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Real pay in Singapore expected to rise 3% in 2020: survey

Office workers cross a street in Singapore's central business district, April 27, 2017. (PHOTO: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE — The average real salary increase for workers in Singapore is forecast to be 3 per cent in 2020 after factoring in inflation of 1 per cent, according to a survey released on Monday (11 November).

The salary estimate is lower than a 3.3 per cent rise in 2019, a global survey by ECA International showed.

“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 Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at the information and software provider.

The projected salary increase in Singapore next year is more than double that of Hong Kong’s 1.4 per cent rise and also higher than in Taiwan and Japan.

ECA's Salary Trends Survey 2019/2020 (Source: ECA International)

The 3.2 per cent salary increase in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be much higher than the global average of 1.4 per cent and almost three times the European average of 1.1 per cent.

“This is a trend that we have seen for many years now due to low inflation and rising productivity in many Asian economies, resulting in the rapid growth of salaries compared to other regions,” said Quane.

Asian economies account for 13 out of the top 20 salary increases.

India tops the global list, with its workers forecast to receive a salary increase of 5.4 per cent. Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand round off the top five economies with the highest salary rise at 5.1 per cent, 4.6 per cent, 4.2 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

China is expected to maintain its place in the global top 10 for salary increases with a rise of 3.6 per cent despite signs of a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy amid its ongoing trade war with the US.

In Malaysia, workers are expected to see a big drop in their salary increase to 2.9 per cent in 2020 from 4 per cent this year due to a surge in inflation to 2.1 per cent from 1 per cent over the same period.

The survey is based on information collected from 307 multinational companies in 68 economies from August to September this year.

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