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Income growth slows in Singapore; median salary now above S$4,500: MOM report

Income growth slows in Singapore; median salary now above S$4,500: MOM report

File photo of office workers at Raffles Place in Singapore's CBD (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Workers in Singapore received a bump of 2.2 per cent in their income in 2019, according to the Labour Force in Singapore Advance Release report released on Thursday (Nov 28).

The nominal median income of Singapore residents on full-time employment increased this year to S$4,563 from the S$4,437 recorded in 2018, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) report said.

This year's 2.2 per cent real income growth is lower than the growth of 4.4 per cent in 2018.

Resident employment rate by age (in per cent).

From 2014 to 2019, real median income increased by 3.8 per cent annually - "significantly higher" than the 1.9 per cent annual growth in the preceding five years.

The findings were based on the Comprehensive Labour Force Survey conducted in mid-2019 by the ministry's research and statistics department.

Low-wage workers - those at the 20th percentile -  experienced 4.4 per cent annual growth in median income from 2014 to 2019, higher than the 3.8 per cent growth for those at the 50th percentile and significantly higher than in the preceding five years.

READ: More support for manufacturing firms looking to train PMETs as sector transforms


The employment rate for residents aged 25 to 64 inched up to 80.8 per cent in June 2019 from 80.3 per cent in June 2018.

Among those aged 65 and above, employment rate "rose firmly" to 27.6 per cent from 26.8 per cent last year.

Resident employment rate by age (in per cent).

Resident employment continued to grow this year despite "increasing economic headwinds", said MOM.

"However, the unemployment situation is uneven, affecting non-PMETs more than PMETs," it added.

Unemployment rate of resident PMETs and non-PMETs. (Graphics: MOM) ​​​​​​​


Unemployment among non-PMETs increased to 4.7 in June 2019 from 4.0 per cent a year prior, due to cyclical effects such as the US-China trade conflict which affected manufacturing output and retail trade.

But the increase in their long-term unemployment rate was "slight" - from 0.7 per cent to 0.8 per cent.

READ: Overall unemployment rate in Singapore inches up to 2.3% in Q3 - MOM

READ: Better job matching requires flexibility from jobseekers and employers: Josephine Teo

The proportion of resident workers on fixed-term contracts continued to increase to 7.6 per cent from 7.2 per cent last year, indicating that employers are more cautious on hiring amid uncertainty.

Permanent employees continued to form the vast majority among resident employees, even though their share dipped slightly from from 89.4 per cent to 89.3 per cent.

The ministry said it is closely monitoring the labour market with Workforce Singapore, and will support Singaporeans' employment through the Adapt and Grow initiative.

"We also encourage jobseekers to be open to opportunities in other sectors and occupations beyond what they are familiar with," it added.

Commenting on the labour report, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that the current outlook can be described as "persistent showers but with pockets of sunshine". 

Mrs Teo said that in spite of economic headwinds, companies were still hiring and local employment continued to grow.

Even in sectors hit by the trade tensions like manufacturing, there were about 6,000 manufacturing job vacancies in June this year. 

"That will remain our focus: Help people enter into jobs where there is potential for growth, where there's potential for advancement," she said. 

Source: CNA/jt(rw)


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