WORKERS can expect pay rises next year in line with what they received this year, but they should also expect higher inflation to eat into their wages more, said ECA International yesterday.
The human resources firm's annual salary trends report forecasts that salaries will rise by an average of 4.5 per cent - the same as this year - but living costs are also expected to rise, so the real impact of the wage lift will be lower.
"After inflation, real wage increases will average 2 per cent in Singapore next year, down from last year's 3.1 per cent rise in real terms," said ECA's regional director for Asia, Mr Lee Quane.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore said last month that the tight labour market will continue to drive up wages for Singaporeans, although it also means that firms are increasingly passing on higher costs to consumers.
Core inflation, a measure of the rise in everyday out-of-pocket costs, will likely be 2 to 2.5 per cent this year and 2 to 3 per cent next year, it added.
The 4.5 per cent average salary increase expected next year would be the third lowest among the 17 Asian markets studied by ECA, after Taiwan and Japan. But once inflation is factored in, workers here would get the 12th-highest salary increments in the region.
The biggest nominal pay rises are expected in Pakistan, where companies are anticipating 12 per cent increments on average, but, once inflation is taken into account, Pakistan falls to third place on the list.
In real terms, Vietnamese workers will be better off than anyone next year.
On average, salaries in Asia are expected to increase by 7.2 per cent next year. Factoring in inflation, real wage rises will average 2.7 per cent.
This year, ECA's survey was based on information collected from 340 multinational companies across 66 markets. More than 140 companies provided data on their Singapore-based staff.