TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Seventy percent of Taiwanese youths are earning between NT$27,000 and NT$29,000 (US$880 to US$945) per month, according to Ministry of Labor data released on Thursday (May 4).
Of those who have graduated from university, the average monthly salary is NT$39,000.
The labor ministry said the low wages are due to a lack of graduates with skills in “key industries,” per UDN. The ministry said that young people need to be informed about training options for "key industries," as they currently lack exposure to them.
The data was released along with plans to invest NT$16 billion in youth employment programs over the next three years. The ministry said it aims to increase the number of youths graduating with skills in the semiconductor manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and smart communications industries. The goal is for recent graduates to earn on average NT$42,000 per month after one year of employment.
The labor participation rate for young people in Taiwan is also 10% lower than the OECD average, owing to the relatively high number of years in education taken by Taiwanese students, a gap the ministry also hopes to close.
Labor advocate Roy Ngerng (鄞義林) said that Taiwan’s democracy needs to be utilized to fix a current “policy paralysis” around a range of labor issues, including wages. “Investing in workers will lead to higher domestic consumption and profits. Investing in workers will also lead to higher innovation and value, and profits,” he said.
Fundamentally, Taiwan needs to adopt a human-centered approach to grow its economy, because it's good for the economy. Investing in workers will lead to higher domestic consumption and profits. Investing in workers will also lead to higher innovation and value, and profits.— Roy Ngerng 鄞義林 (@royngerng) May 3, 2023
Ngerng also noted that Taiwan has some of the highest university fees in the world, when accounting for purchasing power parity. “Given Taiwan's low wages and comparatively high university fees, as well as one of the highest housing prices globally, Taiwan's young people are having it tough.”
Low wages are not only a problem for youths. In 2022 just over 23% of Taiwan’s workforce earned under NT$30,000 per month, though that number has dropped nearly 19% over the past 10 years, per CNA. The average wage across the entire workforce was just under NT$41,000 per month.