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How does Singapore really stack up against the rest of the world?

October 3rd, 2014

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We previously looked at the figures offered in the Singstat report and it suggests that all is well and that the economy is constantly improving in the country. This article will look at figures from around the world to examine how good the numbers for key income trends really are when compared to the rest of the world.

1. Singapore’s Median Household income is higher than most countries.

The increase in the amount of the median household income for household where at least one person is working has increased from S$7,570 (6,050 USD) in 2012 to S$7,870 (6,290 USD) monthly in 2013 according to the report. This means the median household income is 75,480 USD annually. According to Gallup, the median annual household income worldwide is 9,733 USD, and the median per-capita household income is 2,920 USD. The figure for median per-capita household income in Singapore is S$2,247 per month (21,480 USD annually), up from S$2,127 (20,400 USD annually). So, according to the report, both the figures for household income and per capita income show that Singapore are far ahead of the respective worldwide medians. Gallup’s polls put Norway at the top of the figures with median household income at USD 51,489 and per capita income at USD 19,308. Benin, Rwanda and Liberia are among the lowest earning countries and you can see how ridiculously unequal income distribution is across the world.

Income figures for various countries

However, we need to note the figures in the Singstat report are tabulated only for households where at least one person works and do not take into account households where no one is working. The government puts the amount of households where at least one person works at 91 percent of all households with 9 percent of households comprising of “retirees” (households made up of non-working people aged 60 and over). These non-working households may have income from non-work sources, e.g. income from rental, investment, contribution from relatives/friends, social welfare grants, etc.

2. GINI coefficient decreased.

The GINI coefficient stood at 0.463 in 2013 in Singapore before taxes and transfers, and 0.412 after taxes and transfers. However, Singapore calculates the GINI coefficient based on household income from work per household member, unlike OECD which uses a “square root scale” to take into account the fact that households may enjoy certain economies of scale because they can share the income between the members of the household. By any measure, Singapore does have one of the worst income inequalities in the group of economically developed OECD countries. Singapore’s GINI coefficient was the highest in 2012. It went down in 2013.

Since the 2013 figures for other countries are not widely available, we will compare 2012 figures. Doing so will still give us a general idea of how income distribution in Singapore stacks up against the other countries.

Gini coefficient for various countries

In 2012, according to OECD, Singapore had the highest GINI coefficient among OECD countries at 0.414, with the United States second at 0.378, and Denmark the most equal at 0.248. However, the report indicates that government schemes have increased redistribution of income. This is the reason why we are witnessing a decrease in Singapore’s GINI coefficient in 2013.

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Choosing A Car Insurance Policy

September 17th, 2014

Motor insurance policy terms can be confusing for most people and you may end up paying for features you do not need or worse, be stuck in a situation where you are put at great financial liability. So, make sure that you know exactly what you are paying for and what you are getting in return.

How are rates calculated?

Policy premium rates will most likely depend on the model of your car, your current driving record, you history with insurance as well as the features of the policy that you sign up for. Always research every aspect of the plan that you intend to sign up for and enlist some help if you have trouble with some features.

Car Insurance

Who is covered?

While most policies will assume that you are the sole driver of the car when you sign up, you should take the time to check it and include all other drivers that may be likely to use it. This will save you a lot of money if you lend your car to your wife and she ends up in an expensive accident. Premiums will rise when more drivers are added, but if your car is used by others regularly, this will be worth the increase. Some policies may also allow addition of a few drivers without cost, so look into that.

What is the excess?

The excess is the amount of money that you are personally responsible for if you get into an accident. The insurance company handles the rest.

What are some extra protections?

Here are a few less known protections you can pay for if you think you need them. Car Rental Extension allows you a courtesy car when your car is being repaired. Additional Personal Accident cover will let you increase the amount covered under the insurance for personal injuries. No Claim Discount protector will mean that if you get in an accident your NCD will not be affected (the number of accidents this applies to each year will be set in the agreement.)

This will help you understand some of the policy terms and hopefully make a better choice.

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FCF Shows Its Bite As Jobs Bank Listings Spike

September 5th, 2014

The Ministry of Manpower’s Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) seems to be having its desired impact as more than 56,000 jobs have been listed on the National Jobs Bank, the final piece of the FCF rollout since it was announced in September 2013.

This compares to over 51,000 jobs listed on commercial site Jobstreet.com.sg and 26,000 on JobsDB. PMEs make up nearly half of Singapore’s workforce and the Ministry of Manpower has said that this will help build a “strong Singaporean core” of PMEs.

Fair Consideration Framework

Administered by the Workforce Development Agency, the National Jobs Bank lists local job vacancies for free, and is part of the FCF’s requirement for firms looking to hire Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs), particularly those who will need an Employment Pass to work in Singapore. Companies with less than 25 staff are exempt, as are positions paying more than $12,000 a month and some high-level intra-company transfers.

The FCF is the result of intensive work and parliamentary lobby by NTUC, and is spearheaded by Mr Patrick Tay, MP in Nee Soon GRC and Director of NTUC’s PME Alignment Unit and its Legal Services Department.

The NTUC started lobbying for labour market testing in August 2011 to ensure that Singaporeans are given due consideration before employers recruit foreign PMEs. This came in the wake of Singaporeans’ feedback about hiring malpractices and the unusually large number of foreign PMEs.

In an interview with Headhunt magazine, Mr Patrick Tay said that the FCF will “result in greater transparency and more opportunities for local PMEs, and grow the Singaporean Core. This will ensure that foreign manpower will complement rather than undercut the skills of the local PME workforce.”

As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Manpower has been cracking down on firms with unfair employment practices since the FCF was announced, including ten firms who had to apologise publicly for discriminatory job ads, and another 15 this year that were barred from hiring new foreign workers.

At the end of the day, it is impossible for MOM to mandate that firms hire locals instead of foreigners for PME jobs here. The wide range of skills and factors that need to be taken into account for hiring decisions means that the hiring firm is in the best position to decide on which candidate is most suitable for the job.

We cannot realistically expect that a firm should hire a less-qualified candidate just because he is a PR or Citizen. The talent market needs to be meritocratic in order for both companies as well as individuals to become the best they can be.

Still, the FCF offers more help to firms who are open to hiring qualified Singaporeans and hinders firms who try to bypass qualified Singaporean candidates in favour of biased placement of foreigners.

NTUC’s U PME centres are ready to answer PMEs’ queries about the FCF and provide assistance to PMEs looking for a job or for advice on career progression.

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Compare Your Annual Income 2014

September 2nd, 2014

This is the 2014 version of the most popular income benchmarking tool on Salary.sg. It uses the latest data from IRAS’s just-released Annual Report 2013/2014. To benchmark/compare your annual income – including all commissions, bonuses, part-time salaries, director’s fees, rental income – simply enter your IRAS assessable income below and see how well you stack [...]

Read the full article at Compare Your Annual Income 2014

Benchmark Your Monthly Pay By Age & Gender 2014

August 18th, 2014

Our extremely popular income comparison tool has been updated with the latest data from Ministry of Manpower’s Report on Labour Force in Singapore 2013 (released in 2014). This income comparison calculator lets you compare your gross monthly income against other Singapore residents in your age group AND gender group. You may also compare with all [...]

Read the full article at Benchmark Your Monthly Pay By Age & Gender 2014

More Jobs For Locals At The New National Jobs Bank

July 29th, 2014

Keeping an eye out for better employment? Salarymen (and women) who are used to surfing through the various job portals available in Singapore will be interested to hear about the newly-launched National Jobs Bank at www.jobsbank.gov.sg, which boasts over 16,000 jobs available only to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents. The National Jobs Bank launched on [...]

Read the full article at More Jobs For Locals At The New National Jobs Bank

5 Easy Ways To Save Money

July 9th, 2014

Young professionals are always on their way to a big spend, whether it is a new car, a wedding or a home. It may seem that you are no closer to your goal that you were a few months ago but this is only because you are not saving money in all the ways that [...]

Read the full article at 5 Easy Ways To Save Money

How Does CPF Compare With Other Countries’ Retirement Plans

July 1st, 2014

Hong Kong’s MPF and Australia’s MySuper are designed as retirement funds while Singapore’s CPF and Malaysia’s EPF allow parts of it to be used for Housing. In Singapore’s case, it can also be used for Healthcare and Education. Singapore’s CPF also allows for members to invest their funds through the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS). With [...]

Read the full article at How Does CPF Compare With Other Countries’ Retirement Plans

Civil Service Bonus Mid-2014

June 14th, 2014

The Public Service Division (PSD) has just announced that the civil service mid-year bonus will be 0.5 month. This mid-year bonus, known as Annual Variable Component (AVC), will be paid out in July 2014. Besides this, Division III and IV officers will respectively receive additional wage increments of $30 and $70 per month, over and above their [...]

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Median Household Income Increased 4% To $7,870

June 13th, 2014

3 things we learnt from the recently released Singstat report The Department of Statistics Singapore released its Key Household Income Trends report for 2013 earlier this year and it seems to suggest that all is well in the economy and most key indicators point to improvement in the income trends. So here are a few [...]

Read the full article at Median Household Income Increased 4% To $7,870