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5 minute read

Which Singapore Jobs and Industries Have Been Offering Higher Salaries?

Want to know which jobs had the highest salary gains recently? Here’s a quick snapshot.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released its annual occupational wage survey in July 2023, conducted from July to December of the previous year. These findings were collated by over 4,000 local private-sector employers who hired over 222,000 full-time workers with Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions in June 2022.

According to MOM’s survey, the top ten jobs with the greatest wage percentage growth in 2022 were as below.

Ranking Job Title
1 Creative Advertising Professionals
2 Visual Merchandisers
3 Client Account Service Executives
4 Librarians
5 Chemical Engineering Technician (Excluding Petrochemicals, Petroleum & Natural Gas)
6 Information Technology Infrastructure Technician
7 Machine Operator for Food and Related Products
8 Special Education Teacher
9 Sales Professionals for Institutional Sales of Financial Products
10 IT Support Technician (including IT Users Helpdesk Technicians)


Wondering why these jobs are so hot in the marketplace? Big picture-wise, salary prospects are influenced by factors such as economic conditions, technological advancements, societal trends, industry trends and market dynamics.

Betul Genc, SVP and Head of ASEAN Adecco, also shared with Workipedia by MyCareersFuture: “Amidst the ongoing economic volatility, the business landscape has become notably competitive.

“Transformations in consumer patterns have heightened recognition of the pivotal role customer experience plays in boosting sales.

“The surge in post-pandemic travels has prompted sectors like hospitality and retail to actively enhance sales and marketing strategies and captivate consumers via attractive storefronts, leading to a demand for digital marketers, creative advertising, visual merchandisers, business development, and sales professionals.

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Betul also believed that demand for special education teachers could be linked to increased recognition of the importance of inclusive education, highlighted in 2022 and early 2023.

She said: “There are 22 special education schools in Singapore, supporting the remaining 20% with more severe special educational requirements.

“In 2020, MOE launched The Journeys Package, a framework on the career pathways for educators in the special needs education sector.

“There were enhancements in the professional development of teachers in general education schools to improve outcomes for special needs students.

“Partnerships have also been set up between special needs schools and general education schools for students to interact with each other, encouraging inclusivity. Additionally, ACS will start operating a special education school in 2026 which will further increase the demand for special education teachers,” Betul shared.

Ultimately, specific industries might face challenges in talent attraction and retention due to slow technology adoption, inability to evolve their work mode or workforce due to the nature of their business and lack of appeal of the sector or role.

Challenges in rising supply chain costs, inflation, talent shortage and the urgency to escalate business post-pandemic are straining businesses.

Furthermore, the necessity to raise base salaries for pass holders has prompted wage adjustments for certain roles, including machine operators and chemical engineering technicians, to meet local compensation standards.

Dr Xu Le, a lecturer in the Department of Strategy and Policy, NUS Business School, also shared with Workipedia by MyCareersFuture: “These salary trends are also closely related to the boom of big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, with jobs that need creativity, information technology (IT) and big data expertise gaining popularity.

“For example, both the creative advertising and visual merchandisers on the top ten list don’t only need creativity, but also technical support from IT and big data!”

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Not all jobs did as well in 2022

The survey also showed that the jobs where wages dropped the most significantly were hairstylists/hairdressers, assistant electronics engineers, and general practitioners/physicians. The gross median salary for such roles decreased by more than 30%.

Betul shared: “In August 2023, The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) lowered Singapore’s 2023 growth forecast to 0.5%-1.5% from the previous 0.5%-2.5% due to the sluggish demand among key trade partners.

“Due to the global decline in electronics demand, including semiconductors and integrated circuits, Singapore electronics exports have experienced a deceleration. This could have influenced wages for positions like assistant electronics engineers.

“With Singapore’s ageing population and heightened recognition of health’s significance, healthcare consumption has risen.

“However, the landscape has expanded to include a broader array of stakeholders encompassing pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

“The integration of technology into medical practices, the transfer of knowledge to nursing and pharmacy professionals, and the persistent use of masks which curbs virus transmission might have collectively contributed to a potential reduction in demand for general practitioners and physicians in 2022.”

Dr Xu added: “For roles like hairstyling, one has to factor in that these fall under services that advanced technological products and tools can readily replace.

Furthermore, the median gross wage can be influenced by the industry in which it operates. She added that if an industry is undergoing contraction or decline, as seen in sectors like electronics due to weakened global demand, it can lead to a reduction in average salaries.

Which Singapore-based jobs and industries were hot in 2022?

Betul believes that roles like strategic planning manager, securities and finance dealer, in-house legal counsel, risk management manager, fund/portfolio manager and business valuer were held in high regard due to their ability to develop long-term strategies, navigate complexities, manage risks and execute well-informed decisions.

And it looks likely that the overall significance of these roles is likely to persist “due to ongoing technological evolution, global uncertainties, regulatory shifts, global uncertainties, and market expansion.”

However, the magnitude of wage change will depend on varying degrees of demand.

Essentially, these roles below were valued by employers due to the need for business growth, evolving landscapes and emerging challenges.

Ranking Job Title Salary (Gross)
1 Strategic Planning Manager $15,692
2 Securities and Finance Dealer $15,690
3 In-house legal counsel (Except judiciary and ministries) $14,000
4 Business Valuer $13,583
5 Chief Information/Technology/Security Officer $13,380
6 Regional Sales Manager $13,018
7 Securities and Finance Dealer (excluding foreign exchange, financial derivatives and other finance dealer) $12,813
8 Risk Management Manager $12,688
9 ICT Sales and Services Professional $11,833
10 Fund/Portfolio Manager (including asset allocator) $11,315

The top ten industries with the best salaries for professionals, managers, and executives are as below.

Ranking Industry
1 Telecommunications, Broadcasting & Publishing
2 Financial Services
3 Education, Health and Social Services
4 Insurance
5 Petroleum, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Products
6 Legal, Accounting and Management Services
7 Professional Services
8 Water Transport and Supporting Services
9 Air Transport and Supporting Services
10 Wholesale and Retail Trade

For associate professionals and technicians, the top ten industries with the best salaries are as below.

Ranking Industry
1 Legal, Accounting and Management Services
2 Petroleum, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Products
3 Financial Services
4 Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Publishing
5 Architectural & Engineering Services
6 Professional Services
7 Insurance
8 Construction
9 Electronic, Computer and Optical Products
10 Manufacturing

For clerical, service and sales workers, the top ten industries with the best salaries are as below.

Ranking Industry
1 Financial Services
2 Petroleum, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Products
3 Legal, Accounting and Management Services
4 Professional Services
5 Financial and Insurance Services
6 Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Publishing
7 Electronic, Computer and Optical Products
8 IT & Other Information Services
9 Water Transport and Supporting Services
10 Wholesale Trade


For production and transport operators, cleaners and labourers, the top ten industries with the best salaries are as follows.

Ranking Industry
1 Petroleum, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Products
2 Architectural & Engineering Services
3 Professional Services
4 Transport and Storage
5 Land Transport and Supporting Services
6 Construction
7 Fabricated Metal Products, Machinery and Equipment
8 Water Transport and Supporting Services
9 Wholesale Trade
10 Paper/Rubber/Plastic Products and Printing

While wages are shaped by a multitude of factors, as previously highlighted, the industry wage rankings within both PMETs and non-PMETs have revealed three primary patterns: Singapore’s industry proficiency, industry allure and scarcity of talent, Betul believes.

Singapore is renowned for its expertise in specific sectors, such as being a prominent global centre for finance and trade. It has gained recognition for its high-quality education system, and Singapore has advanced its 5G technology and demand for connectivity.

These have contributed to the competitive wage landscape in sectors such as telecommunications, broadcasting and publishing; financial services; education, health and social services; insurance and professional services.

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She shared: “Industries characterised by demanding work conditions such as extended work hours, high-stress environments, and industries that face challenges in recruiting entry-level workers are predictably positioned among the top 10 highest-paying industries.

“Ultimately, the wage prospects in these industries will be influenced by the broader context.

Whether or not they will maintain this wage trajectory will be dependent on the multitude of factors, of course!”

Dr Xu believes that industries interconnected with exports, such as electronics, manufacturing, and wholesale, are projected to witness a decline in response to weakened global demand.

“As such, individuals employed within these sectors might not enjoy salaries as competitive as those in other industries moving forwards”, she concluded.

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