These 5 Charts Show You How Much S’pore Top CEOs Earn Per Year

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You probably know that our ministers are one of the highest paid profession in Singapore.

But what about the pay of S'pore top CEOs?

Lucky for us we have published income report from MOM and remuneration disclosure from annual reports of SGX-listed companies to conduct our research. Since we are talking about top CEOs the easiest way to start is to look at Singapore 30 largest blue chip companies.

Here is the 5 charts we have put together for you.

What Is The Pay Gap Between Top CEOs & Salaried Workers?

Why median income? Because median smoothen out outliers and provide a more accurate representation of the reality than average as the figure can be heavily skewed. Which is often the case for income i.e DBS $10.3M and Yangzijiang $250K. 

We found that the top S'pore CEOs made a median salary of $260,000 per month and $3.1 million per year, whereas average Singaporean workers made a median salary of $3,500 per month (excluding employer CPF contributions).

SIDENOTE. Among the 30 companies four of them did not provide any remuneration disclosure. Therefore, they were excluded in the charts. Those four are Hongkong Land, Jardine Matheson, Jardine Strategic and Jardine C&C.

If we were to compare the two that means that top CEOs earn 74x more than employees on average:

To give you a better perspective about the gap let's put the figure into the number of hour an average employee has to work to match one hour worked by top CEO.

First, we took the median employee salary of $3,500 per month and reduced it to hourly wage which gives us $22 per hour. Subsequently, we did the same for the 6 highest paid CEOs.

We based our assumption on 20 workdays per month and 8 hour work day. Of note that the above may not be the best way to compute, however, I think it still gives us a reasonable approximation.

Avg. Employee Making $22 An Hour Would Have To Work:


To Match One Hour Worked By
Wong Ngit Liong


To Match One Hour Worked By
Puyish Gupta


To Match One Hour Worked By
Wee Ee Cheong


To Match One Hour Worked By
Samuel N. Tsien


To Match One Hour Worked By
Chua Sock Koong


To Match One Hour Worked By
Kuok Khoon Hong

We found that an average employee making $22 per hour would have to work 262 hour;  11 days or 1.6 weeks to match one hour worked by Venture Corp. CEO Wong Ngit Liong! The difference is huge and we have not even considered the fact that half of the population are making less than $22/Hr.

How Much Did S'pore Top CEOs Make In 2017?

We discovered the median annual CEOs' salary for 2017 was $3.1 M and the lowest being $250,000 by Yangzijiang CEO Ren Letian. We can probably tell that he wouldn't be too happy to be placed on the chart 🙂


The highest paid CEO for 2017 goes to Wong Ngit Liong, CEO & Chairman of Venture Corp. (SGX:V03) with an annual salary of $12 million not including of share-based payments. 

Are Government-linked Company CEOs Paid More?

There isn't a legal definition of what constitutes as Government-linked Companies (GLC). For simplicity sake we based our definition as companies that are owned by the government though Temasek with 15% or more shareholding either directly (Tier 1) or indirectly (Tier 2).

And the result?

Indeed GLC earned more. In fact, earned 31% more than non-GLC. Among those that are classified under GLC are: 

  • DBS - $10,300,000
  • Singtel - $6,559,655
  • Keppel Corp. - $5,950,000
  • Capita Land - $5,250,000
  • SIA - $5,024,388
  • ST Engineering - $3,437,364
  • Sembcorp Ind. - $3,427,000
  • SGX - $3,244,837
  • SATS - $3,001,000
  • SPH - $3,000,000
  • StarHub - $2,782,879
  • CapitaCom Trust - $1,500,000
  • CapitaMall Trust - $1,500,000

Which Industry Paid The Best?

Among the 6 sectors classified by SPDR, O&G CEOs earned the highest with a median salary of $4.7 M which is slightly better than Telco CEOs $4.6M. Financial sector median CEO salary may seem poor at first glance. However, that is because of a number of REITs was classified under Financial and decreased the median salary.

What Do You Think?

Maybe it's capitalism and the winners take all if not most. Maybe it's all fair and even beneficial to the organisation for the people who are holding high office to be compensated well beyond the masses. Either ways, we don't get to decide. The shareholders do and they approved it.

Leave us a comment below and tell us what do think!

8 thoughts on “These 5 Charts Show You How Much S’pore Top CEOs Earn Per Year”

  1. You might want to change all your ‘medium’ to ‘median’. That is the correct statistical term for identifying the middle value of a range of data points to minimize outlier effect

  2. Interesting article. Noticed a typo in the first paragraph after the first chart, DBS CEO income should be S$10.3 Million instead of $10.30 hahaha.

  3. That’s why we have a nation with very little entrepreneur, no? Also these CEOs hardly possess the skillset of say…. Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or even our very own Sim Wong Hoo…

  4. A person income is determined by the value he gives. Let’s take venture CEO $12mil income as example. He grow Venture share price 3 times within last 5 years. Because of his network and value, there are thousands more employment can be created. So is he worth that pay?


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