SINGAPORE: Wages of workers in the private sector rose 3.2 per cent in 2017 after accounting for inflation, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Wednesday (May 30).
At 3.8 per cent, nominal wage increase was higher than the year (3.1 per cent) before but higher inflation meant real wage growth was moderated, said the Report on Wage Practices 2017 released by MOM's manpower research and statistics department.
After accounting for the change in inflation, which was negative 0.5 per cent in 2016 and 0.6 per cent in 2017, real total wage growth was 3.2 per cent last year, slightly lower than the 3.6 per cent seen in 2016.
Last year, 65 per cent of companies raised their workers' wages and more workers had salary increases, MOM added. This was higher than 2016's 58 per cent.
Overall, there was an increase in the proportion of employees who worked in profitable establishments.
The proportion of establishments that cut total wages also fell, from 17 per cent in 2016 to 12 per cent in 2017. As a result, the proportion of employees who received wage increases also rose slightly from 75 per cent in 2016 to 78 per cent in 2017.
The average wage increase for this group of employees was 5.1 per cent, higher than 2016's 4.9 per cent.
The percentage of employees who received wage cuts dipped from 13 per cent in 2016 to 10 per cent in 2017. The average wage cut for this group of workers was 3.9 per cent, lower than the 5 per cent cut in 2016.
More companies (62 per cent) with low-wage employees earning a monthly basic wage of up to S$1,200 gave raises to these employees in 2017, up from 40 per cent in 2016. The basic wage increase for low-wage employees was 8.9 per cent, MOM said.
Industries that raised wages include professional services, accommodation and food services, infocomm, finance and insurance, wholesale and retail trade, and manufacturing. The workers that missed out were in transportation and storage, administrative and support, and real estate, according to MOM's survey findings.
MOM's survey on annual wage changes covered 4,900 private establishments with at least 10 employees each, yielding a survey response rate of 89 per cent.