Women still trailing men in the workplace: Labour Ministry

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

SINGAPORE: Singaporean women in the workforce are still trailing their male counterparts significantly in terms of pay.

According to a recent Ministry of Manpower report, the adjusted gender pay gap in Singapore sits at 6.0%, equating to just over SGD 300 per month. This compares favourably to an adjusted gender pay gap of 18.3% in China, and 8% in the US, but is still cause for concern among local observers.

The adjusted gender pay gap takes factors such as working hour differences and occupational adjustments into account to make an international comparison possible. It is a “better measure of whether men and women are paid equally for doing similar work,” a Ministry spokesperson advised.

Singapore President Halimah Yacob referenced the research at her opening address of the Institute of Policy Studies Women’s Conference last month, saying that women’s caregiving responsibilities remained a key contributing factor to the pay gap. “The need to take time off work leads to lags in work experience and career progression, and consequently earnings,” she said. “Employers and family members therefore need to be more understanding and encouraging by giving them greater support.”

Women tend to place greater value than men on family-friendly work cultures that allow for flexible-work arrangements when needed, as well as having line managers who are aware of unconscious biases in the workplace. Such factors will also feed into gender pay discrepancies.

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