Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Poor Singapore Civil Servants


Topic: Get Paid Like Top Traders When You Are A Civil Servant, But The Job Security Is Very Different, One Is Iron-Clad, The Other Is Just Ironical At Best

The Straits Times: The salaries of Cabinet ministers and senior civil servants are slated to drop further this year as the economy shrinks.

They will fall by between 12 per cent and 20 per cent.

Even then, they 'may be subject to further adjustments given the volatility of the economy', said the Minister in charge of the civil service, Mr Teo Chee Hean.

The decline is slightly steeper than what the civil service had announced last November.

Then, it had said senior permanent secretaries and entry-grade ministers at the MR4 grade will get 18 per cent less in 2009, compared to 2008.

Now, they will get 20 per cent less, putting their annual pay package at $1.54 million, said Mr Teo.

Meanwhile, younger Administrative Service officers at the superscale entry grade of SR9 - usually top-performing officers in their early or mid-30s - will see their annual pay shrink by 12 per cent to $351,000.

Mr Teo disclosed these figures in Parliament yesterday in response to questions from Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong.

The decline comes with the Trade and Industry Ministry's estimate that growth last year was 1.5 per cent, he said.

The minister however cautioned that these are 'projected' pay figures, adding: 'As the salaries are linked to economic performance, the 2009 salaries may be subject to further adjustments given the volatility of the economy.'

A significant part of the annual pay for senior civil servants or ministers takes the form of a GDP Bonus, which is linked to growth in the gross domestic product. Last year, it comprised close to 25 per cent of their total pay package.

Another variable portion is in the form of performance bonus. For MR4 officers, this can range from 0 to 14 months.

Last year, the bonus paid out ranged from six to 10 months. The average amount is 8.33 months, or $455,000, said Mr Teo.

As for SR9 officers, the performance bonus can range from 0 to 8.5 months. Last year, the actual bonus paid out ranges from 0 to 6.5 months. The average amount: 4.82 months, or $86,000.

As for the pay of top office-holders, it was previously announced that the 2009 annual salaries of both President S R Nathan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will fall by 19 per cent compared with last year.

The President's pay will be $3.14 million and PM Lee, $3.04 million.

All civil servants also received about one month less in various bonuses at the end of last year, as compared with 2007.

Monday's announcement is in line with the guidelines from the National Wages Council last week, advising employers to freeze or cut pay rather than fire workers.

Economist Song Seng Wun said the declines are 'not a huge surprise', as they are 'in alignment with where the private sector is heading'.

He projects that, with anticipation of worsening times, overall pay cuts of 10 to 25 per cent in the private sector would not be an exception.

'So civil service pay which has increased significantly in the past few years in alignment with private sector could also see cuts of that magnitude.'

p/s photos: Ja-Jittapa Jampathom


1 comment:

Geoff said...

Fund managers should take a cue from this. With the G7 concertedly zerorizing their respective yield curves pension funds will have minuscle returns unless they step into the mine field.