Median Wage of $2,400

Food for thought and I will come back to it later. $2,400 median wage currently. What was it 10 years ago and how much is a new HDB flat going for in a non-mature estate? How much does an entry-level Korean car cost?

Target: $3,100 median wage for workers
But to achieve this, Singapore will need an economy with top quality skills: Finance Minister

05:55 AM Jul 03, 2010
by Millet Enriquez, Today

SINGAPORE – Singapore will need to have an economy with top quality skills that will allow wages for the average worker to increase by one-third in the next 10 years.

This was one of the points raised by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during a dialogue with the business community on the Economic Strategies Committee report and Budget 2010.

“That means moving from a median wage of about $2,400 today to about $3,100 in 10 years’ time. That is in real terms; today’s prices. If you build in inflation, it’s about $3,800 in 10 years’ time,” said the minister in the event organised by the Singapore Business Federation on Friday.

To get there, he said a transformation in various sectors and making Singapore one of the most liveable cities in the world will be needed.

The rapid urbanisation and high demand for middle class services has provided Singapore companies with a number of opportunities in the next five to 10 years, said Mr Shanmugaratnam.

Among the others on the panel with him were Mr Lim Swee Say, Secretary-General of the NTUC; Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office and 2nd Minister for Finance and Transport; and Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower.

Mr Shanmugaratnam said Singapore companies can play up their strengths in urban management, sanitation, and clean water that Asia and emerging markets demand. Companies can also tap into the areas of middle class services such as healthcare, travel and financial services.

“The opportunities are large, the challenge of achieving growth with a limited labour supply is also daunting but we can raise our game and make the most of these opportunities in the next five to 10 years,” Mr Shanmugaratnam said.

Meanwhile, Mr Gan said companies can reposition their businesses for higher value and new lines. They can also restructure and reorganise their business processes and take responsibility for the quality and productivity of their workforce.

Companies must also try to solve productivity “bottle necks” to ensure competitiveness, said Mr Lim. Downsizing and long working hours do not necessarily equal to sustainable productivity, he said. Instead, companies can find ways to work smarter and share their productivity gains to motivate employees.

Smaller companies can consider outsourcing some of their functions, tapping trade associations and leveraging on their networks, said Mrs Lim.

Members of the business community have raised questions on financing and help for start-up entrepreneurs, such as the establishment of Exim banks, growth financing scheme and the possibility of setting up an entrepreneur hub for start-ups.

Mrs Lim said they are still firming up the details of the financing schemes, while Mr Shanmugaratnam said the entrepreneur hub is a good idea and they will discuss it with Spring Singapore.


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