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What’s The Median Salary In Singapore (At Every Age, Gender, Education and Race)

Are you earning more or less than your peers?


Median Salary in Singapore 2020

We all want to earn a good salary. While it’s hard to articulate what a good salary should be, it’s much easier if we can affix a number simply because that is the benchmark level in Singapore – which is exactly what this article aims to find out.

However, depending on how we want to benchmark ourselves, the figure we compare our salary against is going to be vastly different. We look at the different types of median income in Singapore – be it on a national level, in particular age groups, between genders and races, and even contrasting against the education we’ve had and the homes we live in.

What Is The Median Salary In Singapore?

The median monthly income from work in Singapore was $5,197 in 2023. This was a 2.5% increase compared to the 2022 median salary of $5,070. Over the past 10 years, the median income has actually risen over 40%, or over 3.4% p.a., from $3,705 in 2013.

It’s important to also note that these figures are inclusive of Employer CPF contributions. The median monthly income from work in Singapore (excluding employer CPF contributions) is $4,550 in 2023 – also rising close to 3.4% p.a.

Year Median Income (inclusive of CPF) Median Income (excluding employer CPF
2013 $3,705 $3,250
2014 $3,770 $3,276
2015 $3,949 $3,467
2016 $4,056 $3,500
2017 $4,232 $3,749
2018 $4,437 $3,800
2019 $4,563 $4,000
2020 $4,534 $4,000
2021 $4,680 $4,000
2022 $5,070 $4,500
2023 $5,197 $4,550

Source: MOM

Read Also: Singapore Salary Guide: How The Median Income Has Increased Over The Years (And Why This Figure Really Should Not Matter)

How Much Should You Be Earning At Every Age Group?

It’s unlikely that we will earn the median age from the day we start working. As we get older, we expect to gain experience and climb the corporate ladder. This should lead to bigger salaries for older workers – up to a certain point – and then we can expect salaries to taper off as employers lean towards younger employees.

According to the Labour Force in Singapore 2023 report, this is exactly true.

Age Group 2023 Median Monthly Salary  2022 Median Monthly Salary  Change (%)
15 – 19 $1,580 $1,638 -3.5%
20 – 24 $3,042 $2,925 4.0%
25 – 29 $4,680 $4,446 5.3%
30 – 34 $5,850 $5,792 1.0%
35 – 39 $6,718 $6,825 -1.6%
40 – 44 $7,098 $6,825 4.0%
45 – 49 $6,825 $6,581 3.7%
50 – 54 $5,850 $5,850 0.0%
55 – 59 $4,351 $4,323 0.6%
60 & Over $2,905 $2,621 10.8%

 

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2023 report; 2022 report

Looking at the numbers, we should be able to visualise an average person’s career trajectory. Their salaries tend to rise as they become more experienced workers, up until they hit about 44, and then salaries start to go down. This is perhaps due to several reasons that we can imagine, including preferring to work less hours, less stressful jobs, inability to keep up with new workplace skills, amongst others.

After enjoying a 40% increase in salaries in 2022, income levels for those aged 15 to 19 stabilised this year – tapering 3.5%. The only other group who earned less in 2023 were those arguably in their prime and with the most financial responsibilities (between the ages of 35 to 39). In general, older workers also saw pay stagnating, with those between 50 to 59 seeing little gains. This did not stop those aged 60 and above to earn over 10% more in 2023 though.

Read Also: Complete Guide To Employer’s CPF Contributions In Singapore (2022) 

Do Men Earn More Than Women In Singapore?

A frequently discussed topic is the gender pay gap. While Singapore offers a lot of opportunities to both men and women, there still looks to be a gender pay gap in the workforce, with men earning about 8% more. The reasons may be debated to no end – whether it’s logical for there to be or not – but it does exist.

Nevertheless, while men did not enjoy a significant salary bump in 2023, women earned about 2.5% more on average.

  Men’s Median Monthly Salary (2023)

 

Men’s Median Monthly Salary (2022) Women’s Median Monthly Salary (2023) Women’s Median Monthly Salary (2022)
Median Salary (including Employer’s CPF Contributions) $5,460 $$5,450 $5,070 $4,948

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2023 report; 2022 report

We can break gender salaries down even further to uncover more information.

Age Group Men’s Median Monthly Salary (2023) Women’ Median Monthly Salary (2023)
15 – 19 $960 $1,901
20 – 24 $2,691 $3,291
25 – 29 $4,563 $4,706
30 – 34 $5,850 $5,796
35 – 39 $7,387 $6,143
40 – 44 $7,776 $6,435
45 – 49 $7,664 $6,084
50 – 54 $6,338 $5,324
55 – 59 $4,843 $3,990
60 & Over $3,000 $2,664

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2023 report

For both men and women, salaries tend to change similarly – rising until about 44 years-old and then declining.

From the numbers, we can also tell that females actually earn more money at a younger age compared to males. In fact, up until 29 years-old, females earn more than men. It’s only after 30 that men start to earn more.

Again, we can try to make sense of these statistics. Females in their teens tend to have access to better-paying work compared to males. Males also have to go through National Service (NS) and reservist cycles (especially in the first 10 years of their career) – and possibly have less work experience. This is also seen with males generally earning less than women.

In Singapore, the median age that citizen mothers have their first children is 30.6 years (according to the Population in Brief 2020). It is also at this age that the median salary of females starts falling behind males. One reason for the salary lag could be the extra time and effort females devote to their children at this age group and beyond.

On a broad level, men also tend to work more hours compared to women. This could be another reason to explain why men also tend to earn more. Based on the Labour Force in Singapore 2023 report, employed men tend to work 7.7% more hours per week compared to employed women. This tallies closely to the 8% more income that men earn on average compared to women.

Moreover, men are also more willing to put very long hours into work at the tail-ends. 8.6% of employed men worked 60 hours or more per week in 2023 compared to 3.9% of employed women. Even looking at a lower threshold, 19.4% of men worked 48 hours or more per week in 2023, compared to only 11.1% of women.

Read Also: What Is The Average Working Hours In Singapore For Full-Time And Part-Time Employees

How Much Should You Earn Based On Your Education Level?

The higher someone’s level of education goes, the more they should logically earn. This is something that’s also seen in the real-world statistics quite clearly.

Qualification Median Monthly Salary
Below Secondary $2,312
Secondary $3,346
Post-Secondary (Non-Tertiary) $3,276
Diploma & Professional Qualification $4,754
Degree $8,190

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2023 report

Again, it’s no surprise that those who have non-tertiary education earning (i.e. below secondary, secondary and post-secondary (non-tertiary) the lowest median income. On the other hand, it’s also not surprising that degree-holders earn the most. This perhaps accounts for the strong emphasis that the Singapore Government has put on ensuring more students receive poly and university education during Budget 2024 – via the ITE Progression Award scheme and SkillsFuture Level Up Programme.

Read Also: Championing Lifelong Learning: How Budget 2024 Supports Singaporeans To Upskill And Develop Their Full Potential

Another stat to note is the difference in median income of an individual with a secondary-level education compared to below secondary. While both are not tertiary level education, those with secondary school education earn nearly 50% more. Those are have only secondary education also outperformed those who went on to receive a post-secondary education that did not result in a Diploma & Professional Qualification.

Similarly, someone with a Diploma and Professional qualifications lags a long way behind degree holders. This is why many parents are perhaps not buying into the notion that you don’t need a degree to have a good-paying job.

How Much Should You Earn Based On The Industry You Work In?

Based on the industry we work in, we can also see a difference in the salary that we earn.

As we can see in the table below, those working in the 1) Financial & Insurance industries ($8,190), 2) Information and Communications ($7,320),  and 3) Public Administration & Defence and Education ($6,833) sectors were the highest earning groups of workers in Singapore.

Those working in 1) Accommodation & Food Services ($2,853), 2) Administrative and Support Services ($3,168) and 3) Transport & Storage ($3,554) earned the lowest salaries in 2023.

Those working in the Construction, Accommodation & Food Services and Administrative & Support Services industries saw the steepest wage increments from 2022 – getting an increment of 8% to 9% on average.

Industries 2023 2022  Change (%)
Overall $5,197 $5,070 2.5%
(A) Agriculture and Fishing; (B) Mining and Quarrying; (D) Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air-Conditioning Supply; (E) Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities $5,079 $5,176 -1.9%
(C) Manufacturing $5,460 $5,460 0.0%
(F) Construction $5,000 $4,583 9.1%
(G) Wholesale & Retail Trade $4,875 $4,817 1.2%
(H) Transportation & Storage $3,554 $3,510 1.3%
(I) Accommodation & Food Services $2,853 $2,640 8.1%
(J) Information and Communications $7,320 $7,000 4.6%
(K) Financial & Insurance Services $8,190 $8,190 0.0%
(L) Real Estate Services $4,777 $5,000 -4.5%
(M) Professional Services $6,435 $6,581 -2.2%
(N) Administrative and Support Services $3,168 $2,925 8.3%
(O) Public Administration & Defence; (P) Education $6,833 $6,962 -1.9%
(Q) Health & Social Services $4,817 $4,680 2.9%
(R) Arts, Entertainment & Recreation $4,095 $4,150 -1.3%
Other Community, Social & Personal Services: (S) Other Service Activities; (T) Activities of Households as Employers of Domestic Personnel; (U) Activities of Extra-Territorial Organisations and Bodies $3,721 $3,510 6.0%

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2023 report

How Well Are You Earning Compared To Others In Your Race?

The statistics revealed in Singapore typically do not compare against different races. However, we can look at the statistics to see how we are faring in proportionate to other workers within our same race. Do note that this is based on figures from 2020 – and not in line with the 2023 figures used in most other tables.

In the chart below, we can see that the 50th percentile of workers in Singapore are in the salary range of $4,000 to $4,999. This is corroborated by the median income statistics – which is $4,534 in 2020.

Source: Figures extracted from Census 2020

The 50th percentile of income for the respective races were:

  • Total: $4,000 to $4,999
  • Chinese: $4,000 to $4,999
  • Malays: $3,000 to $3,999
  • Indians: $4,000 to $4,999
  • Others: $5,000 to $5,999

Looking at the chart, we can also see that a smaller portion of Indians earn at the very lowest levels – which perhaps points to a more even distribution of salary levels for Indians. On the opposite end, a smaller proportion of Malays earned at the highest income levels compared to the total. Those grouped in Others race classification had the biggest proportion of people earning at the highest levels $15,000 & Above.

Read Also: What is Singapore’s Average Household Income And Why It Is Different From The Salaries We Earn?

 

This article was first published on 19 July 2021 and updated with new information. 

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