Inflation to hit white-collar staff pay: Poll

Inflation to hit white-collar staff pay: Poll

SINGAPORE - Inflation is tipped to ease a bit next year but it's likely to be still high enough to wipe out wage gains of white-collar staff in Singapore, according to a global survey by human resource consultancy ECA International.

A projected 4.3 per cent inflation rate is expected to reduce a nominal 4.5 per cent pay increase, the same as the actual increase in 2012, to a real gain of just 0.2 per cent in 2013.

While this is better than in 2012 when inflation eroded all the wage gains, it's a small consolation. In fact, the projected real wage increase for Singapore next year is the smallest among the 14 Asia-Pacific locations covered in the annual survey, which was released on Wednesday.

Even in nominal terms, the 4.5 per cent pay jump is smaller than the average 6.2 per cent rise expected for the region, which includes Vietnam, India, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Vietnam, where employers are planning to give a 12 per cent raise, is likely to see the biggest rise in nominal white-collar salary in the Asia-Pacific region in 2013. In Japan, where a 2 per cent raise is anticipated, the increase is expected to be the lowest.

The picture changes when inflation is factored in. While Vietnam remains the location where employers are likely to dish out the biggest wage increase in real terms, Japan, where deflation rather than inflation rules, climbs to eighth position.

China rises from fourth to second, knocking India down eight positions to 10th in the rankings for real wage gains. Singapore drops from ninth to the bottom.

Of the 65 locations covered in the survey worldwide, Venezuela (28.1 per cent rise) is tipped to top ECA's 2013 rankings for nominal wage increase for white-collar employees. Greece, Japan and Switzerland are likely to see the smallest increase (2 per cent).

By region, Latin America is expected to have the biggest salary jump (12.2 per cent, against 12.7 per cent in 2012).

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