SINGAPORE (Nov 22): After factoring in higher inflation of 1.4% as predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the average Singaporean employee is expected to see a real salary increase of 2.6% in 2019 – down from the 2.9% increase received in 2018 and slightly below the Asia Pacific average of 2.7%.

Notwithstanding inflation, Singaporeans will see their salaries increase by 4% next year.

This is according to the latest Salary Trends survey by ECA International (ECA), which analysed current and projected salary increases for the local employees of 69 countries across the world.

Notably, Asia Pacific countries dominated globally with the highest real wage increases by occupying 14 spots out of the global top 20 – and all but one making up the top 10.

Singapore ranked 11th out of 20 countries regionally, ahead of countries like Hong Kong (15th) and Japan (19th) but comparatively far behind India, which topped the Asia Pacific list with a projected real salary increase of 5.1%.

ECA notes that similarly, other Asian countries with rapidly-growing economies such as Vietnam and Indonesia are expected to see significant increases to the average salary. These countries rank second and third, respectively, in the global and Asia Pacific rankings.

In a press release on Monday, Lee Quane, regional director - Asia at ECA International, attributes the rapid growth of many Asian economies and their local salaries to low inflation and rising productivity.

Quane also highlights how in greater China,  mainland China will lead the way with real salaries increasing at the fastest rate in 2019, followed by Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Globally as well as regionally, China ranks 4th in real salary increase.

“Employers in mainland China seem to be more positive on the economic outlook, with companies forecasting an increase in salaries in nominal terms of 6.5% in 2019, compared to 6% in 2018. This compares favourably to the rest of Asia Pacific, where the overall average nominal salary increase is set to remain unchanged at 5.5%, similar to that in 2018,” says Quane.

Elsewhere, ECA says high inflation continues to suppress pay increases in Africa, while economic woes continue in Argentina, which sits at the bottle of the global table with a predicted -8.7% decrease in average real salaries for 2019

It nonetheless sees positive signs of growth in Europe, where average real salary growth in the year ahead is expected to remain unchanged from 2018 at 0.8%. The region is anticipated to have the lowest inflation in the world next year at 1.8% on average.