Degree holder – is your Income above the Median?


So, you slogged through more than 10 years of your life to get that coveted degree.

But are you earning a decent monthly income?

Let’s define “decent” as being at least slightly more than 50% of your cohort, or what’s called the median.

If you’re getting way below the median, maybe you need to do something about it.

Based on data from the latest MOM report on the labour force (for 2007), the median gross monthly income for degree holders in their 30s is $4,880; and that for degree holders in their 40s is $7,000.

The numbers are higher for males, by more than 5%. I’m not sure why…

The gross monthly income reported includes bonuses, commissions and other allowances that can be construed as income.

The following are the median gross monthly income for the various age groups (those for males are in brackets):

  • Age group 25-29: $3,250 (males $3,270)
  • Age group 30-39: $4,880 (males $5,130)
  • Age group 40-49: $7,000 (males $7,580)
  • Age group 50-59: $7,500 (males $7,930)
  • Age 60 & above: $7,250 (males $8,170)

Are you above the median?

Reference: Report on Labour Force in Singapore 2007, Ministry of Manpower.


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  4. If I understood correctly guys, how to use the table above is as follows:

    Age grp: 30-39, males $5130.
    Assume bonus is only 13th month.

    $4735 (basic) x 13 % 12 = $5130 (above)

    => The basic should be $4735 at the mean gross salary. 🙂

  5. Pardon me for saying this. Are the statistics overstated?

    I am still studying my degree, I have a few friends who graduated already and from everything I have heard, their monthly incomes are not that high.

    They earn around $2,500 – $2,800 only. Not the median of $3,250…

  6. John, you’re confusing median with average. If there are super-earners in your age group, the median will tend to be shifted higher than if one takes an average. The average will be smeared by numbers, you see, and will be closer to your friends’ salaries, I think.

    So I guess if one is just above the median one has a good deal. If one is just above average then it’s precisely that… a little above average.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Did they include the bonus too?

    Say Bonus is 1.5 month. So it become 14.5/12 multiply by monthly pay.

    Say 2,800 => 3,383

    So this is just painting picture to suit their stats.

    As we all know 2800 has to be multiply by 0.8 first. ( 🙂 CPF )

  8. Folly got it wrong. Median means that’s the amount that most of your peers in that sample are getting. Having super earners in the sample size will not skew the median.

  9. Folly – it’s the other way around. For example, you have a sample size of 5 people making $1k, $2k, $2.5k, $3k and $50k a month.

    In this case, the average is $11.7k. Everybody in that sample would be “below-average” other than the $50k a month guy. So, as you can see, the average can really be skewed if there are a few really high income earners.

    The median, on the other hand, is $2.5k, irrespective of how much the top income earner makes. That’s a better indication of where you stand in the population sample.

  10. Dude – the amount that most of your peers in the sample are getting is the Mode, not the Median. The Median is the exact amount that the guy in the middle, if you ranked everybody from First to Last Place, gets.

  11. Hmm, based on the figures IN 2007, well of course its a rosy picture to know. I would personally give at least a 10% to 15% discount to the pays stated because its not the figure you would get now in 2008/09… owing to the cuts, retrenchment etc. Pay cuts are quite the norm now if u ask me.

  12. It must depends on their professional and markets.
    Like me, work in SENTOSA project, and become a interpreter for Japanese, English, Mandarine, Cantonese and Malay is just only earned sgd4000 permonth. And my age now is 27.

  13. Hey, are these number true?

    Most of my friends between 25-29 would be very happy if they could get S$3,000 per month.

    I told my friend who have a good job abt the numbers presented in a career book, and the person said that the numbers are “rosy”. I wish he were wrong, but apparently he was right.

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  15. “Let’s define “decent” as being at least slightly more than 50% of your cohort, or what’s called the median.”

    By this definition of “decent” income, half of the people will be getting less than a “decent” income. Say the “under-earners” felt shortchanged and hopped to a job with more decent salary; they are then in a “decent” salary range but in doing so they will shift the median up. When this game continues the median salary will just keep going up and no matter how things change, half of us are going to be depressed.

    I would appeal for a better definition of “decent” income.

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