HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Real wage growth slumped to 3.2% in 2017

It was hit by a 0.6% jump in inflation.

Nominal wage increase in Singapore's private sector jumped 3.8% in 2017, higher than the 3.1% growth last year. However, due to increased inflation (+0.6%), real wage growth moderated from 3.6% in 2016 to 3.2% in 2017, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed.

According to its report on wage practices, in most industries, nominal total wage growth in 2017 was maintained at or higher than last year’s levels. "These industries include professional services, accommodation & food services, infocomm, finance & insurance, wholesale & retail trade, and manufacturing. The exceptions were transportation & storage, administrative & support and real estate," MOM said.

The proportion of profitable establishments rose in industries such as infocomm, and wholesale & retail trade, but declined in community, social & personal services and construction. "Overall, this led to an increase in the proportion of employees who worked in profitable establishments. There were also more employees in profitable establishments that performed as well or better than last year," MOM added.

More establishments were able to raise their employees’ total wages in 2017 (65%) compared to 2016 (58%). Meanwhile, the proportion of establishments that cut total wages also fell, from 17% in 2016 to 12% in 2017. 

As a result, the proportion of employees who received wage increases also rose from 75% in 2016 to 78% in 2017. The average wage increase for this group of employees was higher in 2017 (5.1%) compared to 2016 (4.9%).

The proportion of employees who received wage cuts decreased from 13% in 2016 to 10% in 2017. The average wage cut for them was lower in 2017 (-3.9%) compared to 2016 (-5.0%). 

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