Working Adults: What Is A Good Pay In Singapore?

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When you just started working, you would most likely be thinking of how much you are earning compared to the average Singaporean.

This article serves a simple guide and representation of the income distribution among Singaporeans in the world’s most expensive country with unique insights.

TL;DR: An Average Singaporean Earns SGD3,500

  • The Typical Singaporean Worker Median Monthly Salary is SGD 3,500 (excluding employer CPF)
  • This amount increases by 3 – 5 % every year across all ages
  • Local Fresh Graduates have a Median Gross starting salary is SGD3,360
  • What that indicates is that a Degree from a local University would bring you closest to the average Singaporean salary benchmark (if you work hard to get hired)

*Why we use Median: Because Income is often skewed by top earning individuals if we calculate averages (Find out more about the difference between Average and Medians here.)


The Big Salary Divide

Median Salary Singapore

Traditional lower paying jobs ($900 to $2,500)

  • Cleaners: $900 to $1,200 (Facilities, Malls, and Condominium roles)
  • Security Guards: $1,700 to $2,500 (Facilities, Malls, and Condominium security roles)
  • Taxi drivers: $2,000 to $3,000 (After deducting car rentals, similar to UBER and GRAB ad-hoc drivers)

Traditional mid-higher paying jobs ($3,000 to $6,000)

  • Bankers: Starting from $3,500 to $4,500 (tough hiring market, many resorting to contract jobs before full-time conversion)
  • Software Engineers: Starting from $4,000 to $4,800 (solid hiring market for many roles in both tech and non-tech firms)
  • Lawyers: Starting from $4,500 to $5,000 (tough hiring market to get training contracts)
  • Doctors: Starting from $6,000 (at government hospitals)

Extreme high-end jobs ($10,000 to $15,000 & beyond)

  • Entrepreneurs, own bosses: Above $10,000 to $15,000 (Usually passed down from family businesses, or larger tech start-ups, but with higher failure rate)
  • Senior Management and C-suite in MNCs: Salary above $15,000 (Our Government Ministers actually peg their salaries to this group. Usually come also with huge bonuses and directors fees)

What does this all mean – Increase % of income growth

To fresh graduates reading this, you need to understand that the economy is always in a stage of change. In addition to this, the median Singaporean incomes will always increase at a rate of 3-5% a year and you will need to keep up or BEAT that rate.

Out of college, it is the best time to apply your knowledge. However, what you studied in your previous 4 – 5 years as an undergraduate may not apply to the real world. Soon after working as a management trainee or entry level role for a number of years, you may need to reflect and find out if you are going to start your own company or climb the corporate ladder to a senior management position if you want to break into the next income bracket.

Salary and Expenses Singapore

Riding with the ever-changing conditions:

  • Depressed hiring economic climate
  • Technological change is rapid, affecting all industries to large extents
  • Globalization and transfer of talent (in/out of Singapore)

Every year, there will be an article in The Straits Times / TODAY during graduation season to show you how tough the market is. The good ones will survive and be nimble, whereas the bad ones will just complain about everything (*cough, the above 3 points)

Conclusion: The importance of a Growth Mindset

If you have a job, look to grow and build your network relationships. Don’t sit around and think that you are safe because no one is really safe in this economic climate.

“Your network is your net worth”

If you have not found a job, keep looking and be focused. I believe if you craft really clear resumes and cover letters on why Job X is the best fit for you. As an employer ourselves hiring, we see many half-hearted attempts and generic resumes. Make yourself so good that the employers have no reason to ignore you. Nothing good comes easy in life.

Ultimately, your mindset and attitude is something that no one can take away from you. Sit and reflect often to see what you want to learn in the next phase of your life adventure. The salary is merely a benchmark of your value to society, so keep going forward and upward – be valuable to society.

Join our Seedly Personal Finance Community to learn and discuss with fellow working adults on this upward income trend in Singapore today. Cheers!


Sources: Summary Table Income – Ministry of Manpower/ Starting Salaries – Business Times/ Fresh Graduate Expectations – TODAY
Source: Seedly

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58 comments

  1. Eddy Lim says:

    Should use mean to showcase how most earn lesser than average. According to ADB, the median was about $4k last year…so it’s dropping.

  2. Sas Karma says:

    Rubbish! Take away the contribution to CPF, tell me what is the actual take home pay..than calculate if you can survive with that miserable salary in SG!
    We are not FTs who have the great privilege to convert SGD to Ringgit, pesos, rupees, Chinese yuan, dongs or even kyat. These FTs can live like kings and queens after working here- these are the amount of incomes they cannot even earn back home, and therefore will be damn happy even to accept a lower salary where else we can’t!

    1. Sas Karma says:

      Jacques Loh Absolutely! if you rent your home, you are taxed more..even if you dont rent your home – you still get taxed.. income also taxed.. just how many taxes are we actually paying?.. when HDB is not even our home, we are taxed! GST also taxed! Did you know even when we are paying for those CDAC or mendaki or sinda.. these are all hidden expenditures if you don’t opt out – its a forced taxed. Besides, do we really know if these funds really go to the needy or government pocket? if needy have so much problems getting funds due to government red tapes – why could I give to such organisations? I will rather give to those poor families or elderly directly.

    1. Andrew Hoon well they said median salary so might be true but anyway , fresh grads are all over the world so $ will definitely be declining as they are expendables

  3. Joseph Sim says:

    The salary here is not realistic. With this salary no FT will set foot in Singapore. A fresh Uni grads is already drawing $3-4K/pm, so those who have been working over 5 years, so should know. A SVP in a bank draws over $20k -30k/pm.

  4. Ethan Wang says:

    I would stay away from working for SMEs in general unless they have a solid structure plan in what they wanna do. Most are fly by night operations and think very short term. To be frank I have worked for 3 consecutive ones and the leadership to say the least is weak at best. The focus is not on the company value creation but the owner’s self praise, ego and glamor. That is not what entrepreneurship is about. Unfortunately it is very true for our SME climate.

    1. Ethan Wang says:

      Loke Fook Seng I also wanna ask you a question: Will you hire someone who challenges your business to become better and disagree if you invest resources into self glamming skirmishes OR will you hire yes man who just do your bidding regardless of its objective?

    2. Ethan Wang says:

      Loke Fook Seng do you also know why only a few of our companies succeed on a global stage? It is pretty apparent that our SMEs have created a mess based on their own undoing. Clearly, why no local talents wanna work for SMEs. I respect how you build a company. But it is because of this “I have succeeded hence I know” mentality that will be the seed of destruction for your company. Look around… how many companies are not keeping up to date and still yaya papaya? 90% SMEs so what? Many are winding up. What does that say? Leave the ego outside the door and start focusing what is the real priority.

    3. Ethan Wang says:

      Loke Fook Seng will you take away your employer’s salary for your own personal gain? Trust me I have experienced more instances of that in my last 4 years than most people. And our dear govt doesn’t do anything about it.

    4. Ethan Wang says:

      Loke Fook Seng I won’t work for one. I have personally tried to help SMEs. My parents run an SME I have benefitted from it. But as I grow older and tried to help, all I got was denial of wages. Theft of work and even a lawsuit as a result of me trying to claim my stolen wages. That is when I realize this country’s SMEs are really beyond hope of saving. Unless they have a concrete game plan, I will be extremely cautious. At least working in a big organization I don’t have to fear not being paid. Unfortunately my experiences have shaped my perception. If they don’t get their shit together… many will close shop.

    5. Ethan Wang My remark remains the same: no wonder we have to import FTs. Do you know more 90% of companies are SMEs and more than 50% of workers work in an SME. If all Singaporeans think like you, we have to import the other 50% from outside the country.

    6. Ethan Wang says:

      Jarrot Tan ya. Then they take your salary for this kind of activities. And the govt can’t do anything too. I have personally experienced this.

    1. Yes it’s really a very simple Maths. But many majority fail in simple calculations. That’s why before election govt only needs to spend less than $350 each person to get tens of thousands back. A very good deal.

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