Labor Law

Singapore’s minimum wage and average salary in 2024

Learn more about the minimum wage and average salary in 2024, and get a quick insight into your earning potential in Singapore.

Steel factory worker in protective gear moving steel poles in a workplace.

By Kiera Healy

Updated 26-3-2024

When you’re new to the job market (because you graduated or you just moved there), you’ll want to know how your salary compares to others in Singapore. In the absence of a legal minimum wage, understanding the average income becomes especially crucial before signing any dotted line.

To help you understand what to expect from in this free-market city where employers can set wages freely, this article covers the following:

Minimum wage in Singapore

Singapore does not have an official annual minimum wage. While some bodies, such as the National Wages Council (NWC), offer suggestions about fair salaries, their advice is not legally binding.

Instead of a national minimum salary, the country’s labor market operates on a Progressive Wage Model (PWM). This model sets out a basic minimum wage for Singapore citizens and permanent residents in selected low-paying sectors.

It comprises wage ladders for broad employment categories, which account for the most common jobs in that sector. Workers must be paid at least the stipulated PWM wages depending on their skills and employment level.

A street sweeper wearing a uniform and cleaning the pavement in front of a building in Singapore
Photo: Melvin Mapa/Getty Images

Singapore’s opposition parties have, at times, called for the introduction of a minimum wage. However, the government defends the PWM system, arguing that it is better for low-paid workers.

At present, the following sectors must pay at least these PWMs:

SectorMinimum basic salaryDate of readjustment
AdministrationS$1,500–2,800July 2024
CleaningS$1,570–2,410June 2024
Driving/chauffeuringS$1,750–1,850July 2024
Food servicesS$1,915–2,215May 2025
LandscapingS$1,750–2,600July 2024
Elevator (lift) and escalator (L&E)S$2,075–3,330July 2024
RetailS$1,975–2,395September 2024
SecurityS$2,175–3,350January 2025
Waste managementS$2,110–2,910July 2024

Additionally, the Singaporean government regularly conducts research into fair wages. At present, it maintains that S$2,906 per month is a “reasonable starting point” for a living wage in the Lion City.

Because of this, Singaporean citizens over the age of 30 who earn less than S$2,500 per month qualify for the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme. This provides them with an income supplement in the form of cash payments and additional contributions to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), Singapore’s social security system.

What to do if you’re not paid the PWM wage

Separate agencies regulate the PWM schemes for each sector. For example, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is responsible for regulating the PWM for the cleaning and waste management industry.

a close-up of a cleaner holding a mop and cleaning the side panel of an escalator
Photo: webphotographeer/Getty Images

Citizen and permanent resident employees who are being underpaid are advised against going to the agency in question. Instead, they should contact the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), along with their union, if applicable.

Companies that fail to follow the PWM model are subject to fines. In fact, 57 licensed cleaning firms have been issued fines since the model was implemented in 2014.

The government’s Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) program is designed to prevent employers from undercutting Singaporean workers by hiring cheap foreign staff. Under this legislation, companies must fill a quota of citizens and permanent residents being paid a certain amount before they can hire migrants.

The average salary in Singapore

Singapore’s monthly gross median income is currently S$4,752. Residents have by far the highest salaries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) zone, taking home around ten times as much money as workers in nearby countries like Vietnam or Indonesia. Moreover, that number has been steadily growing, with median income increasing by almost 10% between 2017 and 2022.

That said, the recent increase in inflation worldwide has affected the Lion City. Real salaries in Singapore – that is, salaries that take inflation into account – fell by 1.5% in 2023. They may have increased on paper, but reality hits slightly different.

Luckily, though, things are looking good for the future. Although the global economy is on shaky ground, Singapore – which has been a major financial hub for decades – seems set to weather the storm. Experts predict that real income in the country will rebound in the near future and see a hefty 4% rise in 2024.

The average salary by sector

Unsurprisingly, the highest salaries in Singapore tend to be in the financial sector. Below are some examples of average monthly salaries in different sectors in Singapore (in ascending order):

  • Administrative and support services: S$2,925
  • Health and social services: S$4,680
  • Real estate services: S$5,000
  • Manufacturing: S$5,460
  • Professional services: S$6,581
  • Education: S$6,962
  • Information and communications: S$7,000
  • Financial and insurance services: S$8,190

The average salary by job level

Salaries in Singapore can vary drastically by job level. And if you stay in the Lion City long enough to see your career progress, you can expect to see large jumps in your pay. You can find thorough data on multiple sectors and pay grades online, but below are just a couple of examples in different industries.

Tech developer sitting behind a desk with lots of computer screens, writing lines of code.
Photo: gorodenkoff/Getty Images

Average annual salaries by job level in the tech sector:

  • Software engineer: S$100,000
  • DevOps engineer: S$125,000
  • Program Manager: S$170,000
  • CTO: S$315,000

Average annual income by job level in financial planning and analysis:

  • Analyst: S$73,000
  • Senior analyst: S$99,000
  • Manager: S$147,000
  • Director: S$252,000

There are plenty of online tools that you can use to see how your salary measures up. For example, Glassdoor shows you average salaries across your sector and experience level.

Is there a gender pay gap in Singapore?

Like elsewhere in the world, the gender pay gap remains a thorny issue. Unfortunately, Singapore has no legislation mandating that men and women are paid equally. As a result, men tend to earn about 10% more than women.

Analysts have suggested a few pretense reasons for this gap. For instance, there are more women in careers like nursing and teaching and more men in higher-paying jobs like finance and insurance. Women are also more likely to take on the role of caregiver within the home.

Interestingly, statistics show that women in Singapore actually earn more than men until the age of 29. This may be because men need to complete their national military service when they are young, and therefore don’t have the same work experience as their female counterparts.

Two business women in formal attire and lanyards, talking as they're walking outside. One is holding a phone.
Photo: AscentXmedia/Getty Images

The balance then shifts when workers hit the age of 30 when men start earning more. Notably, this is also the average age for a Singaporean woman to have her first child.

Expats may be surprised to learn that Singapore has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the ASEAN region, although it has narrowed over time. For instance, between 2012 and 2022, it dropped from 27.1% to 15.6% in the all-important finance industry.

Organizations such as the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) continue to campaign about the country’s gender pay gap, running awareness-raising events and lobbying the government for change.

Salaries and wages for international workers

There are almost 1.5 million foreign employees in Singapore, which is a huge amount for a country with a population of around 5.5 million.

There are essentially two categories of expats. The first comprises international workers who typically hold blue-collar jobs such as construction and housekeeping. The second are those with so-called skilled jobs, often in the financial and technology sectors.

According to Singapore’s 2020 census, around half of citizens and permanent resident expats had a monthly income of S$4,000–4,999. Interestingly, roughly 60% of Malays earned less than S$3,999, compared to around 40% of Indians, 40% of Chinese, and 36% of nationalities grouped as “others” (i.e., non-Chinese, Malay, or Indian).

On the opposite end of the scale, less than 5% of Malays had a monthly salary of S$15,000 or more. Comparatively, this income level was available to less than 10% of Chinese, 10% of Indians, and just over 15% of Others.

Again, it should be stressed the census does not take the non-citizen, non-permanent resident population into account.

Two migrant workers at an construction site in Singapore.
Photo: Zakaria Zainal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Alarmingly, Singapore has few laws covering the rights or wages of foreign workers. In stark contrast to their actual contribution to the economy, Singapore’s public perceptions of the first category of expats are negative (International Labour Organization, 2020). This often leads to discrimination, exploitation, and even violence.

According to Human Rights Watch (2021), foreign women employed as domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse.

What to do if your salary is too low

Sadly, there is not much you can do if you feel your company is not paying you enough. Singapore’s labor laws only tend to defend the rights of citizens and, to a lesser extent, permanent residents. Moreover, migrant workers are not affected by PWM, and there are no laws to help safeguard your rights.

If an employer is acting unlawfully, however, you can report it to the MOM. This may be the case if they are not respecting the PWM (if there are any) or they are illegally hiring expats without meeting the relevant quota of locals.

For advice on low salaries or discriminatory wage policies, you can also contact your union, if you have one. They may be able to help you, but given Singapore’s labor laws, you shouldn’t be surprised if they are ultimately unable to do much.

That said, there is a glimmer of hope for employees who are treated unfairly at work. Set to pass in the second half of 2024, the Workplace Fairness Legislation (WFL) aims to tackle common forms of workplace discrimination, including against age, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender, and nationality.

If you find that you are being underpaid due to discrimination, you may – in theory – report your employer to the MOM. However, the practical applications of the WFL are not yet entirely clear.

Useful resources

  • Glassdoor Singapore – provides an overview of salary by sector and experience level
  • Ministry of Manpower (MOM) – outlines the rights of workers along with information on work permits, employment practices, health and safety, and more
  • National Trades Unions Congress (NTUC) – a national confederation of trade unions that provides information on how to improve working conditions and enhance the status of workers