Opinion

Are You Happy With Your Salary? Apparently, 83% of Singaporeans Aren’t

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Jeff Cuellar

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Hmm… judging by that look of hate in your eyes, I think I just got my answer. Yes, salary is a certainly a touchy issue in Singapore, and Jobstreet.com just confirmed why in its latest survey. According to the survey 83% of Singaporeans are unhappy with their current salary. Can you guess what salary number would make these Singaporeans happy?

A monthly salary of $6,000 is what most Singaporeans surveyed said would be the magic number.

Now, maybe it’s just coincidence, but that 83% is pretty damn close to the percentage of employed residents (excluding CPF) who are NOT making at least $6,000 a month, which is about 80%.

That’s right, only 20% of Singapore employed residents earn $6,000 or more a month.

Here are some of the survey’s very interesting results:  

 

Here Are Some of the Survey’s Interesting Key Statistics

I know some of you are probably wondering what the sample size of this survey is.

Thankfully, Jobstreet.com is quite transparent about this number, unlike a certain newspaper that likes to put up surveys without mentions how many people it surveyed. Jobstreet.com interviewed 622 people across different industries in April.

Sure, it’s not an earth shattering number, but it’s not a bad sample size either. Here’s a very quick snapshot of what your fellow countrymen (and women) had to say about their salary satisfaction:

  • 83% said that they are unsatisfied with their current salary.
  • 31% said that their salary is only enough to cover their basic needs and minor luxuries.
  • 42% said that their salary is only enough to cover their basic needs.
  • 50% said they are able to save 10%-20% of their monthly salary
  • 32% said they are unable to save anything.
  • 23% said they are struggling to make enough to cover their basic needs.*

*Of this 23%, 70% earn less than $3,000 a month As for what the top 5 biggest monthly expenditures were, the following list should be a no-brainer to most of you:

  1. Housing
  2. Food
  3. Transport
  4. Family
  5. Utilities

The survey also revealed that respondents spend 30%-40% of their monthly salary on basic necessities.

 

Can Anything be Done to Ensure More Singaporeans Become Happy With Their Salaries?

That’s the million-dollar question that 83% of your fellow citizen (who took the survey anyway) struggle with on a yearly basis.

Unfortunately, it’s a shifting goalpost that gets just a bit farther each year because the annual rise in wages (if you’re lucky enough to get a pay increase) just can’t match the rate of inflation.

Read this to understand exactly what I mean.

So what can be done? Well, I didn’t graduate with a degree in Economics from Harvard, nor am I one of Singapore’s fabled “government scholars.”

However, I did study English Literature and read Plato – who provides the perfect answer to that perplexing question: “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

Yes, sometimes the smartest thing you can do is admit that you don’t have the answer – because some questions just don’t have one.  

 

Final Note:OK, if I were to attempt an answer, it would be that it takes a combination of backbreaking work, Game of Thrones-like workplace scheming, and sheer luck to hit that $6,000 a month mark.

That means you’ll need to pray that inflation remains ridiculously low, your yearly wage increment is 10% or more each year, and you’ll probably need to find a way to earn some income on the side – preferably from activity that won’t get you thrown in Changi Prison.

 

Do you think it’s possible to ever really be “happy” with your salary? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook! For even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today! Also, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get weekly updates!

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.