Most office workers have felt the pinch of a shrinking salary compared with their counterparts in neighboring countries, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Cheers magazine.
Compared to white-collar workers in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea who have received noticeable salary hikes in recent years, some 90 percent of Taiwan's office workers responding to the survey have seen their salaries shrink in real terms due to a continuous rise in consumer prices, the survey found.
Although the economy expanded by 5.7 percent in 2004, 88 percent of local companies did not increase their salaries that year, according to the Cheers survey.
Although salaries increased by an average of 1.3 percent last year, people's wallets have actually become lighter after a 2.3 percent growth in consumer prices, the magazine said, pointing out that decreasing salaries have become the biggest headache for office workers.
Citing statistics compiled by the Council of Labor Affairs, the magazine reported that the starting salary of college graduates last year averaged NT$26,000 per month -- less than what was offered five years ago.
According to Cheers, information technology and science-related university graduates receive a better starting salary -- up to NT$30,000 a month -- while those working in the tourism businesses, hotels and restaurants receive less than NT$20,000 per month.
Based on information from the Korean Employers Federation, Cheers noted that South Korean university graduates receive an average monthly salary of about NT$62,000. It said white-collar workers in South Korea have had an average salary hike of 5 percent in recent years.
The monthly starting income for college graduates in Japan is about NT$55,000, the magazine said, while the figure for Hong Kong graduates was nearly NT$43,000 last year, up from NT$38,000 in 2003.