By Terry Xu
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in his blog on Thursday (link),
Based on a 2012 BCA survey, the monthly gross salary (including overtime pay and allowances) of relatively new crane operators can reach $4,000. Those with more years of experience can take home a monthly gross pay of $6,000 to $7,000.
Members of the public including many of my friends read with astonishment on the news of Minister Khaw’s push for more Singaporeans to take up jobs as crane operators, highlighting the attractive pay package for crane operators which Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has helped to secure through their apprentice programme.
But is it what it seems to be?
Looking up to the latest Ministry of Manpower (MOM) report on Wages in 2011, crane operators did not earn as much as what Mr Khaw has said it to be in 2011.
The pay differences are placed in greater contrast when you breakdown the pay by age. As you can see, in 2011, crane operators in their 20s earned $2400 and those in their 50s earned $3200. Yet, Mr Khaw claims that from the survey which BCA carried out in 2012, crane operators’ current starting pay in 2013 can fetch $4000 while those with experience can earn up to $6000 – $7000.
By the definition of monthly gross wage, from MOM Report on Wages 2011. The monthly gross wage includes overtime pay and allowances, which is also the figure shown on the charts by The Great Singapore Rat Race. The wages that Mr Khaw has reported for crane operators also include overtime pay and allowances.
If Mr Khaw’s claim is true, then the pay of crane operators has increased dramatically in just a time span of two years!
The figures shown in the MOM’s Report of Wages in 2011 should be reliable as the table below the chart shows the sample size of the crane operators surveyed at 1200. The sample can be approximated as one-third of all crane operators (3600) in Singapore’s build environment sector, as stated in Mr Khaw’s blog post.
As Mr Khaw quoted the figure from BCA’s survey in 2012, one has to wonder where they got their data and sample coverage from.