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Talk of the Day -- Real salary slumps to new low

Talk of the Day -- Real salary slumps to new low

Real salary fell to a three-year low in Taiwan in the first quarter of this year because of a combination of factors, including decreased Lunar New Year bonus, smaller salary increases and higher rate of inflation, according to local media reports. Data released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) show that the average regular salary amounted to NT$37,508 (US$1,256.9) for the January-March period, up 0.74 percent from the year-earlier level. The average salary for the same period, however, declined 1.64 percent year-on-year to NT$54,897, a three-year low. If inflation rate was taken into account, the Q1 real average income was only NT$53,689, the lowest in four years. The following are excerpts from a special report in the Wednesday edition of the United Evening News on changes in local people's average income: Chen Min, deputy director of the DGBAS's Department of Census, said the real average income slumped to a four-year low could partly be attributed to less-than-before Lunar New Year bonus and performance bonus given by private enterprises this year due to a global economic slowdown. The Lunar New Year holiday fell in February. With economic prospects shrouded in uncertainty, Chen said, local companies generally offered smaller-than-expected salary hikes for their employees at the beginning of this year, leading to a decline in real income. If a 1.81 percent increase in the consumer price index for the January-March period was taken into account, the Q1 average real salary posted a 3.39 percent year-on-year drop. According to DGBAS statistics, Taiwan's average real salary was NT$57,169 for the first quarter in 2008, NT$56,132 for Q1 in 2003, and NT$56,949 for Q1 1998. All these figures indicated that the country's Q1 average real income was lower than that recorded 15 years ago. Nevertheless, Chen said, Taiwan still outpaced Japan and the United States in real salary growth in the past four years. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by 1111 Job Bank showed that starting pay for local college graduates was NT$30,614 a month in 2012, only NT$279 higher than that for junior high school graduates whose starting pay reached an average of NT$30,335. In comparison, the starting pay for senior high school graduates was the lowest at NT$29,421. Lee Ta-hua, a spokesman for the online job bank, said oversupply has led to low pay for fresh college graduates. "As junior high school graduates are usually more willing to engage in blue-collar manual work, including dangerous, dirty and difficult (3D) ones, they tend to be able to earn more once they complete apprenticeship and become skilled workers in those fields," Lee said. The 1111 job bank survey also found that the starting pay for Ph.D. holders was NT$52,387 in 2012, NT$39,196 for master's degree holders and NT$31,549 for junior college graduates. Compared with the 2011 levels, only starting pay for Ph.D. holders increased 4.21 percent and that for junior college graduates up 1.83 percent, while starting pay for other graduates all declined. (May 22, 2013). (By Sofia Wu)


Updated : 2021-08-03 16:23 GMT+08:00