Salaries of Work Permit Holders Since 1990, 2000 and 2019

Parliamentary Question, 3 March 2020

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Manpower (a) whether salaries have risen or fallen for work permit holders since (i) 1990 (ii) 2000 and (iii) 2019, and by how much; and (b) how much have industries that rely mostly on work permit holders seen a rise or decline in their profits since (i) 1990 (ii) 2000 and (iii) 2019.

Mrs Josephine Teo: From 2005 to 2019, the median monthly salary of work permit holders (excluding foreign domestic workers) increased by 2.2% per annum (in nominal terms). Data from 2004 and before are not directly comparable as they also include the equivalent of S Pass holders who are generally higher skilled than work permit holders.

Wages tend to reflect demand and supply of specific labour markets and may not correlate with profitability of the industries. In any case, as reported by the Economic Development Board (EDB), net operating surplus for the Marine Shipyard sector declined by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2% per annum (in nominal terms) between 2005 and 2018. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) reported that net operating surplus for the Construction sector grew by a CAGR of 9.3% per annum (in nominal terms) between 2005 and 2017. Work permit holders are a significant share of the workforce in both sectors.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

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A full-time human, and part-time everything else.

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.