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161023 Nurse Salary Singapore 2023

Nurse Salary Guide (2023): Are Nurses in Singapore Paid Enough?

profileJustin Oh

We all know that being a nurse is a tough job. Nurses work long hours, aren’t as recognised as doctors in our society and may even suffer abuse.

It’s no surprise that many nurses have already left or are leaving for greener pastures.

While we can clap for nurses all we want and celebrate Nurse’s Day, nothing spells appreciation better than being well compensated.

Source: Giphy

In this article, we’ll take a look at how much our public healthcare nurses earn to answer the question:

Are our nurses being paid enough?


TL;DR: How Much Are Singapore Nurses Getting in 2023?

  • The average gross monthly salary, after adding in allowances and bonuses, for entry-level registered nurses ranges from S$3,300 to S$5,200, depending on their qualifications (as of 2020)
  • The base salary of nurses has been increased by 5 to 14 per cent over 2021 and 2022
  • The introduction of the 2022 Nurse Special Payment (NSP) package will see more than 25,000 nurses getting up to 2.1 months of their base salary as a retention payment
  • New nursing graduates who graduate from local institutions in 2023 and opt for positions in the public healthcare sector will qualify for a sign-on bonus of $15,000 paid out over two years.

Jump to:


Types of Nurses in Singapore and Their Career Path

To qualify as a nurse, you’ll have to be registered with the Singapore Nursing Board (SNB) and then be placed under one of two career paths depending on your educational qualifications:

Source: Care to Go Beyond SG

If you hold an ‘N’ level qualification, you can enrol in a Nitec program in Nursing and start your career as an Enrolled Nurse. You have the opportunity to upgrade your skills to become a Registered Nurse.

If you possess an ‘O’ or ‘A’ level certificate, your journey into the nursing field starts with a diploma or degree. After completing your studies, you will be designated as a Registered Nurse. Initially, you will take on the role of a Staff Nurse and progress into one of the following career tracks:

  • Management:– Supervise a team of nurses and manage the operations of a ward
  • Clinical: Administer direct care to patients
  • Education: Train other nurses in advanced nursing skills.

Enrolled Nurses should work under the supervision of Registered Nurses.

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How Much Are Singapore Nurses Paid?

Nursing is one of the professions backed by robust union support, with the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) actively fighting for fair nursing wages through collective agreements with the three main public healthcare integrated clusters: Singhealth, NHG, and NUHS.

As per the collective agreements of 2022, the nursing salary remains uniform across all three integrated clusters. This uniformity aligns with sound public policy considerations. It ensures that taxpayers are not burdened with escalating manpower expenses leading to increased medical costs within the public healthcare system.

According to the public healthcare groups’ latest collective agreements for 2021/2022, here are the base salaries of Singapore nurses, excluding bonuses and allowances:

National Healthcare Group (NHG) Nurse Salary (2023)

Check out how much nurses at NGH are being paid:

Source: HSEU Collective Agreement with NHG

National University Health System (NUHS) Nurse Salary (2023)

In addition, here is how much NUHS nurses are being paid:

Source: HSEU Collective Agreement with NUHS

SingHealth Nurse Salary (2023)

Here’s how much SingHealth nurses are being paid:

Source: HSEU Collective Agreement with SingHealth

Nurses’ salaries in Singapore have been raised recently, with a 5 to 14 per cent increase in nurses’ base salaries over 2021 and 2022.

Read more:

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Monthly Salaries Of Nurses Are Not That Simple

On top of the base salaries, as reflected in the HSEU Collective Agreements, Singapore Nurses are also paid an annual wage supplement of one month’s worth of salary in December every year.

Nurses also receive additional allowances:

AllowanceAmount
Shift AllowancesS$8 to S$86 hourly depending on job grade, number of shifts worked and period (P.H. or weekend, etc)
Ward AllowancesS$70 to S$250 per month
On-call Allowance50% of their night shift allowance, depending on job grade, number of shifts worked and period (P.H. or weekend, etc)
Callback Compensation1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay
computed from the monthly basic salary (no cap) based on the
actual hours worked

In 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed that:

the average gross monthly salary, after adding in allowances and bonuses, for entry-level registered nurses ranges from S$3,300 to S$5,200 depending on their qualifications”

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Are Our Nurses Paid Enough?

To put things into perspective, here is a look at how much our (registered) nurses are paid compared to other developed countries/cities. These average salaries are reported on Indeed and are as follows:

Country/CityAverage Monthly Salary (Registered Nurse) | No. of SalariesAverage Monthly Salary (Post-Tax)Cost of a Big Mac (Big Mac Index)
SingaporeS$3,414 | 4,500~S$3,363
1.50% income tax
S$6.90
Hong KongHK$34,947 (~S$6,116) | 107HK$32,376 (~S$5,666) 7.35% income taxS$3.67
AustraliaAU$4,857 (~S$4,200) | 3,400*AU$4,073 (~S$3,523) 16.14% income taxS$6.34
U.S.US$$6,548 (~S$8,968) | 329,400US$5,107 (~S$6,994)
22% income tax
S$7.06
New ZealandNZ$4,450 (~S$3,603) | 64NZ$3,696 (S$2,994)
16.92% income tax
S$6.07
UK£2,667 (S$4,439) | 122,800£2,149 (S$3,576)
19% income tax
S$6.08

How Much Are Nurses in Singapore Paid Compare to Other Jobs

If you look at the numbers from Indeed, the average nurse in Singapore is paid about $48,223 a year. Here’s how it compares to what employees in other industries are earning in Singapore:

Salaries alone are insufficient to determine if one is paid “enough” as salaries do not factor in things such as the cost of living or hours worked per month.

For more context, here is how Singapore ranks in terms of cost of living:

Source: Numbeo

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More Needs to Be Done

In 2021, public healthcare staff (including nurses) have been given a COVID-19 Healthcare Award of up to $4,000 each.

More recently, MOH has also announced the 2022 Nurse Special Payment (NSP) package in a bid to retain local nurses after the manpower crunch during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 25,000 nurses will get up to 2.1 months of their base salary as retention payment.

That’s not all,

In a bid to increase the number of nurses, MOH has announced that new nursing graduates who graduate from local institutions in 2023 and opt for positions in the public healthcare sector will qualify for a sign-on bonus of $15,000. This bonus will be disbursed over two years and will be distributed in three payments of $5,000 each. The first payment will be given at the start of the graduate’s employment, with the subsequent two payments scheduled for the conclusion of the first and second years of service.

While it’s great that our government has been introducing new initiatives to better compensate our nurses financially, I feel that more can be done, especially during a high inflationary environment where the cost of goods and services is rising rapidly.

Moreover, there are other challenges that Singapore Nurses face. Some of these include working in a stressful environment with the possibility of burnout, a lack of recognition in our society, and facing abuse from the public:

Source: Mothership

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About Justin Oh
Your average Zillennial who is obsessed with anime, games, movies and of course, personal finance. Join me as I break down personal finance into easily digestible and fun bits!
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