High costs and low wages in Singapore

A comprehensive survey released by UBS has confirmed what economists, academics, opposition politicians and ordinary Singaporeans have known all along: That the Singaporean worker’s wages has decreased over the past 3 years, while the cost of living has shot up.

The Prices and Earnings 2009 survey by the Swiss bank, which the Straits Times did an Insight article on, offers a detailed look at prices for goods and services, and wages and working hours in 73 major cities worldwide. The survey found that:

offers a detailed look
at prices for goods and services, and wages and working
hours for 14 professions in 73 cities worldwide
  • Singapore’s wages after taxes and social security contributions rank us at 41 out of 73;
  • Singapore ranks as the 15th most expensive city, after factoring in the cost of rent (a major expenditure for Singaporeans);
  • Our workers’ purchasing power is ranked 50 out of 73;
  • Three years ago a Singaporean worker had to work 22 minutes to earn enough to afford a Big Mac. Today that same worker has to work for 36 minutes, because his wages have decreased and the cost of living has increased.

The contrast between the ranking of our cost of living (15) and our wages (41) couldn’t be more stark. Yet when asked for their views on these unfavourable survey results, two MPs were dismissive about it.

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