By Jonathan Tay
An online survey conducted by JobsCentral, from 19 August to 16 September 2011, revealed that researchers are among the thriftiest workers in Singapore. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents who are in the field of Research and Development (R&D) have pointed out that they would set aside more than 20% of their monthly income as savings.
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According to the survey results, the top three professions that are the most concerned about saving are:
1. Research and Development - 56.7% in this line of work save more than 20% of monthly income
2. Consulting - 50% save more than 20% of monthly income
3. Business Development – 47.7% save more than 20% of monthly income
On the other end of the spectrum, the worst three savers are in the fields of:
1. Events Management – 21.2% save more than 20% of monthly income
2. Public Relations – 21.2% save more than 20% of monthly income
3. Sales – 23.3% save more than 20% of monthly income
Only one in three Singaporeans save more than 20% of monthly salary. The survey, which garnered a total of 2,278 responses, also revealed that only one in three respondents (33.7%) save more than 20% of their monthly salary. Out of those who save less than 20% of their monthly income, approximately half of them (33% of total respondents) indicated saving less than 10% of their monthly income.
Higher monthly salary does not equate to higher percentage of income saved. The survey results presented a relatively consistent trend amongst the respondents with regards to their approach towards monthly savings. Regardless of monthly income, most would set aside about 10% to 20% of their income as savings.
When comparing those who made less than $1,000 a month and those who made above $10,000, it was found that the majority of respondents (35.3%) who made less than $1,000 and the majority of respondents (34.1%) who made above $10,000 have both indicated that they set aside 10 to 20 percent of their monthly income every month. Based on this finding, it can be inferred that although there is a huge difference between the absolute amount saved by these two groups, the fundamental mindset on proportion of income to save does not differ with varied income.
On average, Singapore workers save about $677 to $1,296 per month. On the other hand, respondents with monthly income of $10,000 and above had the greatest deviation in terms of saving habits. This group of respondents would save an average of between $4,212 to $8,673 per month. This results in a ratio of 2.1, when the maximum average saving is taken as a ratio of the minimum average saving.
Moonlighting is not a common trend. 72.8% of the respondents indicated that they do not hold other sources of income, outside their primary jobs.
Of the respondents who said they do, these are the common sources of additional income:
1. Dividends from stocks/bonds (37.5%)
2. Freelance projects (28.5%)
3. Part-time jobs (25.3%)
Most are uncomfortable with sharing salary information with colleagues. The survey found that Singapore workers are generally reserved about discussing the details of their salary with their co-workers. A large majority of respondents (75.7%) believe that salary-related information should be kept personal and prefer not to share it with their colleagues.
Top earners are more reluctant to share salary information. Respondents with higher gross monthly salaries are more tight-lipped about information concerning their salary as compared to those who earn less. Those who earn between $6,000 to $6,999 monthly are most unwilling to share their income information with their peers. This is opposed to the smaller percentage of 64.7% received by voters earning less than $1,000 a month.
Most would save up the bulk of their bonus. With regard to the disbursement of their bonus, the majority of respondents (44.1%) replied that they would save the bulk of their bonus.
Survey results also revealed that only 9% would put the bulk of their bonus into investments. A much smaller survey population, consisting of 0.5% of the respondents, would donate a large part of their bonus to charity.
At least one in three respondents (33.7%) agreed that they would spend their bonus on recreation, which include going on holidays (19.4%) and shopping (14.3%).
The survey was conducted online over a period of four weeks, from 19 August to 16 September 2011, and targeted Singapore residents aged between 16 and 65 years. Invitations to take part in the survey were broadcasted via e-mailers and online banners. The survey was also publicised via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
A total of 2,278 respondents took part in the survey. The respondents consist of employed individuals coming from all levels of occupation, work industries and sectors of work.
Using a confidence level of 95% and sample size of 2,278, the results have a sampling error of +/- 2.05%. This means that for every 100 times the exact survey is conducted, the results obtained are conformable to a margin of error of 2.05%, 95% of the time. This also means that the results are highly significant. Sampling error for data from sub-samples varies.