Get Fired for Discussing Salary with a Coworker in Singapore?


You've been working in your new tech job in Singapore for months, and you really like it so far. As you're settling into the role and building relationships with your colleagues, you start to notice something: everyone talks about their salaries - what they earn, what they think they should have negotiated for. It's common knowledge - or so it seems.

But then you hear whispers of certain people being fired just for talking candidly about their wages. That's a shocker! Suddenly you start to worry - do I have to keep my lips sealed too? Is discussing salary at work taboo in Singapore?

If this sounds familiar to you, don't fret just yet. In this article, we'll explore the legal implications of discussing salary at work in Singapore. We'll take a look at the government regulations around transparency and equal pay as well as examine some of the cultural norms that may or may not impact your ability (or willingness) to talk money with your co-workers.

Singapore's Stance on Talking About Salaries

If you're like many tech employees in Singapore, it's natural to wonder about salary discussions with your coworkers. After all, this kind of information sharing can be useful for negotiation and job hunting.

So, what does Singapore say about discussing salaries?

While it's not illegal to share salary information with colleagues, the practice of talking salaries is still considered taboo by many employers in the city-state.

In some rare occasion, some employment contracts may even have clauses forbidding disclosure—so it’s best to check your contract before sharing any numbers. If your employer disapproves of such talk and you want to know what other roles are paying, consider relying on independent research or an expert recruiter instead.

Why Is Salary Transparency Such a Taboo?

Asking a coworker about their salary can be a tricky situation. But why does discussing salary have to be so taboo?

This is because employers want to keep salary information internal and confidential as part of their pay policies.

Also, employees may not see the value in sharing this information, as there is an element of embarrassment and worry that they will appear to be overpaid or underpaid in comparison to their colleagues.

Another reason pay transparency isn't as commonplace is because companies may not want to reveal gender-based or racial gaps in salaries across departments. Without accurate information, it can be difficult for workers to feel confident that they are being fairly compensated for their work.

Is It Acceptable to Discuss Salaries in Singapore?

When it comes to discussing salaries with colleagues, Singapore is still a little behind the curve. Although it's not illegal to discuss salary information with colleagues here in Singapore, it can still be considered a bit of a social taboo.

In fact, when asked in a 2019 survey, nearly half of Singaporeans said that talking about pay with others was 'inappropriate'.

It's also important to note that employers cannot legally forbid employees from discussing salary information with each other in Singapore.

In fact, you can file a complaint if your employer tries to stop them from discussing salary information with their colleagues.

How Do Salary Transparency Benefits Employees?

Pay transparency also helps close any existing pay gaps and encourages higher job performance and satisfaction among employees.

Employees can have a better understanding of how their salary was determined, and they will be more likely to stay with a company they feel is open and honest with them.

Also, using platforms like NodeFlair Salaries, you can compare your current offer to similar ones out there, and then adjust your expectations accordingly. This will give you a better idea of the average salary range so that you can confidently request what you feel is appropriate for your experience and desired role.

Employers Also Benefit from Salary Transparency

For employers, pay transparency can help discourage discrimination in the workplace. It keeps them accountable by making sure that all employees are fairly compensated for their positions regardless of demographics or any other contributing factors.

This can also increase recruiter productivity as conversations about salaries are more transparent and upfront.

This is why we launched our latest annual salary report of tech salaries in Asia to help everyone understand the market better.

Not Sharing Salary Information Only Benefits Employers

The problem with not sharing salary information is that it benefits employers. After all, if you don't know what other people make, employers have more power to keep salaries low. This means that you could be getting paid less than the market rate for your job, and other employees in comparable positions to yours might be getting paid more than you are.

Although discussing salary can be taboo or awkward, pay transparency can actually discourage discrimination in the workplace and help ensure everyone is being paid fairly and equitably for their labor.

So, while fear of getting fired might discourage you from talking about your salary with coworkers— it's important to know that there are good reasons to bring up the issue and discuss it further.

How NodeFlair is Doing It's Part to Improve Salary Transparency?

It's not always easy to talk salary with your co-workers—sometimes it's hard to know if it's even allowed. After all, you don't want to get in trouble just for talking about your salary with a colleague.

This is why we built NodeFlair Salaries. It’s the largest verified repository of salary submissions in Asia, and salaries are verified with payslips or offer letters so that you know the date you're getting is accurate and trustworthy.

With NodeFlair Salaries, you can cross-check against real-time data on whether you're being paid fairly.

By providing up-to-date information on salaries and real-time reviews from anonymous users, NodeFlair allows employees to make better decisions based on transparent market data.

Check out our latest Tech Salary Report to understand the latest salary trend before you enter your negotiation!

Related Articles