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Average Income in Singapore: Are You Earning Enough?

average income in singapore
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Who doesn’t want a good salary? When we talk about building wealth, a higher income will make that goal easier to attain, especially when you practice proper financial planning. Your salary is one of the best tools to ensure that you have a bright future ahead.

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Singapore, the median gross monthly income from work plus CPF contributions went up by 3.2% to S$4,680 in 2021. And according to Aon study, the median salary for Singaporeans is projected to rise to S$4,850 in 2022 and S$5,000 in 2023.

So how does your income measure up against the median income in Singapore? The benchmark used to compare your salary may vary. That said, you need to look at the different median salaries – by age groups, between genders, or by educational level.

Are Median and Average Income the Same?

Before we get started, it’s best to understand the difference between the median and average income. Although they are both important benchmarks, they are not the same.

Median salary indicates how much people are making at the midway point. It is the exact middle income earned by someone based on specific categories. It is a good indicator to understand where you stand compared to others in the same job or career field.

That said, if your income is higher than the median salary, then you’re making more than 50% of the population.

The average salary, on the other hand, is the mathematical mean of all salaries for that position. To get the average mean, you’ll need to sum up all the figures and divide the sum by the total number of figures.

What Is the Latest Median Income?

According to the latest data published by the Manpower Research & Statistics Department on 28 January 2022, the latest median monthly salary from full-time work in Singapore is S$4,680 in 2021.

Gross monthly income refers to the monthly salaries or wages including Employer CPF contributions and income tax. For self-employed individuals, it refers to the average monthly profits from their profession or business before personal income tax.

Here is the median income data for the past 10 years:

Year Median Monthly Salary (Including Employer CPF Contributions)
2011 S$3,249
2012 S$3,480
2013 S$3,705
2014 S$3,770
2015 S$3,949
2016 S$4,056
2017 S$4,232
2018 S$4,437
2019 S$4,563
2020 S$4,534
2021 S$4,680

Source: Comprehensive Labour Force Survey, Manpower Research & Statistics Department, MOM

Compared to 2011’s median monthly salary, there is a cumulative income growth of about 44%. This is an annualized increase of 3.7%. The median monthly income from full-time work in Singapore if we exclude employer CPF contributions is S$4,000 in 2021.

What Is the Latest Average Salary?

According to the data published by Trading Economics, the monthly wages in Singapore increased to S$6,282 in January 2022 from S$5,412 per month in the third quarter of 2021. The average salary includes employer CPF contributions.

How Much Should You Be Earning?

Median Salary in Singapore by Age

As we grow older, we gain more experience and skills. It is only typical that our wages rise as well. Here are the median salaries by age group:

Age Group 2021 Median Monthly Salary (Including Employer CPF Contributions) 2020 Median Monthly Salary (Including Employer CPF Contributions) 2019 Median Monthly Salary (Including Employer CPF Contributions)
15 – 19 S$1,170 S$1,170 S$1,053
20 – 24 S$2,691 S$2,793 S$2,730
25 – 29 S$4,095 S$4,056 S$4081
30 – 34 S$6,102S S$6,435 S$6,338
35 – 39 S$6,102 S$6,143 S$6,148
40 – 44 S$6,825 S$6,435 S$6,338
45 – 49 S$5,958 S$5,850 S$5,850
50 – 54 S$5,070 S$4,719 S$4,680
55 – 59 S$3,729 S$3,500 S$3.563
60 & Over S$2,534 S$2,330 S$2,562

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2021 report; 2020 report

From the table above, you can see that the wage increase doesn’t go infinitely. The peak of increase is at the age of 40 to 44. Then our wages start tapering off at age 50 and above.

It is only natural that you won’t be earning as much during your retirement years. That said, it’s best to properly plan your finances during your prime working years. Allocate a portion of your salary towards savings so you’ll have a comfortable retirement lifestyle.

Median Salary in Singapore by Gender

There will always be discussions regarding the age-old gender pay gap not only in Singapore but also in other developed countries. So are males earning more than females?

The short answer is yes. Take a look at the median salary for both males and females for the past decade:

  Median Monthly Income (Including Employer CPF Contributions)
Year Male Female Difference in absolute dollars? Difference in percentage?
2011 S$3,441 S$3,099 S$342 11.0%
2012 S$3,640 S$3,230 S$410 12.7%
2013 S$3,915 S$3,480 S$435 12.5%
2014 S$4,000 S$3,518 S$482 13.7%
2015 S$4,118 S$3,744 S$374 10.0%
2016 S$4,241 S$3,803 S$438 11.5%
2017 S$4,437 S$4,027 S$410 10.2%
2018 S$4,680 S$4,095 S$585 14.3%
2019 S$4,810 S$4,329 S$481 11.1%
2020 S$4,719 S$4,374 S$345 7.9%
2021 S$4,875 S$4,437 S$438 9.9%

From the table above, the men’s median income was 9.9% higher than the women’s in 2021. This figure is higher than the previous years when men earned 7.9% higher than women.

 However, if you compare this with the percentage difference from 10 years ago, the gender pay gap is relatively lower in recent years.

We can breakdown the gender salaries further by age:

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

Based on the data above, you can see that women earn more than males between ages 15 and 24. Then at the age of 25 to 29, the median salaries for both genders are the same. It is only at the age of 30 and above that men start to earn more than women.

There are several factors that play a role in the pay gap, including:

  • The full-time National Service that men have to go through for 2 years.
  • Men also need to complete their 10-year reservist cycle.
  • The median age that women in Singapore have their first children is in their 30s. Because of this, mothers become more dedicated to their children and take on less intense jobs. This may be one of the reasons why the median salaries of women start lagging behind males during these years.

women spreading money on the table with pen and notebook

Median Salary in Singapore by Education Level

Generally, the higher your education level, the more you earn. Degree-holders have more access to higher-paying and higher-skilled jobs. 

Here’s the highest qualification median monthly salary:

Highest Qualification 2021 Median Monthly Income(Including Employer CPF Contributions)
Below Secondary S$2,048
Secondary S$3,145
Post-Secondary (Non-Tertiary) S$3,159
Diploma & Professional Qualification S$4,256
Degree S$7,351

The degree holders still enjoy the highest pay at S$7,351. They earn S$3,095 more than individuals with a diploma and professional qualifications. Check out more about other high-paying jobs in Singapore.

Median Salary in Singapore by Race

At a media briefing where Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah said that the trends in income in Singapore by race were no different from the trends observed across the world. 

If we want to look at the median salary by race, it’s best to look at the statistics to see how your are faring compared to other workers within your same race.

Source: Figures extracted from Census 2020

From the chart below, take a look at the 50th percentile of workers in Singapore. You can see that workers are earning between S$4,000 and S$4,999. This figure is supported by the 2020 median monthly salary statistics which is S$4,534.

Based on the chart, the 50th percentile of salaries by race are the following:

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

Median Salary in Singapore by Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of many industries, not only in Singapore but in other countries around the world. While some industries have recovered, there are some that will never be able to. However, there are also industries that thrived during these trying times.

Industry 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
Manufacturing S$4,896 S$4,885 S$5,000 S$4,680 S$4,500
Construction S$4,200 S$4,294 S$4,095 S$4,095 S$3,803
Services S$4,680 S$4,505 S$4,516 S$4,388 S$4,212
Wholesale & Retail Trade S$4,285 S$4,212 S$4,118 S$4,070 S$3,861
Transportation & Storage S$3,168 S$2,925 S$3,225 S$3,161 S$2,925
Accommodation & Food Services S$2,457 S$2,282 S$2,300 S$2,308 S$2,123
Information and Communications S$6,092 S$6,330 S$6,047 S$5,719 S$5,704
Financial & Insurance Services S$7,069 S$7,020 S$6,913 S$6,540 S$6,581
Real Estate Services S$4,095 S$4,437 S$4,520 S$4,475 S$4,183
Professional Services S$5,850 S$5,850 S$5,704 S$5,558 S$5,558
Administrative and Support Services S$2,725 S$2,748 S$2,808 S$2,535 S$2,311
Public Administration & Education S$6,338 S$6,338 S$6,338 S$6,012 S$5,850
Health & Social Services S$4,309 S$4,129 S$4,199 S$4,095 S$4,000
Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation S$3,803 S$3,803 S$4,056 S$3,803 S$3,549
Other Community, Social, & Personal Services S$3,296 S$2,996 S$3,250 S$3,089 S$2,925
Others S$4,437 S$4,437 S$5,070 S$4,368 S$4,407

Based on the table above, the financial & insurance services industry has the highest median income of S$7,020 in 2021. The industry with the lowest median income of S$2,457 is accommodation & food services.

Median Salary in Singapore by Occupation

Occupation 2021 Median Monthly Salary (Including Employer CPF Contributions)
PMETs S$6,318
Managers & Administrators S$9,620
Professionals S$6,971
Associate Professionals & Technicians S$4,120
Non-PMETs S$2,535
Clerical Support Workers S$3,042
Service & Sales Workers S$2,598
Craftsmen & Related Trades Workers S$2,819
Plant & Machine Operators & Assemblers S$2,155
Cleaners, Labourers, & Related Workers S$1,638

 

Based on the table above, PMETs (professionals, managers, executives, technicians) earned a median monthly income of S$6,318, while non-PMETs earned S$2,535.

Median Salary in Other Comparable Countries

The National Tax Service of South Korea released the latest National Tax Statistics Annual Report in 2020. According to the report, the median annual income of South Korean workers amounts to 28.2 million won (approximately S$31,250.23). This works out to be approximately S$2,604 per month.

Now let’s take a look at Hong Kong. The median monthly salary in Hong Kong rose to HKD$18,400 (approximately S$3,191) in May-June 2020.

Using these data, we can see that Singapore’s median gross monthly income, which was around S$4,534 in 2020 and S$4,680 in 2021, is very competitive against comparable counties.

Find out more on how to earn passive income in Singapore.

Closing

Are you earning enough? Now that you have an idea of the median gross monthly wages of Singaporean workers, it’s best to review your current income. That said, to boost your savings, you need to optimize your earnings, keep your professional skills sharp, and plan for the future.

Key takeaways

  • Median salary indicates how much people are making at the midway point and is a good indicator to understand where you stand compared to others in the same job or career field.
  • The latest average monthly wages in Singapore increased to S$6,282 in January 2022.
  • The median monthly income from full-time work in Singapore is S$4,680 in 2021.
  • Degree holders still enjoy the highest pay at S$7,351 and PMETs earn higher than non-PMETs.

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