Construction firms are offering pay rises of up to 20 per cent to retain and attract experienced workers amid the labour crunch, and activists are cheering the hike.
Until about two years ago, wages in the sector had been stagnant with most workers earning just $500 a month, regardless of their experience.
It has since been bumped up to about $800 monthly for those who have toiled for four years, and is further rising to $1,000 with the latest jump.
“The thinking a few years ago was: ‘If you want a job, take it. If not, I will find someone else who will want to do it.’ But firms cannot afford to do this now,” said Yang Seng Engineering senior manager Richmon Ng.