20 Jul 2012, 4.16PM
According to a Straits Times report, the average wage growth for 2011, excluding employers’ CPF contributions, increased by 5.3%. This is slightly higher than last year’s inflation of 5.2%.
The national average wage growth for last year was largely pulled up by the Financial and insurance services industry, where the pay rose 9.1%. Wage increase in the Transportation and storage (+7.4%), Professional services (+5.6%) and Real estate services (+5.5%) industries also managed to beat inflation.
However, wage growth in the following sectors was lower than inflation: Community, social and personal services (+5.0%), Wholesale and retail trade (+4.6%), Information and communications (+4.6%), Accommodation and food services (+4.5%), Construction (+4.2%), Manufacturing (+4.1%) and Administrative and support services (+3.7%). The Administrative and support services sector includes employment agency staff, security guards, cleaners, gardeners and office administrative staff.
While overall wage growth figures are useful, economists and unionists say that attention should be paid to how wages move in each sector to help track wage inequality.
For a start, the National Trades Union Congress will zoom into a few key low-wage sectors, such as cleaning, and bring about an overall rise in wages that corresponds with productivity improvements.
An economist who spoke to The Straits Times added that a narrow emphasis on ensuring that wage increases keep pace with inflation could reduce competitiveness and make it harder for companies to switch from foreign to local workers.
What more can be done to help low wage workers upgrade and increase their productivity and wage simultaneously? Share your ideas with us!