Singapore—A recent report from DBS Bank has shown that workers in the 35 to 44 age bracket have been affected the most by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in terms of their salaries.
Anonymised data from 1.2 million DBS accounts showed that over 300,000 workers saw a decrease in their salaries by over 10 percent between the months of March and May of this year. Over half of the workers, or 56 percent, had a decrease in their salaries by more than 30 percent.
Straitstimes.com quotes Irvin Seah, DBS Group Research senior economist, as saying that, this age bracket, which comprises the biggest group of workers in Singapore, have less support measures to help them than older employees do.
Mr Seah said, “Older workers have a lot of policy support measures like the Wage Credit Scheme and the Workfare (Income Supplement) Scheme, which are essentially some form of safeguard for them.” Compounding the woes of workers from ages 35 to 44 is that they are up against competition from younger workers, plus their higher salaries also put them first in line for salary cuts.
The report from DBS is based on the macro-economic data concerning 1.2 million accounts of Singaporeans from the ages of 25 to 70 using the bank as the main salary crediting bank. There were no work permit holders included in the study.
DBS added that around half of those whose who saw a salary decrease were earning less than S$3,000 a month. Among them, 51 percent of workers experienced a decline of income by over half their salaries.
As for savings, 64 percent of the employees whose salaries were decreased by a significant amount had less than three months worth of emergency funds. Over 40 percent in this group only had emergency funds amounting to less than one month’s worth of expenses.
When examined by industry, the aviation sector had the biggest number of employees with decreased salaries, with over 39 percent receiving lower salaries in March and 80 percent receiving lower salaries in May.
Mr Seah also warned that the pandemic could “potentially widen the income gap in Singapore,” calling it a “highly regressive event.”
“Its impact on the various income groups has been disparate and uneven, and as we have found, skew unfavourably towards lower-income earners,” he added.
Mr Seah noted, however, that the government’s response to the pandemic has been “a decisive and robust,” including the new stimulus spending that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Monday (17 Aug), but added that “more targeted policy intervention may be required to provide calibrated assistance to those that are worst affected”. —/TISG
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