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Salary increases in Thailand and Singapore expected to be among the world’s highest in 2021

Few countries are expected to see a significant rise in the level of real salary increases in 2021, but there are exceptions to this within the Asia Pacific region

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Thailand and Singapore are joint-second place in the Asia Pacific rankings for real salary increases.

Salary increases for workers in Singapore are forecast to rise to 3.0% in 2021, up from 2.5% in 2020. Upon factoring in the predicted inflation rate of 0.3% for next year, workers in Singapore will see an average salary increase of 2.7% in real terms.

While down slightly from a 2.9% real salary increase they saw this year, it is one of the highest in the world.

“Singapore is expected to be the third highest in the global rankings for real salary increases on par with Thailand and Colombia, and second highest in the Asia Pacific on par with Thailand, despite the lower forecasted increase in 2021 compared to what workers saw this year,”

Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International

Indonesia leads the way in 2021’s Asia Pacific rankings for real salary increases with a forecast increase of 3.8% – significantly higher than the joint second-place nations of Singapore and Thailand, where the increase is expected to be 2.7% in comparison.

“Few countries are expected to see a significant rise in the level of real salary increases in 2021, but there are exceptions to this within the Asia Pacific region. One of these exceptions would be Indonesia, which stands out at the top of the list and sees the average real salary increase rise from 2.6% this year to 3.8% in 2021.

While inflation in Indonesia is expected to continue falling, repeating the trend we have seen in recent years, fewer companies in the country intend to freeze salaries – implying that the nominal salary increases would have risen. In fact, our data shows that although 42% of the companies surveyed in Indonesia implemented a salary freeze this year, only 24% of these will do so in 2021 – contributing to the rise in average salary increases in the country,” said Quane.

Top ten forecast real salary increases – Asia Pacific

Country2021 forecast real salary increase (%)2020 real salary increase (%)
Indonesia3.82.6
Thailand2.74.1
Singapore2.72.9
Republic of Korea2.61.5
China2.30.9
India2.3-0.1
Cambodia2.12.1
Bangladesh2.1-3.6
Taiwan2.03.1
Japan1.72.1
  • Salaries in Singapore are forecast to rise to 3.0% in 2021 – up from 2.5% this year
  • After factoring in inflation, the average real salary increase in Singapore will be 2.7% – one of the highest in the world
  • Thailand and Singapore are joint-second place in the Asia Pacific rankings for real salary increases
  • The number of Singapore-based companies implementing pay freezes is also expected to drop in 2021, down to 22% from 36% this year
  • Most locations in Asia Pacific are forecasting higher rates of increase in 2021
  • Rates of real salary increases across Asia Pacific are forecast to be 1.7% in 2021

These are the key findings of the latest Salary Trends Survey published by ECA International, the world’s leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world. 

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