Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hire More, Increase Salary? Is the picture that rosy?

Recently there is a slew of positive articles in the papers about the Singapore economy. If I string the different articles together the picture seems a tad too rosy to be true.

First there is this article that says that "More Singapore bosses now say they will employ new staff in the next three months". The article commented that the survey of 650 bosses gives the strongest indication of more hiring since the survey began in 2003. Curious to know who is hiring? Here's the findings from the survey:
public administration and education, with a net outlook of 81 per cent. Following them are: transport and utilities (78 per cent); finance, insurance and real estate (68 per cent); construction (67 per cent); wholesale and retail trade (61 per cent); services (57 per cent); and manufacturing (46 per cent).
Ok so more companies are hiring...fine.

Then there are two other articles, time difference of 6 months from their date of publishing, that also suggest that salaries will go up by about 5%. Here's the Business Times articles in Sep 2007, that compared salary hikes across countries using a poll conducted by a Hong Kong company. Then this is the other article from Straits Times that is more recent (March 2008) giving the same result of about 5% salary hike for Singapore, again based on a poll but conducted by a separate company based in Singapore.

But is this really an increase in the purchasing power of the employees here? Heh heh... here's the quote from the Straits Times article:
But is the average 5 per cent pay rise enough to keep pace with inflation, which hit a 26-year high of 6.6 per cent in January?
Interesting isn't it? So we are paid 'more' just to keep up with inflation. Lolz.
Then there is also this article that suggested that for the construction industry, there are not enough workers. Seems like (from the article)
The whole of Singapore has become a construction site.
The companies need more workers, but the salary hikes is only sufficient to beat inflation. Of course this is not going to attract more people to work, i.e. housewives will still be housewives, semi-retired people in their 50-60s will stay that way.

So the solution is? You got it! Open the job market to foreigners! Here's the Straits Times article about our bus drivers, "China bus drivers hired as few S'poreans keen on job". This reinforces the other earlier point that up to 78% of the companies in the transport and utilities sector are looking to hiring more workers in the next three months. Nope this doesn't just applies to low skill workers, since Singapore is deemed a great locations by expats as well in this finding from a consultancy survey firm.

So yes, in general it's a rosy picture for the local economy. Growth while maintaining wages at near inflation level. No worry of stagflation at all, right?! :) The economy policy planners are good... economy is good and still growing well... companies are doing well. Just not so sure if it's equally good for the local workers? Hmm... should be isn't it since the government is giving generous handouts to everyone? Lolz... rosy? You decide...

On a sidenote... I find it harder and harder to get seats in public transport i.e. bus or mrt... and harder to find seats during lunch in foodcourt (despite the increase of prices for both).


Sandra said...

The articles from ST and the rest of the local media (like these you quoted) explains why more and more SGreans are not reading our local papers.

Quite frankly, I didn't know how much I'm hit by the inflation until I do my monthly bills. Argh! I need pay rise. =P

Bal said...

Yupz and I feel that inflation is definitely more than the 6% they quote... haiz... buy more toto!

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