What's the Median Salary in Singapore? (And What Affects It)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 October 2022

Published 30 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The median salary shows how much money people earn at the middle point amongst the entire workforce. It's a valuable gauge of your earning capability compared to other people. Knowing the median salary may help you understand how your salary compares to others in the workforce. In this article, we explain what's the median salary in Singapore, explore the factors that affect median salary and offer some inferences we can draw from median salary data.

What's the median salary in Singapore?

The Ministry of Manpower publishes annual data that provides information on what's the median salary in Singapore. According to the Labour Force in Singapore Advance Release 2021, the nominal median income of full-time employed residents in Singapore in 2021 was $4,680. This was an increase of 3.2% from 2020, when the median income was $4,534.

When compared to the median monthly salary from full-time work in 2011, this represents a cumulative increase of 44%. Over the 10-year period, the median monthly salary from full-time work increased from $3,249 to $4,680. The nominal and real annualised change in median gross monthly income from the year 2011 to 2021 was 3.7% p.a. and 2.7% p.a. respectively. Excluding employer CPF contributions, the median income for 2021 was $4,000.

Related: Wage vs. Salary: Definitions, Differences and Examples

Differences between median salary and gross salary

Median monthly salary shows the income figure at the midway point for all jobs across the population. 50% of the population earns more than that figure and 50% of the population earns less. Gross salary is the amount of money you get paid for one month's work, before deducting employee CPF contributions and personal income taxes. It includes any additional wages you're eligible for, such as overtime pay, bonuses, tips, commissions and other allowances.

Related: What Is Net Salary: Definition and Guide to Calculating Net Salary

What factors affect the median salary?

Several factors influence the median salary. The annual Labour Force in Singapore report (2020 edition) provides median salary information separated by different parameters such as age, gender and occupation. Here are some factors that affect the monthly median salary from full-time work:

Age

As you work and gain more experience, your salary generally increases. This is true up to a certain point before salaries start to taper off and decline. The 2020 median monthly salary goes up to $6,435 for the 40-44 age group before decreasing gradually from 45 years old onwards. For the 45-49 age group, the median monthly salary was $5,850 before decreasing further to $2,330 for those 60 and over.

Gender

There's a slight disparity between the earnings of males and females. In 2020, the median monthly salary was $4,719 and $4,374 for men and women respectively, showing that a gender pay gap exists. Data shows that women earn more than men at a younger age. For the 25-29 age group, the median monthly salary for women was $4,095 while that for men was $3,920. Data for the age groups of 30 years old and above show that men consistently earn more than women.

Education level

Regardless of gender, people with higher education levels have greater earning capabilities. In 2020, the median monthly salary for those with a degree was $7,434 while those with below secondary education earned a median monthly salary of $1,989. Overall, there's a significant pay increase when you attain the next higher education level. For instance, those with a diploma or professional qualification have a median salary of $4,368 but those with a degree earn a median salary of $7,434.

Occupation

Another factor that affects the median monthly salary is occupation. In 2020, managers and administrators earned the highest median salary of $10,000 while cleaners, labourers and related workers earned the lowest median salary of $1,535. The other categories of occupation include:

  • professionals make $6,859

  • associate professionals and technicians make $4,150

  • clerical support workers make $2,833

  • service and sales workers make $2,345

  • craftsmen make $2,688

  • plant and machine operators make $2,000

Industry

The median monthly salary varies across different industries. In 2020, those working in manufacturing and construction earned a median monthly salary of $4,885 and $4,294 respectively. Those working in services made an overall median monthly salary of $4,505. Within services, those in financial and insurance services received the highest pay with a median salary of $7,020. Those in accommodation and food services had the lowest median salary of $2,282.

Nature of employment

The median monthly salary for those in full-time employment was $4,797 in 2020 while that for part-time employment was $1,130. Across these two categories, permanent staff had the highest pay, earning $4,943 for full-time work and $1,170 for part-time work. People working on a casual or on-call basis earned the least, making $1,755 full-time and $936 part-time.

Related: Salary Guide for Singapore

What can we infer from the median salary data?

Median salary can be a source of useful data for comparing your salary with others in the workforce. Looking at the median salaries across different categories such as age and gender may also be helpful if you're going to negotiate a salary increase or planning to change careers. Here are some inferences we can draw from the median salary data:

Gain credentials to boost your salary

Data shows that the higher your educational qualifications, the higher the median salary. Gaining higher educational qualifications credentials is a step towards a potential salary increase. If you're working, you may pursue higher education on a part-time basis. Some companies may also support their employees to acquire additional qualifications by offering scholarships or study grants.

Related: What Is a Salary Increment and How to Negotiate for One

Adjust salary expectations as you age

For the majority of the population, data shows that the median salary starts to decrease for employees aged 45 years and above. If you're a mid-career professional and reaching 45 years old and beyond, it may be helpful to adjust your salary expectations, especially if you're switching careers or starting in a new field. There may be exceptions in some instances. For instance, those holding top management positions may not receive a pay cut. As you age, gaining new certifications or qualifications may also help offset a potential salary decrease.

Understand the gender pay gap

Pay inequality between males and females exists, but the overall gap is small. For females entering the workforce from 15 to 29 years old, their median monthly salary is higher than that for males in the same age group. This reflects that the salary for males may be less than females in the initial years because of National Service (NS). However, from 30 years old onwards, men consistently earn a higher median salary than women. One reason may be that some women aged 30 years old and above choose to focus on having children or raising a family rather than on their careers.

Choose your occupation and industry wisely

The median salary data by occupation and industry shows that there are certain jobs and fields that pay more than others. Those working as managers and administrators in the financial and insurance services typically have the highest pay. If you're deciding on your career or field, the data may help you make an informed choice. While salary is a key factor when planning your career, other factors may be important. These may include working environment, personal interests and opportunities for development.

Related: Your Guide to What Is A Good Salary in Singapore (Plus Tips)

What's a good salary?

Knowing the median salary gives you a good gauge of how far your income is from the midpoint salary of the overall population. Your salary may be much more or much less than the median salary. What makes up a good salary is subjective. Some factors to consider include the job location, job nature and the time and money spent commuting to and from work.

If you're earning much less than the median salary and you feel you deserve more after considering all other factors, you can negotiate for a pay revision. Data on the median salary may help to support your requests during salary negotiation.

Related: What Is Annual Income?

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries and quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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