Gender Pay Gap in Singapore: Being a woman will cost you S$500,000.

by Education Cube, posted on Apr 12, 2016

Gender Pay Gap in Singapore: Being a woman will cost you S$500,000.

Singapore Gender Pay Gap

According to the Ministry of Manpower Labour Force in Singapore 2015 report that was released on 28 January 2016, the median gross monthly income from work (excluding employer CPF) of full-time employed residents with degree qualification in the age group 25 to 29 is S$3,800 for both female and male employed residents (Figure 1). However, in every other age group from age 30 years onwards, the income from males exceed those of females.

Figure 1:

Fig 1 median income

When we extrapolated this data to calculate the lifetime income over 40 years from age 20 to 59, we found that if you are a woman in Singapore, you will likely earn less than your male counterpart with the same qualifications. While it may be true that this could be attributed to occupational segregation and that males typically stay in the workforce longer that females as they typically do not take career breaks, it is nevertheless quite intriguing to see that the price to pay for being a woman is almost S$500,000 over the course of a 40-year career (Figure 2).

Figure 2:

Fig 3 the cost of being a woman is 500,000

The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index 2015 report highlighted that the global annual pay for women now equals the amount men were earning ten years ago (Figure 3). We do not think this is acceptable and neither do we think that it is acceptable for Singapore women to work an additional 5 to 10 years to equal the pay of what a man makes in 40 years. Gender should not matter more than education when it comes to lifetime earnings.

Figure 3:

 WEG Gender Income Gap

Our advice?  Rather than wait for equal pay policies to catch up, think about more lucrative occupation, or ask for a pay raise.


Gross monthly income refers to wages or salaries before deduction of employee CPF contributions and personal income tax. It comprises basic wages, overtime pay, commissions, tips, other allowances and one-twelfth of annual bonuses.
Median (or 50th percentile) income refers to the income level at the middle of the income distribution which divides the bottom half of income earners from the upper half.

World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2015 - Link
Singapore Ministry of Manpower
Labour Market Report 2015 (Chart: Median gross monthly income from work (excluding  employer CPF) of full-time employed residents aged fifteen years and over by highest qualification attained, age and sex, June 2015) - Link 

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