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Wage Alert: Low-income wages go up

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The salaries of lower-income workers have been on a steady incline, but the local government has pledged to do more to help.

Up to last year, the real median gross monthly income for the lowest 20th percentile of employed residents went up 0.1% per year since 2002, having gone up 2.2% each year between 1996 and 2002, The Straits Times reported.

These figures were shared by Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing in Parliament, and have been adjusted for inflation in real terms. The figures also do not take into account governmental support such as the Workfare Income Supplement, which is aimed at increasing the incomes of low-wage workers.

The number of Singaporeans who did not complete secondary school education has also dropped to just 1% today, down from 10% 20 years ago and 4% a decade ago.

The number of Singaporeans who furthered their education to gain a post-secondary qualification also went up to 94% today, compared to 86% 10 years ago and 60% 20 years ago.

Chan said the government will continue to support lower-income workers, and while it has been looking at studies on inter-generational income elasticity, the data hasn’t been found to be “particularly complete” because of varying assumptions.

“What we want to do is to be able to consistently track the cohorts going forward and that will require us to conduct some longitudinal studies which will take some time,” Chan said.

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