Salary comparison isn’t anything new. We all have a desire to know how we compare to others. On the positive, knowing how much we earn compared to our peers can help us evaluate our career options and find out if we are being underpaid for the work we are doing. On the negative, it can lead to insidious comparisons with our peers and needless job-hopping to find a higher paying job. After all, a career is more than just a salary. A career should also encompass our values, goals and skills development.
If you are curious about how much you are earning compared to your peers, here’s a deep dive into MOM’s Labour Force in Singapore 2021 report and the median income in Singapore.
Note: All figures are extracted from MOM’s Labour Force in Singapore 2021 report and based on the June 2021 numbers.
Average Salary In Singapore By Age Group
According to MOM, the median gross monthly income from work (excluding employer CPF) is $4,000 for full-time employed residents. This figure includes employee CPF and is what most of us see as our gross monthly salary.
|Age (Years)||Median Gross Monthly Income From Work (Excluding Employer CPF)|
|15 – 19||$1,000|
|20 – 24||$2,329|
|25 – 29||$3,500|
|30 – 34||$4,500|
|35 – 39||$5,308|
|40 – 44||$5,958|
|45 – 49||$5,200|
|50 – 54||$4,500|
|55 – 59||$3,277|
|60 & Over||$2,400|
While MOM’s data starts at the age of 15 to 19, do note that this data is only for full-time employment which is uncommon for this age group.
In general, the median salaries increase as we age, from $2,329 during our early 20s to $5,958 in our early 40s. Between 20-24 and 25-29 years old, the median salary increases the most by $1,171 (or 50%), followed by 30-34 years old where the salary increase is $1,000 (or 29%). If you started working between 15-19 years old, the jump is most significant at $1,329 or 133%.
Our salaries peak from 40 to 44 years old at $5,958 (this is an increase from $5,500 in 2020) and drop significantly after 49 years old. Most of us would advance in our careers between 20s to 40s. Some of us may choose to retire or take a step back from our careers to focus on other areas in life, such as family when we reach our late 40s.
An interesting observation is that even though the official retirement age is 67 years old, the median salary already started declining for full-time employment from 45 years old.
Average Salary Varies Across The Different Occupations For The Different Age Groups
In general, you are more likely to earn above the average salary if you are a PMET, working in the occupation of managers & administrators, professionals and associate professionals & technicians.
Among the 15-19 years old, the most common occupation is clerical support workers with a median salary of $800. The other occupations do not have enough data due to the small number covered as indicated by “s”.
Between the ages of 20 and 24, professionals and associate professionals & technicians earn more than the overall average. From age 25 and onwards, managers and administrators earn most of the listed occupations.
( Years )
|Total||Managers & Administrators
(Including Working Proprietors)
|15 – 19||1,000||s||s||s||800||s||s||s||s|
|20 – 24||2,329||s||3,033||2,500||1,750||2,000||s||2,000||1,700|
|25 – 29||3,500||4,900||4,483||3,227||2,500||2,500||2,396||2,000||2,000|
|30 – 34||4,500||6,778||5,600||3,646||2,600||3,000||2,708||2,058||1,700|
|35 – 39||5,308||8,750||6,504||4,000||2,708||2,900||2,751||2,400||1,950|
|40 – 44||5,958||9,513||7,538||4,083||2,947||2,500||3,142||2,383||1,842|
|45 – 49||5,200||10,000||7,367||4,120||3,000||2,404||2,817||2,151||1,700|
|50 – 54||4,500||9,937||7,000||4,000||3,033||2,291||2,500||2,000||1,528|
|55 – 59||3,277||9,858||7,083||3,800||2,958||2,100||2,708||2,000||1,500|
|60 & Over||2,400||6,500||6,413||3,495||2,500||1,820||2,212||1,800||1,400|
Interestingly, while managers & administrators see a large drop in their salaries (more than $1,000) at 60 and over, other occupations continue to earn close to their median salaries.
It is also worth noting that with the policy change to pay all local employees the local qualifying salary (currently set at $1,400), the average salary for cleaners, labourers & related workers (including those aged 60 and over) is at least $1,400 or higher.
Average Salary Varies Across The Different Qualifications For The Different Age Groups
We also take a look at qualifications which tends to be correlated with occupations.
|Age ( Years )||Total||Degree||Diploma &
|15 – 19||1,000||s||s||1,500||700||s|
|20 – 24||2,329||3,150||2,383||1,600||1,842||s|
|25 – 29||3,500||4,098||2,823||2,455||2,383||2,167|
|30 – 34||4,500||5,500||3,500||2,800||2,750||2,350|
|35 – 39||5,308||7,000||4,063||2,917||2,850||2,500|
|40 – 44||5,958||8,167||4,658||3,038||2,823||2,500|
|45 – 49||5,200||8,854||4,720||3,375||3,000||2,167|
|50 – 54||4,500||8,762||4,604||3,467||3,000||2,000|
|55 – 59||3,277||8,960||4,692||3,200||3,000||2,000|
|60 & Over||2,400||7,500||3,938||2,516||2,500||1,625|
You are more likely to earn more than the median salary in Singapore if you hold a degree or diploma and professional qualification. In general, the higher your educational qualifications, the more likely you are to earn a salary higher than the median. Perhaps, this justifies the Singaporean parents’ pursuit of academic excellence for their children.
Interestingly, as a degree holder, you are likely to continue to earn more than the average degree holder in your 60s and older. Likewise, diploma holders are also likely to continue to earn more than the average for their qualification level in their retirement years if they choose to continue full-time employment.
Median Salary Peaks In Your 40s
Overall, across age groups, occupations and qualification attainment, median salaries peak during the 40s. Professional occupations and higher academic qualification attainment tend to peak during the late 40s while other occupations and qualification attainment tend to peak earlier during the early 40s.
For those of us who subscribe to the notion of Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE), this may be just the motivation for us to work hard during the years before 45 years old, accumulate our nest egg and step down from the grind after 45. For those of us who choose to continue working, we can take comfort that for most non-PMET jobs, our salaries do not see a huge drop even in our 60s.
This article was originally published on 28 September 2021 and updated with new information.
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