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Taiwan's Regular Monthly Pay Drops 0.36% in 2013

Nov 11, 2014 | By CENS

The average regular monthly pay in Taiwan stood at US$1,533.9 in 2013 for a minimal annual drop of 0.36%, with a 9% rise in regular pay during 2008-2013, which far lags the corresponding 22% of South Korea, 25.9% of Hong Kong and 31.4% of Singapore, according to the statistics released by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In 2012 the average hourly pay for manufacturing workers in Taiwan was only US$9.46, far lower than S. Korea's US$20.72 and Singapore's US$24.16. To maximize income, Taiwan's laborers work longer hours than counterparts in Japan, S. Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore as well as most advanced countries. The relatively lower wage in Taiwan should be viewed by considering the large number of overseas foreign workers from the Philippines, whose pay on the island is often around US$3.30 hourly.

M. H. Kung, vice president of Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), an economic think tank in Taiwan, indicates that laborers globally have seen slow growth in wages since the financial tsunami in 2008, but the situation in Taiwan is worse as the substantive regular pay of employees has stagnated in recent years compared to the average growth of 5% in most leading economies.

Kung worries that Taiwan's low-paying jobs may be difficult to fill, with capable youths being driven offshore to find greener pasture. He urges the government to further raise the basic pay and domestic enterprises to offer higher pay to attract skillful workers and professionals.

An official at the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting & Statistics (DGBAS) notes that Taiwan's employers are unwilling to raise salaries because they have in recent years been required to pay more in national health insurance and pension reserve or  so-called non-salary compensation. Last year such compensation accounted for 13.85% of real regular pay, a new high of its kind. (JL)


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