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Singapore employers were more restrained in granting salary increases to their workers last year due to the economic downturn and increased business costs, according to a 2008 report on wages.
The report, released today by the Manpower Ministry, said total wages comprising basic wages and bonuses in the private sector rose by 4.2 percent in 2008, down from the growth of 5.9 percent in 2007.
The moderation in total wage increase last year stemmed from the drop in bonus payout from 2.36 months in 2007 to 2.31 months in 2008, it said.
The basic wage increase (4.4 percent) was broadly unchanged from 2007 (4.3 percent).
The report said labour productivity declined by 7.8 percent, deeper than the drop of 0.8 percent in 2007, reflecting slower gross domestic product growth and strong employment gains in the first half of 2008.
While real wages also declined in 2008, the drop (total: -2.3 percent; basic: -2.1 percent) was less than the contraction in productivity (-7.8 percent).
Jobs requiring higher skills and knowledge continued to command higher wages, it said.
In June 2008, the median monthly gross wages was the highest for managers (S$6,400), followed by professionals (S$4,405) and associate professionals & technicians (S$3,000).
Clerical (S$1,960) and sales and service workers (S$1,849) were paid close to S$2,000.
Among blue-collar occupations, the production craftsmen (S$2,137) and plant and machine operators (S$2,009) were paid much more than the group of cleaners, labourers and related workers (S$975).
The report said wages were generally observed to rise with age as workers gained experience and skills and became more productive over the years.