Will salary transparency be a norm in Singapore?

Find out if salary transparency be a norm in Singapore today

Female in the workplace

Will salary transparency be a norm in Singapore?

A survey by Bankrate has found that the Gen Z workforce in United States (US) is open about sharing their salaries with their peers. While some big companies overseas have also embraced salary transparency, some remain sceptical. 42% of Gen Z workers, ages 18-25, and 40% of millennial employees, ages 26-41, have shared their salary information with a co-worker or other professional contact, the survey found.

This may result in companies re-evaluating their hiring processes which will determine their ability to attract upcoming talent to remain competitive and sustainable in the long run.

To weigh the pros and cons along with its applicability in Singapore, Prime Time’s Timothy Go and Bharati Jagdish spoke with Alena Salakhova, our Managing Director on MONEY FM 89.3.


Why do people have open conversations about salaries?

The main reason and driving force remains the same – to be more informed during salary negotiations and be better prepared for interviews.  

Alena shared, “It is seen more often now that Gen Z are very open in sharing their salaries, to use it as part of their salary negotiations. This is also prevalent amongst millennials in the workforce. The reason being their mentality – they are all for transparency and integrity. They believe that having a fair and square approach towards salary is the way to go.”

“We need to be mindful that the Gen Z population is going to make up the majority of the workforce very soon. Finding the balance on what we expect as well as what they expect is key. In my experience here at SThree as well as from educating our clients, having salary grading and banding along with knowing the rationale of each band have worked well.”


What should employers and business owners look out for when hiring Gen Zs?

“Be mindful that they are more vocal. Be mindful of your means of communication and the channels you are using. Know how they consume information. I’ve been in the recruitment industry for over 20 years and things have changed, so have the way people execute and multitask have also evolved. Even when it comes to communication, you would be used to conversing over a phone call or face-to-face formally in the past, but now things can be decided and executed on WhatsApp on-the-go which saves time.”


Singapore is not the US

MONEY FM 89.3 hosts as well as Alena were well-aware that Bankrate’s survey covered the US sentiments, however it is pertinent to note that such trends could transcend across cultures. Nonetheless, there is a consensus that things might be different here in Singapore, and a mindset shift is required to make a change.  

Alena added, “I feel that the cultural aspect is very different here. I’ve worked a few years in the US myself, so companies requesting payslips in Singapore did come as a cultural shock for me. I questioned the process and asked why we do it here. First of all, it puts candidates in a very uncomfortable position, and you’d end up judging a candidate based on where they stand in terms of pay, rather than renumerate them based on their skill set. The problem now is although the Ministry of Manpower has shared last drawn salaries are not essential back in 2020, companies are still doing so.”

When asked how long it might take for companies in Singapore to shift the dial, Alena projected that it might take three to five years.


Notes for media

To listen to the recorded interview, check out: 



MONEY FM 89.3 Podcast

To learn more about the STEM world and the future of work, do review our key insights here:

STEM insights

We also ran a virtual roundtable of HR experts across STEM back in 2020 in light of the Ministry of Manpower’s announcement of last drawn salary disclosure being non-mandatory, and you can view it here:

Watch or listen to it here

SThree is the global STEM-specialist recruitment agency. We connect dynamic organisations with communities of sought-after specialists in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Our global house of specialist recruitment brands brings expertise in specific sought-after skills. We know how to achieve the goals of STEM professionals seeking both permanent and contract work and understand the organisations who need them.


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