Salary Comparison: Singapore VS Australia

From 2007, I had been playing around with this website to get an idea what I might be earning in Australia and whether all these thoughts of moving to Australia was sustainable.

Over the years I must had clicked on a hundred occupations at least. I did that because I was negative (and I haven't explained why) about getting back in the same industry I was in Singapore. So I checked out many occupations just to see how things were.

Now that I'm here in Perth, I did a search on the list to check if this website is accurate. The closest I could find for my occupation is 'Metal fabricator'. To my surprise the data is quite accurate. I used to be confused why was some occupations, such as this one, can be paid as low as $10/hr and as high as $31/hr. Now I get a fuller picture.

To get into some occupation such as Boilermaker (we call it Fitter in Singapore), you have to go through 4 years of apprenticeship in Australia. After which they recognised you being qualified, trained as well as capable to do the job. All Boilermakers I've seen here can work by themselves and you will be surprised to see the kind of monsters one single man can build all by himself. A point to note that these students going through apprenticeships are paid 'lowly'. Those $10/hr rates are most likely to be apprentice data.

Another good point to note that no company in Australia will hire you as a Plumber or Welder even if you are willing to do the dirty work that many aren't prepared to do so here. You have to be certified and that could mean apprenticeship for many trades. If you noticed, that served as a barrier to entry to your occupation against that foreigner who simply walk in and steal your job like somewhere else. So unless that foreigner is willing to go through hard years of training and being lowly paid, he would not be able to get into your trade.

If you are thinking of migrating to Australia and looking at salary comparison, you may want to do something like I did:

1) Look for the occupation and title that fits your occupation in Singapore the closest. Do some research to find out if that title means the same thing in terms of jobscopes in Australia.

2) Click on the title and check out the average wages. You don't want to be too optimistic and look at the maximum wages you could get in Australia since you probably don't get paid at the highest bracket of your job in Singapore. So take something in the middle.

3) Less the tax. And that's not 45%. Do some reading up ffs.

4) If you want, multiply the end result by 1.3 (or whatever the current currency rate is) because AUD is stronger at the moment. I don't usually do that but if you want a more accurate result, maybe you will want to.

5) I normally take my SG gross monthly pay, including that extra 16% employer's CPF contribution as a comparison. Though you and I know CPF is fast becoming phantom money that we may not be able to touch much of it at all in our lifetime. In the Australia side, I purposely left out that 9% superannuation contribution by Australian employers (their version of CPF) to make sure I do not make myself over-optimistic about the Australian side.

6) Remember to check out the Australian salary by the city you are interested to go. You may get paid significantly more or less depending on your occupation and the city you are going.

7) Also check out other occupations, such as cleaners, maids, painters and other interesting occupations and look at how much they are paid. You may be quite surprised at some.

8) If you bothered to do all these, tell me how does it match up.


  1. From what I find out, as long as one is willing to work, he/she can live comfortably in Aust. Dirty job can get paid higher than office job, there is no low paying job. Govt does not mass import cheap workers to do those dirty job, instead they pay locals more. (correct me if I'm wrong)

    I did some rough calculations on the money left at the end of month, after deducting housing, transport, food etc.

    I'm surprised it is actually easier to make a living in Aust, just live further away from city and eat out less.

    Low salary and expensive house are main factors it is harder in sgp. If include a car in, there's simply no comparison. S$100k (1.5L) vs S$35k (1.8L) for a toyota sedan. the $100k car only entitle you to drive for 10 years while the $35k car allows you to drive for a lifetime.

  2. What I like most about Australia, other than the dollar and cents, is the seemingly nonexistence of social status categorization.

    This results in the absence of discrimination against "Blue collar" a term use undesirably in Singapore.

    At the same time this also promotes mutual respect from all walks of life. While we admire the academically inclined, we have no less respect for the others with skills. This creates harmony and reduces the divide.

    This great divide is and will be a tear in the cohesion of the Singapore society.

    I would raise children here in Australia anytime and allow them the freedom to do what they want than to raise a bespectacled, highly tuition aided,exam obsessed,robotic conformist in Singapore.

  3. Perth is listed as the 13th most expensive city to live in the world (survey conducted in July 2011). The labour costs here is astonishing with plumbers, electricians and truck drivers earning more than office executives.

    In my opinion, we cannot compare what we earned here as an electrician compared to say what we did back home as an officer worker. The higher standard of living is justified by higher pay scale. Yes we can cut down on food, live in cheaper suburbs but the truth remains is that Perth has a higher cost of living.

    I think a fairer indication why migrants prefer Perth is that, there is definitely a work life balance, cheaper cars (no COE), vast of space and the non existent pressure in education.

    As for the pay scale, it is a good guide but I am not sure if it includes government workers as their pay scale is a another story altogether.

  4. @D The survey statistics are totally irrelevant to this, if you don't mind me saying.

    Perth may be expensive. You can exhaust your five figure/mth pay easily if you want it. But it's possible to live on a very small shoe-string budget as well.

    It is NOT true it is more expensive to live here because I am making and - most importantly, SAVING more than I was in Singapore on just a lowly casual position.

    Thus the survey might say anything, it is useless because it doesn't apply to me. They may say Singapore has one of the highest GDP in those survey as well. We are a rich country.

    But is that useful to me? No.

    Do I make good money because of the high GDP? No.

    Is the survey results relevant to me? No.

    It's what's happening on the ground that really matters. I have no doubt most Singaporeans will find Perth more expensive to live because of the way they live. But it really doesn't apply to me. I'm sure there are many who can live as simply as me as well.

  5. Actually which website are you using for the comparison? Mind to share?

  6. @peyning - click on the link in the first sentence of the post


    According to the research website above, singapore is the 8th most expensive city in the world while perth is 30th.

  8. I live in Singapore with my mother and our expense is limited to within $700 a month (though I'm not sure, with everything going more expensive, how long this may be). This means, of course, a very simple lifestyle. Just to say that this is also possible in Singapore. But to be honest, I only learnt how to live like this after I worked in a foreign country for 2 years.

  9. Employees also can exercise some commandments to bag a best deal across the table. Though, I won’t say that there are some special standards or a unique skill set is required for Salary negotiation but understanding your needs and the prospective employer make the difference.

  10. This article is very helpful and interesting to read. Thank you for sharing!

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