EP qualifying pay

Higher salary could boost productivity

I do not agree with the concerns of some observers that the increase in foreign professionals' qualifying monthly salary for the Employment Pass - from $3,300 to $3,600 - will have an adverse impact on the profits of Singapore businesses ("Rise in EP qualifying pay could affect bottom lines, say observers"; Monday).

First, we have to find out its impact, that is, how many current EP holders will need a hike in their salaries.

This may not be a large number, as foreign professionals get reasonably good salaries for their varied skill sets.

Even if many EP holders require a salary hike, the mindset of our business owners should focus more on productivity, rather than be overwhelmed by a marginal $300 increase.

Even though salaries and wages have been rising in Singapore, the cost of labour is still relatively low, compared with other developed countries, based on information from the United States Bureau of Labour Statistics.

The low cost of labour has not increased in tandem with the high living cost of Singapore. The new salary criterion for EP holders is an acceptance of this reality and, no doubt, a welcome move.

This will result in a natural hike in the salary of Singaporeans, especially fresh graduates, and they will likely be more encouraged to contribute more to their organisations.

Perhaps, they can be motivated to come forward with innovative ideas and be more productive, which will be good for all of us.

Atanu Roy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2016, with the headline 'Higher salary could boost productivity'. Print Edition | Subscribe