Connect with us

Money

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 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 $4,680 in 2021. This was a 3% increase compared to 2020, and even higher than the pre-pandemic high in 2019. Over the past 10 years, the median income has actually risen 44%, or 3.7% per annum, from $3,249 in 2011. It’s important to also note that these figures are inclusive of CPF contributions from employers. The median monthly income from work in Singapore (excluding employer CPF contributions) is $4,000 in 2021 – with no change from 2020.

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 We 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 a bigger pay 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 2020 report, this is exactly true.

Age Group 2021 Median Monthly Salary  2020 Median Monthly Salary  Change (%)
15 – 19 $1,170 $1,170
20 – 24 $2,691 $2,793 -3.7%
25 – 29 $4,095 $4,056 1.0%
30 – 34 $5,222 $5,265 -0.8%
35 – 39 $6,102 $6,143 -0.7%
40 – 44 $6,825 $6,435 6.1%
45 – 49 $5,958 $5,850 1.8%
50 – 54 $5,070 $4,719 7.4%
55 – 59 $3,729 $3,500 6.5%
60 & Over $2,543 $2,330 9.1%

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2021 report; 2020 report

Looking at the numbers, we should be able to visualise a person’s salary rising as they grow older, up until they hit about 44, and then salaries start to go down.

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 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. The reasons may be debated to no end – whether it’s logical for there to be or not – but it does exist.

  Men’s Median Monthly Salary (2021)

 

Men’s Median Monthly Salary (2020) Women’s Median Monthly Salary (2021) Women’s Median Monthly Salary (2020)
Median Salary (including Employer’s CPF Contributions) $4,875 $4,719 $4,437 $4,374

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2021 report; 2020 report

Comparing salary levels, it does look like men generally earn more than women. Again, this is a blanket statement, and doesn’t take into account much else.

When looking at the statistics, men experienced close to 3.3% increase in salary, while women saw a 1.4% gain in salary compared to 2020. While men saw a better pay increase in 2021, we should also take into context that during the pandemic in 2020, men saw their pay decline about 2%, while women’s pay increase 1% on aggregate.

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

Age Group Men’s Median Monthly Salary (2021) Women’ Median Monthly Salary (2021)
15 – 19 $936 $1,287
20 – 24 $2,457 $2,848
25 – 29 $4,095 $4,095
30 – 34 $5,315 $5,070
35 – 39 $6,435 $5,850
40 – 44 $7,211 $6,143
45 – 49 $6,804 $5,460
50 – 54 $5,450 $4,680
55 – 59 $3,900 $3,550
60 & Over $2,688 $2,362

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2021 report

For both men and women, salaries tend to change in a similar manner – going up until about 44 years-old and then declining.

However, from the statistics, we can also see that females actually earn more money at a younger age compared to males. In fact, up until 29 years-old, females earn more or the same amount compared to men. It’s only after 30 that men start to earn more.

There can be some explanations for this. 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) – this is also seen in their wages generally legging behind 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 at this age that the median salary of females also start lagging behind males. One reason for the salary lag could be the extra attention females have to dedicate to their children at this age group and beyond.

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 $2,048
Secondary $3,145
Post-Secondary (Non-Tertiary) $3,159
Diploma & Professional Qualification $4,256
Degree $7,351

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2021 report

Again, no surprises that those who have below secondary-level education are earning the lowest median income while degree-holders earn the most.

Read Also: NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD, SIT & SUSS: Complete Guide For Local University Courses Fees And How Much Starting Salary You Will Earn As A Fresh Graduate

Perhaps, what is of 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 that have secondary school education earn more than 50% more than those with below secondary school education.

Similarly, someone with diploma and professional qualifications lag 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 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.

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 with 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 point 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. The Others had the biggest proportion of their 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. 

Listen to our podcast, where we have in-depth discussions on finance topics that matter to you.