Salaries creep up in 'new normal'
Manpower Ministry figures show wage hikes and job growth for PMETs are slowing
If your pay has crept up by barely $100 over the past year, you are not alone.
Wage hikes and job growth for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) are slowing amid the weakening economy, according to latest Ministry of Manpower (MOM) figures.
Nominal median income - which does not take inflation into account - for full-time employed residents rose by 2.7 per cent this year, compared with 4.7 per cent last year.
This brought median monthly income to $4,056 this June, compared with $3,949 in June last year, MOM's advance figures yesterday showed. This includes employer contributions to Central Provident Fund.
Real income - which takes inflation into account - grew by 3.2 per cent, lower than the 5.3 per cent in June last year.
At the same time, employment growth for resident PMETs slowed to a rate of 2.6 per cent a year over the past five years, compared with 4.6 per cent a year from 2007 to 2011.
Nonetheless, the proportion of PMETs among employed residents, rose to 55 per cent this year, up from 49 per cent in 2007.
Marketing manager Winston Tay, 39, who has switched jobs several times, admits he had to deal with pay stagnation before landing his current job.
The father of two added: "The important thing for me is my family remains happy, and I remain happy with my family. That said, (if) you know you have certain skills you can offer, you have to value yourself and find what work you can best apply those skills."
Labour economist Randolph Tan, who lectures at SIM University, thinks the data is a "natural" phenomenon of the cyclical downturn and Singapore's deep economic restructuring.
"For deep restructuring to take place, it will take comprehensive changes, which means higher unemployment and more competitive wages cannot be ruled out.
"It might be painful for individuals now, but from a macro economic perspective, it would lead to a stronger economy and better incomes in the future."
This year's employment rate for residents, at 80.3 per cent, was similar to last year's 80.5 per cent due to an increased female employment rate.
But the rate of employment for men aged 25 to 54 decreased significantly from 92.9 per cent last year to 91.9 per cent this year, the lowest since 2009. The unemployment rate for PMETs rose to 3.1 per cent this year.
MOM's report noted that while PMETs remained less prone to unemployment than non-PMETs, the gap has narrowed.
Mr Erman Tan, president of Singapore Human Resource Institute, thinks employees, especially those in the manufacturing and retail sector, are more cautious about switching jobs due to the depressed job market.
He said: "They are also concerned they would lose their jobs or wouldn't be able to find the same job when their company goes through restructuring."