19.6% pay hike for tourism staff here

19.6% pay hike for tourism staff here

Pay in the tourism and hospitality sector rose more in Singapore than elsewhere in the region last year, likely due to the labour crunch bedevilling employers, says a new survey.

It found that workers here received a 19.6 per cent jump in average salaries - the highest pay increment among respondents from nine Asia-Pacific markets.

The increase lifted average annual wages from US$59,914 in 2012 to US$71,637 (S$90,570) last year. The poll averaged out the pay of the entire industry, from concierges to technicians, chefs and corporate floor executives.

The survey from recruitment consultancy ACI noted that the pay rise here underlined "Singapore's reputation as one of the most expensive cities globally".

ACI chief executive Andrew Chan told The Straits Times that higher pay was required to entice mid-career professionals to switch to a new job in the tourism industry.

"Singapore's economy has been steady and good, it's been attracting a lot more visitors," he said.

"There are a lot more hotels in Singapore, yet the talent pool is not as rich, so the only way to bring in talent is to offer higher pay."

Despite the domestic turmoil that threatened Thailand's hospitality and tourism sector, pay there rose 13 per cent last year over 2012.

China was next with the average pay up 10.9 per cent.

All respondents surveyed in the nine markets said their pay rose except for those in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Mr Chan pointed out that figures from the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation showed that international tourist arrivals globally grew by 5 per cent last year to a record 1.09 billion.

"2013 proved to be an excellent year for international tourism, which showed a remarkable capacity to adjust to changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation across the region," he said.

But Singapore only offers the fourth-highest average annual salary in the region, behind Macau (US$106,800), Hong Kong (US$84,936) and Australia (US$81,939).

Mr Chan said the respondents from Macau were mostly those in the senior positions, which accounted for their higher salaries.

The survey of 800 tourism and hospitality personnel, including around 300 from Singapore, was conducted across the region in January.

feimok@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 5 in The Straits Times.

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