” given the predicted global average increase of 1.4 per cent, the report said.

The biggest increase went to India (5.4 per cent above inflation), followed by Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand.

The country with the lowest predicted salary increase was Argentina (-22 per cent), which suffered due to its 51 per cent inflation rate.

Nine of the top 10 countries on the salary growth ranking were from Asia, thanks to low inflation and rising productivity in many Asian economies, the report said.
ECA International

“The notably low level of inflation that Singapore has seen over the recent years, coupled with a tight labour supply and talent restrictions due to immigration constraints, implies that salary increases will remain relatively high,” said ECA International’s Asia director, Lee Quane.

“Singapore employees… will still see a larger increase than their regional neighbours, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan,” he added.

But the managing director of recruitment agency Robert Half Singapore, Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, said that pay raises were most often given to staff in specialised positions with low talent supply, such as cybersecurity specialists and developers.

As for the rest of Singapore, obtaining a pay rise would be “challenging”, as employers were reluctant to meet salary requests given the negative economic forecast for the coming year, creating a “dual economy” in raises, he added.

“For (specialised) positions, employers understand they need to offer above-average salaries and pay rises in order to secure and retain staff,” Imbert-Bouchard said.

“(For other roles), it’s of even greater importance for Singaporeans to understand how to demonstrate their value to a company through challenging times and beyond in order to differentiate from their peers and secure a salary increase.”

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