Singapore Expats Forum

Average salaries in Singapore

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

singasian
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average salary

Postby singasian » Tue, 20 Apr 2010 1:31 pm

College graduaged is 30000-35000

khats
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So tell me about pharmacy....

Postby khats » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 8:34 pm

I have signed up with an agency and they have found me a company who is willing to offer me a salary of 4000-4500 SGD per month to work as a pharmacist. In the UK I am earning 40k per annum GBP.

I don't want to compare my British salary with Singapore as I understand food and tax is lighter. The company will also contribute 300-500 SGD towards housing allowance.

My question...is this an average salary for a pharmacist???

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Postby Leo23 » Wed, 28 Apr 2010 5:09 am

Your UK salary is roughly SGD$85k and you would consider a role there for almost half, SGD$48k-$54k??

Forget if that is an average salary for a pharmacist or not in SG. Your main concern is getting at least equal income, if not more, otherwise why would you consider making the move to earn less money? What happens if you decide to go back to the UK, having earned half what you were when you left?

The local tax rate costs the employer nothing so touting that as a benefit to you is irrelevant and only to help them "justify" paying you less. Plus, you only truly benefit from the lower tax rate if you are in Singapore for an entire tax year, which at this time would mean you have to reside there until at least April 2012. Otherwise you would likely have to top-up in the UK what you paid in SG tax and would have paid in the UK on the same salary. At that level it might not be that much (perhaps £1,500) but anything is undesirable. However, if you deduct your rent/utils expense from your income you might not owe anything.

By all accounts, SG is expensive for westerners to maintain lifestyle. The SGD300-500 housing allowance is a joke. Ask for triple that and include it in your salary to make it SGD$5k - $6k per month.

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Postby richie303 » Wed, 28 Apr 2010 8:29 pm

I posted this link in another topic, however, it's very relevant here. This is a more up to date version of OP link on Kelly Website, this time on Hudson.


~Clickety Click~


Edit - corrected spelling
Richie - East Coast Superbabe...

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Postby khats » Fri, 30 Apr 2010 9:31 pm

Thanks for the advice Leo23 my husband and I want to disappear from the UK for a couple of years. Neither of us are concerned about making any savings abroad as that is not our intention (but neither living without any spare change either). Our intention is to travel a bit whilst we are there, visit Thailand, Malaysia etc. When I told the company who is offering me a position what I am getting in the UK they said they won't match that. However, after reading your comment I think I will most definitely ask for more.

We got married last year and are both 28/29 and thought we need to see the world outside UK. We already have a house here with tenants so we don't really need to worry about our mortgage (unless they leave!!) However I do plan on having babies by next year, but at the salary they are offering I don't want to struggle either.

My husband is a primary school teacher and hasn't as yet secured a job in Singapore so I am concerned a bit about that too. He wants to make this move regardless as he believes he can get relief work (substitutes) once he is there. Is this a wise decision???? He is currently unhappy at his school with all the pressure and has set his mind on getting away for a bit.

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get away

Postby terrie35 » Mon, 03 May 2010 8:21 pm

khats wrote:Thanks for the advice Leo23 my husband and I want to disappear from the UK for a couple of years. Neither of us are concerned about making any savings abroad as that is not our intention (but neither living without any spare change either). Our intention is to travel a bit whilst we are there, visit Thailand, Malaysia etc. When I told the company who is offering me a position what I am getting in the UK they said they won't match that. However, after reading your comment I think I will most definitely ask for more.

We got married last year and are both 28/29 and thought we need to see the world outside UK. We already have a house here with tenants so we don't really need to worry about our mortgage (unless they leave!!) However I do plan on having babies by next year, but at the salary they are offering I don't want to struggle either.

My husband is a primary school teacher and hasn't as yet secured a job in Singapore so I am concerned a bit about that too. He wants to make this move regardless as he believes he can get relief work (substitutes) once he is there. Is this a wise decision???? He is currently unhappy at his school with all the pressure and has set his mind on getting away for a bit.


I know how you feel since I have done much travelling myself. Sometimes the other man's grass is greener so I believe it is best to face the problem and not to believe that if you get away if you will be ok. There can be other problems when you are in a foreign coountry. It doesn't make sense if you are not making enough to be better than where you are now. Singapore can be an expensive place.

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Postby Leo23 » Tue, 04 May 2010 6:16 am

khats, when they say they won't match that it doesn't necessarily mean accepting their first offer. Negotiate for more (75%). Yes, taxes are lower but that is no skin off the company's back.

Sorry, I cannot comment on your husband's situation, as in same situation as you in trying to negotiate an acceptable offer.

From what I've seen, a budget of probably at least SGD $2k-2.5k is needed for a decent condo. If you go below $2.5k then you have to pay agent fees. That's already > half of your potential income. Throw in deposit, taxes, utilities, groceries, transportation, entertainment, meals out, traveling for fun and back home and that all adds up quickly!

A little anecdote:
Recruiter initially quoted me an amount I could reasonably expect if an offer was made (about 55% my previous UK rate). I figured this would be the starting point of negotiations. HR's first offer came in at 25% below that and was told they could possibly "stretch it" by an additional 10%. Told them thanks but no thanks.

They came back with second offer that was 20% higher! So much for the 10% "stretch". However, that was still 10% below what I was initially expecting for the first offer. So, they "look good" increasing it by more but from a very weak starting position as the first offer was a huge low-ball. Interesting and frustrating strategy.

Growing weary of the process, I went back to the agent with several acceptable options for me but not knowing how negotiations work in SG it is a bit daunting. The company could turn around and say forget it but I think HR is just trying to get as low as possible and that the business might be willing to actually spend a bit more. No idea and could backfire (which would be huge disappointment) but it would also look quite weak on my part to succumb to such a "low" offer when they know how much higher my previous rate was and what my more reasonable expectations are. My target is equally lower than my previous rate as it is above the expected starting point. Hoping that since we have come this far it would be beneficial for both of us to meet halfway to start the relationship off on the right foot.

What happens if/when you go home, or elsewhere, without the tax benefit and try to negotiate a higher salary that you had before???

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Postby KittyJules76 » Thu, 06 May 2010 1:47 pm

Here in Singapore, what will be the salary range for Senior HR Exe? No local or PR though. Expat (from Myanmar), has a degree (from my own country), Post Grad Dip (attended here but the course is from Southern Cross Uni, Australia). 7 years experience back in home town as HR and 2 years experience here.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 06 May 2010 2:25 pm

Honestly or do you want your ego stroked?

Honestly, if you are getting 2K, be thankful. My two accounts executives, both from Myanmar, are getting 1.8K (each have 1.5 years experience here) One has a relevant degree and 10 years audit experience back home and speaks almost no English and the other, has a Bachelor's & recently gained his Master's from Kaplan here in Singapore. And instructor/educator experience back home but speaks reasonable English as he's been in Singapore several years now going to school.

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Postby KittyJules76 » Thu, 06 May 2010 5:14 pm

It's a honest question. Besides why should I be thankful for 2k if I think I can have a chance or improve myself to deserve more. If what I am getting is consider too low than the range then I have to find a reason why.
In terms of language problem, no wonder we cant speak or write properly coz it's not our mother tounge. Plus the teaching way of English as a language in our country is very weak and depressing (everything you will learn by hard until your brain can remember the words without understanding the meaning of it). Experience-wise we are lacking of oversea exposure in the area.
Anyway, this is a forum, a forum for expats where I can learn, share and ask advise from you guys and that's what I am doing. To get a response to my question, it's not my choice, it's yours. Sorry if i got carried away a bit. :D

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Postby gravida » Thu, 06 May 2010 6:40 pm

KittyJules76 wrote:In terms of language problem, no wonder we cant speak or write properly coz it's not our mother tounge. Plus the teaching way of English as a language in our country is very weak and depressing (everything you will learn by hard until your brain can remember the words without understanding the meaning of it). Experience-wise we are lacking of oversea exposure in the area.


Here is my response: why your future employer should bother with all that mentioned above? If he/she can choose between you and someone with better skills, none of your explanations will convince her/him to choose you over the other party. While I may feel for you that you have not be the fortunate one and that your country is closed, you did not have enough exposure and chances to learn languages, that's not enough to pay you more than your current skills are worth.

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Postby samuel.faith » Thu, 06 May 2010 10:09 pm

gravida wrote:
KittyJules76 wrote:In terms of language problem, no wonder we cant speak or write properly coz it's not our mother tounge. Plus the teaching way of English as a language in our country is very weak and depressing (everything you will learn by hard until your brain can remember the words without understanding the meaning of it). Experience-wise we are lacking of oversea exposure in the area.


Here is my response: why your future employer should bother with all that mentioned above? If he/she can choose between you and someone with better skills, none of your explanations will convince her/him to choose you over the other party. While I may feel for you that you have not be the fortunate one and that your country is closed, you did not have enough exposure and chances to learn languages, that's not enough to pay you more than your current skills are worth.


I think you're missing her point. IMHO, she was merely responding to SMS' remarks on language proficiency of people coming from Burma.

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Postby samuel.faith » Thu, 06 May 2010 10:32 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Honestly or do you want your ego stroked?

Honestly, if you are getting 2K, be thankful. My two accounts executives, both from Myanmar, are getting 1.8K (each have 1.5 years experience here) One has a relevant degree and 10 years audit experience back home and speaks almost no English and the other, has a Bachelor's & recently gained his Master's from Kaplan here in Singapore. And instructor/educator experience back home but speaks reasonable English as he's been in Singapore several years now going to school.


IMO, I got an impression that you're saying they don't deserve higher salary because of language issue. But I'll stand corrected.

I have to admit that a lot of people coming from China and Myanmar are seriously lacking in language proficiency. Yet didn't the gentleman from Myanmar you mentioned still get to work at your company regardless of his language problem? His position may not require advanced communication skills and thus lack of English might not be an issue here thought.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 06 May 2010 11:00 pm

Actually, the MD has wanted to let the English handicapped one go a long time ago. The only reason she's still here is because of me. I use here to do internal auditing as she is excellent in that role and all I have to do is point her in the general direction, thereby freeing me up to take care of management of both departments. The young fella with the Masters speaks English well enough to function without problems.

The reality I was speaking of has actually nothing at all to do with what I think they deserve or their language capabilities, but more to do with where they come from. Their language capability will stop them from getting a job at all if the company cannot see how to use them effectively though. I want higher pay for both of them, but the owner knows that Burmese market rates are no more than 1.8K to start and generally that doesn't move too much unless they manage to secure PR. Normally, after 2 years here they will accomplish that and by then their English will be sufficiently strong enough to allow them to push forward. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is here and the damned agents here know that as well. Local Singaporean bosses are well known for extracting the very last ounce of blood from a person before discarding them.

The reality is depending on the cost of living and salary structure in your homeland will influence you starting salary here. I don't believe in this, but unfortunately I work for a local SME so I have to adhere to the company line.

How do you justify bringing a Bangladeshi welder to a shipyard and paying him 700/mo and bringing over a welder from the UK to do the same exact job in the same exact shipyard and paying him in excess of 8K/month? Both are tradespersons and not academically advanced, but work with their hands. Why is it done? Because the can and the Bangladeshi wants a job. Or the Burmese wants a job.

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Postby KittyJules76 » Fri, 07 May 2010 10:27 am

What sms said is true enough. Sadly the burmese market rate has already down the drain coz of most Myanmar who are willing to accept a salary lower than 1.8k. That's why my first 20 interviews went successful but the salary they offer me was not more than 1.2k, 1.4k and 1.6k. Of course they will apply me for S pass and give them back whatever difference with my actual salary on the pay day. Luckily I said no (dont know at that time it's illegal) and got 1.8k offer just one week before my visa expire.
Language capability has another problem for us too. I remembered one of my work colleague (back in Myanmar) came here to find the job. He got interviews due to his qualification but at the end he didnt get the job coz he cannot speak English at all. He even missed the second interview as he didnt understand when the company informed him to come for 2nd interview.
For me, I am fortunate enough to work with foreign expats (mostly from UK and Australia) on all my previous jobs. Well have to see how it goes.


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