[Blog 55] The Chief Guru Chronicles 204: Understanding Market Pricing and Salary Ranges in Singapore

HR Guru Executive Compensation

Market pricing and salary ranges are two contrasting strategies of managing compensation. One seeks competitiveness over internal equity while the other attempts to strike a balance between the two. Both play a crucial role in determining fair and competitive remuneration packages. It is therefore important to understand the concept of market pricing and salary ranges in the context of Singapore and factors that influence them.

I. What is Market Pricing?

Market pricing refers to the process of determining the value of a job in relation to similar positions in the market. It involves conducting extensive research on market trends, industry benchmarks, and economic factors to establish a competitive compensation package. Employers use market pricing as a strategic tool to attract and retain talent while ensuring they remain cost-effective.

II. Factors Influencing Market Pricing in Singapore

a) Industry and Sector: Different industries and sectors in Singapore have varying levels of demand and competition for talent. Industries such as finance, technology, and healthcare typically offer higher salaries due to their high demand and specialised skills required. Conversely, industries with lower demand or oversupply of talent may offer lower salary ranges.

b) Education and Qualifications: The level of education and qualifications required for a specific job also impacts market pricing. Generally, Singapore places great emphasis on education, and professionals with advanced degrees or specialised certifications often command higher salaries.

c) Experience and Expertise: The level of experience and expertise possessed by an individual is a significant factor in determining their salary range. Employers are willing to pay a premium for candidates with proven track records, especially for leadership positions or specialised roles.

d) Economic Factors: Economic conditions and market trends play a vital role in influencing salary ranges. Factors such as inflation rates, GDP growth, and market demand affect the overall financial landscape and consequently impact salary levels.

III. Understanding Salary Ranges

Salary ranges provide a structured framework within which organisations determine the compensation for various job roles. These ranges typically consist of a minimum, midpoint, and maximum value. The minimum represents the entry-level salary, the midpoint reflects the market average, and the maximum represents the highest level of compensation for a particular role.

a) Internal Equity: Salary ranges ensure internal equity by establishing fair and consistent compensation structures within a company. They enable employers to maintain parity and avoid pay disparities between employees performing similar roles.

b) External Competitiveness: Salary ranges also help companies remain externally competitive. By aligning their salary ranges with market trends, businesses can attract and retain top talent, avoiding the risk of losing employees to competitors offering more attractive compensation packages.

c) Employee Growth and Development: Salary ranges provide a roadmap for employees’ career progression. As individuals gain experience, acquire new skills, or take on additional responsibilities, they can expect their compensation to progress within the predefined salary range.

IV. What affects Salary Ranges

Some of the factors that could affect salary ranges include:

  • a) The use of broad banding, a compensation approach that consolidates a range of similar job classifications into one salary band;
  • b) The tenure of an employee. Often employees that have long tenure are outliers when placed on a salary spread due to historical increases;
  • c) The complexity of roles; some roles and departments have a wider variety of roles and levels;
  • d) The number of positions within the company;
  • e) The salary grade structure in the company.

V. Singapore’s Approach to Market Pricing and Salary Ranges

Singapore’s strong economy, coupled with its position as a global business hub, has shaped its approach to market pricing and salary ranges. The city-state strives to remain competitive by offering attractive compensation packages, ensuring that it attracts and retains a highly skilled workforce.

  • a) Progressive Wage Model: The Singapore government has implemented the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) to address income inequality and uplift wages for lower-income workers. PWM focuses on establishing sector-specific wage benchmarks that help uplift wages for workers in lower-skilled jobs, ensuring fair compensation across industries.
  • b) Wage Councils: The establishment of wage councils in Singapore allows for industry-specific wage recommendations. These councils comprise representatives from trade unions, employers, and the government, who collaborate to set industry-wide wage benchmarks based on factors such as skills, productivity, and market conditions.
  • c) SkillsFuture Initiative: The SkillsFuture initiative encourages lifelong learning and skills upgrading among Singaporeans. By developing a highly skilled workforce, this initiative empowers individuals to progress within their careers and command higher salaries.


Over-paying employees may help companies to retain their service, but it is not cost effective. Market pricing is simple and less resource-draining but it usually comes with a price of over-paying employees while striving for competitiveness over internal pay relativities.

Companies may have different pay philosophies and practices when it comes to building salary structures. A sustainable internal salary range structure stands on the accuracy of position evaluation and rationale behind the usage of regression, market data averaging and the choice of range spread.

Striking the right balance between market pricing and salary ranges ensures a win-win situation for both employers and employees, fostering a thriving workforce in Singapore’s dynamic business landscape.

It is crucial that you company’s compensation plan both motivates employee and sets the foundation for their own individual advancement. If your company is struggling to create an effective strategy, consider investing in compensation consulting services with HRguru

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This article is part of a series of accounts of The Chief Guru Chronicles, a column which recounts our Founder & Chief Guru Tommy Ng’s experience and encounters in HR management across various countries and industries. The purpose of this column is to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed, and to educate readers through challenges experienced. It should not be perceived and used as a professional advice. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, races, ethnic group, organisation, company, individual or country. In addition, we do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of the information. As a disclosure, some names, information and situations were intentionally concealed or edited in order to protect the identity of the involved parties. Except as expressly consented, the contents may not be reproduced, transmitted, or distributed without HR Guru Pte Ltd permission.

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