Why being productive will help your wages

Temasek Review
your letters


A fair number of “alternative magazines” online have been fast to disregard productivity from wage increases. I think this is a dangerous attitude towards people’s expectations towards their salaries.

Characters like Leong Sze Hian are sending a toxic message to young people: don’t worry about being productive, you deserve a good/high salary regardless of how productive you are to your employer.

Yes it is true, wage increases can and have grown faster than productivity.

Yes, productivity today isn’t at its most glorious.

But it doesn’t mean the two can be delinked. You see, it is very easy to get employers to raise salaries. Slap on a high minimum wage and watch salaries across the nation grow. Of course when you do this, you’re literally pointing a gun to an employer’s head, hold his business ransom.

If you’re a businessman, what are your options? Maybe you’ll continue if you’re strong enough to weather this policy storm. Or if you’re cunning, you’ll take advantage of it – lowering salaries of top tired staff to equalise with the minimum wage.

Look – businessmen are not evil people, they want staff to be happy and will pay more if there is a good reason to. And by “good reason”, they mean either profit or productivity. If your job directly involves bringing in sales, your results are stark naked obvious. For the rest of the team, you need to do your job in ways that will make work more efficient or cost worthy. Cheaper, better and faster.

Yet people like Leong are so quick to dismiss productivity, opting to suggest short term, myopic measures for an insta-fix. Who will be there to pick up the pieces if things go wrong?

Today, productivity rates may be dismal, but as any investment manager will tell you – look at the long term. If you buy a stock and see prices drop in a few weeks and sold it out of fear, you’ll only look at it in chagrin when prices rocket a short few weeks later.

We can learn something about patiences from Warren Buffett – give an investment time and don’t chase small short term gains.

In layman’s speak: money doesn’t fall from the sky.







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