Singapore saw 12% rise in worker-senior manager pay gap between 2008 and 2017: Korn Ferry

Singapore saw a 12.1 per cent rise in the pay gap from 2008 to 2017, lower than the average increase of 15.5 per cent across the Asia-Pacific, the study noted.
Singapore saw a 12.1 per cent rise in the pay gap from 2008 to 2017, lower than the average increase of 15.5 per cent across the Asia-Pacific, the study noted.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The pay gap between senior managers and entry-level employees in Singapore has widened, a new study claims.

From 2008 to 2017 the gap grew by 12.1 per cent, according to results released by organisational consultancy Korn Ferry on Monday (July 8).

It looked at the typical pay for directors or senior department managers, divided it by the typical pay for graduate trainees or skilled manual workers, and compared the figure over the decade.

The pay gap increased in 77 per cent of 58 countries Korn Ferry analysed, with the average increase in Asia coming in at 15.3 per cent across nine countries.

Singapore had the fourth highest rise in the region, behind India (66 per cent), Malaysia (14.7 per cent) and Indonesia (12.7 per cent).

Korn Ferry's Singapore Associate Client Partner, Mr Kartikey Singh, noted that the average increase in Asia seems moderate for a 10-year period.

This could be because while salaries at senior level have risen steadily due to the increased demand for talent that can grow businesses and expand organisations globally, economic and inflationary growth have also contributed to significant salary increases at lower level, he said.

However, he added: "Going forward, as businesses feel the pressure of technological disruption and the crunch of good middle and top-level leaders, the gap might widen at a faster pace."

Singapore's pay gap increase was higher than countries like the United Kingdom (9.3 per cent), Japan (9.7 per cent) and China (2.7 per cent), but lower than all six Middle East countries analysed, which had rates of between 39 per cent to 117.8 per cent.

It was similar to that of the United States (12.2 per cent).

Some countries saw the pay gap narrow instead, such as France (-5.8 per cent) and Italy (-3.1 per cent). Korn Ferry attributed this to higher tax rates for big earners, fewer pay increases at top levels, and government and union intervention in pay at lower levels.