Philippine economy

Salaries of construction workers, artists can’t keep up with inflation

Ralf Rivas
Salaries of construction workers, artists can’t keep up with inflation

WORKERS. Construction workers fix metal rods at a construction site in Pasig City, January 9, 2019.


The median monthly basic pay across all industries is at P13,646 in 2020, a meager 0.6% increase from P13,559 in 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The income of construction workers and artists barely grew in 2020, based on latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Farmers remained the lowest-paid workers.

The PSA’s Occupational Wages Survey showed that the median monthly basic pay of workers in construction only saw a 1.4% growth from P13,611 in 2018 to P13,800 in 2020.

For the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, workers’ pay grew only 1.3% from P14,653 to P14,846.

The following industries recorded declines in income. Note that the survey was conducted in 2020 or when the Philippine economy was in a recession:

  • Water supply and sewerage at -0.7%, from P15,356 to P15,242
  • Accommodation and food service at -3.4%, from P12,216 to P11,806
  • Information and communications at -3.1%, from P25,261 to P24,469
  • Administrative and support services at -1.2%, from P13,916 to P13,750
  • Financial and insurance activities at -13.5%, from P18,486 to P15,986

Miners saw the largest jump in basic pay at 14.5%, from P11,590 in 2018 to P13,272 in 2020.

Workers in agriculture, forestry, and fishing posted the lowest pay at P10,476 in 2020, a 6.2% increase from the P9,861 in 2018.

The median monthly basic pay across all industries was at P13,646 in 2020 or a 0.6% increase from P13,559 in 2018.

By major industry group, 13 out of 18 covered industries had a higher median monthly basic pay compared to all industries at P13,646.

Female workers reported a little higher median monthly basic pay of P14,051 compared to P13,467 received by male workers in 2020 for all industries.


While Filipinos’ monthly basic pay grew only by 0.6%, prices have grown 7.6 times of that figure.

From 2018 to 2020, the country’s inflation rate grew 4.6%, which means that prices clearly outpaced the growth of people’s income.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages jumped by 4.9% from 2018 to 2020, while household expenses grew 3.3%.

Other takeaways

The PSA’s Occupational Wage Survey is a nationwide survey of establishments which employ 20 or more workers. It is conducted every two years.

Here are some more takeaways from the survey:

  • Around half or 50.3% of the workers received a monthly basic pay ranging from P11,000 to P20,999 while 31.3% received below P11,000. Meanwhile, only 3.5% received basic pay of P31,000 to P40,999 per month.
  • A great majority of time-rated workers (65.9%) did not receive monthly allowance in 2020. 
  • Nearly a fifth or 17.4% received a monthly allowance below P2,500 while only 1% had allowances ranging from P1,500 to P15,999 per month.
  • The average wage rate of accounting and bookkeeping clerks across all industries was estimated at P18,008 per month in 2020, an increase of 9.3% from P16,482 in 2018. This figure is important as these jobs are considered benchmark occupations, which means that these types of jobs are present in most, if not all industries, and have similar income levels regardless of industry.


Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.