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Monthly median salary of entry-level social workers 'comparable with salaries of all fresh graduates': Masagos

Monthly median salary of entry-level social workers 'comparable with salaries of all fresh graduates': Masagos

Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli speaking in Parliament on Monday (Aug 2).

SINGAPORE: The monthly median salary of entry-level social workers increased from S$3,400 in 2015 and 2017 to S$3,600 in 2019, which is "comparable with the salaries of all fresh graduates", said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli. 

The monthly mean salary of these workers increased from S$3,500 in 2015 and 2017 to S$3,600 in 2019, he added. 

These figures are from the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) manpower and salary survey, which collected salary data of employees in the social service agencies in 2015, 2017 and 2019. 

Speaking in Parliament on Monday (Aug 2), Mr Masagos was responding to a question from MP Louis Ng (PAP-Nee Soon) about the starting salaries for social workers and whether MSF intends to recommend higher salaries for them. 

READ: 57 cleaning firms handed financial penalties since progressive wage model was implemented

“MSF and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) are committed in guiding the sector to pay competitive salaries for all social service professionals, including social workers,” he added. 

NCSS publishes sector salary guidelines for a range of professions in the social service sector, said Mr Masagos. 

“The guidelines are updated annually to keep pace with competing market and general wage movements,” he added, noting that most social service agencies adopt the guidelines. 

In a supplementary question, Mr Ng also asked whether the ministry will be proposing increases to the salaries of social workers in the next financial year. 

“I’m sure they’re not in it for the money, but I think a good salary would help in terms of retaining social workers, where I think there’s a problem there. Could I ask MSF what else it’s doing to retain social workers?” Mr Ng said.

READ: Salary dispute claims fell in 2020 despite economic downturn, COVID-19 restrictions

In response, Mr Masagos stressed that the salary guidelines do not only take into account the competition between different social service agencies but also competition for qualified staff that will move to other sectors. 

“And therefore, we want to make sure that it is at a level which is commensurate with the skills and market competition that these graduates or social workers can get,” he said.

“We should not be ahead of ourselves, we should not intervene (with) market forces unless it is drastically bad for our social workers. And even when we do, we must know when to hold out and not intervene all the time.” 

Source: CNA/hw(mi)

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