SINGAPORE - About 23,000 civil servants will get a pay rise of between 5 per cent and 14 per cent from Aug 1 this year.
This will allow the civil service to keep pace with the market and continue to attract and retain talent, the Public Service Division (PSD) said on Sunday (June 5).
Salaries for the civil service generic schemes were last adjusted in 2014, when pay increases of about 5 per cent were made for mid-level civil servants.
"Since then, salary levels in the market have gone up," PSD said.
There are about 153,000 public officers working in 16 ministries and more than 50 statutory boards. Of these, about 87,000 are civil service workers.
The adjustments benefit officers in roles such as policymaking, administration and operations work.
They do not apply to civil servants in specialised schemes, such as accountants, police officers, teachers and foreign service officers.
Civil servants in the management executive, management support and corporate support schemes will receive pay increases of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent, with higher adjustments for grades that have larger gaps with market benchmark.
Those in the operations support scheme will receive higher adjustments of between 6 per cent and 14 per cent, in line with the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers' call to uplift the salaries of lower-wage workers.
The adjustments come after Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing said in Parliament in February that the public sector has seen an increase in attrition across the board. The resignation rate for the management executive scheme, the largest generic scheme in the civil service, hit a 10-year high of 9.9 per cent last year.
PSD has also been working with the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees to redesign the jobs of operations support officers, improve their career progression and raise productivity in the long run.
Hybrid work arrangements and flexible work options were also introduced.
PSD added that it will continue to provide officers with career opportunities and support their growth and development. This includes job attachments, structured job rotations, formal training and project work.
In response to queries on the salaries of civil servants in specialised schemes, a Ministry of Education (MOE) spokesman said: “MOE is working with PSD to review salaries of MOE schemes and the outcome will be made known in due course.”
A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spokesman said: “MHA is also reviewing our schemes of service to ensure that they remain competitive and keep pace with the market.”
Its officers will be informed of any changes to the schemes by the end of the year.
Amalgamated Union of Public Employees general secretary Sanjeev Tiwari said the move to raise wages could keep public sector pay in tandem with private sector salaries amid manpower shortages.
“It would also help cushion the impact of inflation, especially for the lower income group,” he added.
CIMB economist Song Seng Wun said the pay rise is timely with headline inflation in Singapore having hit decade highs in March.
“It sends a signal to the private sector that the Government is doing its part - that it is mindful of the higher cost of living.
“The public sector doesn’t want to lose workers to the private sector,” he added.
Labour economist Walter Theseira, an associate professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, said that the pay rise is also a recognition that private sector wages in comparable jobs have risen significantly.
“This move would also help maintain living standards especially for the lower wage civil servants, who might otherwise face significant loss of living standards,” he said.
Prof Theseira added that most employers will also be factoring in inflation in making their wage adjustments this year.
“Those who cannot afford to do so may see their workers leave if the market remains tight and there are better offers out there.”
A civil servant employed under the management executive scheme who wants to be known only as Mr Chan said the pay rise provides some certainty that civil servants are being supported.
“I’m also hoping to see more opportunities for upskilling,” said the 26-year-old of PSD’s work to support development of civil service officers.