Average Salary in Cambodia

1. Average Wages

The average salary in Cambodia has been subject to gradual growth over the years, reflecting both the economic development of the country and the various efforts towards modernization and industrialization. As of the most recent data, the average monthly salary for a worker in Cambodia is roughly between $150 and $200 USD. This figure can vary greatly depending on factors such as the sector of employment, level of experience, and geographical location within the country.

Jobs in urban areas, especially in Phnom Penh, the capital city, tend to offer higher wages compared to those in rural regions. Additionally, employees working for international companies or NGOs generally receive a higher average salary in Cambodia than those working for local companies. Despite this variability, the overall average monthly salary provides a general benchmark for the earning capacity of individuals across the nation’s labor market.

It is also worth noting that the average wage differs significantly across different sectors. For instance, the garment industry, which is one of the largest employers in Cambodia, traditionally offers wages that hover around the established minimum salary threshold. On the other hand, professionals with specialized skills, such as those in IT or finance, typically earn considerably more and thus raise the overall average.

Another key aspect of assessing the average wages in Cambodia is considering the informal sector. A large segment of the Cambodian workforce is employed in informal jobs where earnings are often underreported and can fall below the average monthly salary observed in formal employment settings. In conclusion, while the average salary in Cambodia provides a snapshot of the nation's wage landscape, there exists a wide spectrum that encapsulates the diversity of incomes within the country.

2. Factors that Influence Salaries

Salaries in Cambodia are influenced by a multitude of factors that can cause significant variations across different sectors and regions. Below is a detailed examination of the primary influences on wages in Cambodia:

  • Economic Sector: The industry or sector of employment is one of the most significant determinants of salary in Cambodia. For example, employees in the tourism and garment industries may experience lower wages than those in sectors like telecommunications, finance, or international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Education and Skills: Higher levels of education and specialized skills typically command higher salaries. Workers with advanced degrees or vocational training are often able to secure better-paying jobs compared to those with basic education.
  • Experience: Experienced workers generally earn more than entry-level employees. Seniority and years of service in a particular field can lead to higher wages, as well as promotion opportunities.
  • Location: Geographical location plays a crucial role, as urban areas, most notably Phnom Penh, offer higher wages due to increased demand for skilled labor and higher costs of living. In contrast, rural areas have a surplus of unskilled labor which tends to suppress wage levels.
  • Supply and Demand: The balance between the number of available workers and the number of job openings can greatly influence salaries. High demand for specific roles with a limited supply of qualified candidates can drive wages up, while an oversupply of labor for certain positions may lead to lower wages.
  • Company Size and Ownership: Larger companies and multinational corporations often have higher pay scales than small local businesses. Additionally, foreign-owned companies tend to pay more than locally-owned enterprises.
  • Government Policies: Regulations and legislation such as minimum wage laws, taxation, and labor rights can affect take-home pay. Changes in government policies can either increase or decrease net salaries.
  • Global Economic Conditions: The global economy can impact wages in Cambodia, especially in export-driven sectors. Economic downturns can lead to reduced demand for Cambodian products, affecting the salaries of workers in related industries.
  • Inflation: Inflation rates can erode the purchasing power of salaries. Therefore, even if nominal wages increase, the real income might not grow if inflation outpaces wage gains.
  • Unionization and Collective Bargaining: In some sectors, the presence of strong labor unions can influence wages positively through collective bargaining agreements. However, the influence of trade unions in Cambodia's wage determination is minimal compared to other countries.
  • Foreign Investment: An influx of foreign investment can create more jobs and increase competition for skilled labor, thereby potentially raising average salary levels.

These factors interact in various ways to determine the salary levels for workers in Cambodia. While some influences may push wages upward, others can exert downward pressure, resulting in the diverse range of salaries seen across the country. Employers and policymakers must consider these dynamics when devising strategies to foster a fair and competitive labor market.

3. Minimum Wages (monthly and hourly)

Minimum wages in Cambodia are set by the government and are subject to change depending on economic conditions, cost of living adjustments, and negotiations between the government, labor unions, and employers. The minimum wage is most prominently established for the garment and footwear industry, which is a significant sector in the Cambodian economy. As such, changes in this base salary level often attract considerable attention both domestically and internationally.

As of the latest update, the minimum monthly wage for workers in the garment and footwear industry in Cambodia stands at approximately $192 USD per month. This rate took effect after deliberation among stakeholders and reflects an increment aimed at improving the livelihoods of workers in this pivotal sector. While this is specific to the mentioned industries, it often serves as a de facto benchmark for other sectors as well.

In terms of hourly wages, Cambodia does not have a standardized national minimum hourly wage across all sectors. However, based on the garment sector monthly minimum wage and a general assumption of a 48-hour work week, an approximate minimum hourly wage can be calculated. This rough estimation would yield an hourly wage a little over $1 USD. It's essential to note that such an hourly wage is not formally established and actual hourly wages can vary, especially when accounting for overtime and premium pay structures that may be in place in various industries.

It is also important to highlight that there is a distinction in minimum wage levels between workers in the formal and informal sectors. Workers in the informal sector, which includes a large portion of the Cambodian workforce, may not benefit from the protections of minimum wage laws and could earn less than the official rates.

For employees outside the garment and footwear industry, there are no official minimum wage guidelines from the government. In these instances, wages are typically determined through negotiations between employers and employees or their representatives. Nonetheless, the government has been involved in ongoing discussions regarding the potential expansion of a unified minimum wage policy that would encompass all sectors within the country.

There have been efforts to provide a living wage that goes beyond the minimum wage, aiming to allow workers to meet their basic needs including food, housing, education, and health care. A living wage remains a topic of intense debate and advocacy within Cambodia.

Lastly, the statutory minimum wage for civil servants and employees of state-owned enterprises is set separately, with periodic increases announced by the government. These public sector wages are often higher than the minimum wages in the private sector, aiming to reflect the qualifications and skills required for these positions.

4. Gender Wage Gap

In Cambodia, as in many parts of the world, a gender wage gap persists, reflecting the disparity in earnings between men and women. This gap can be attributed to a variety of factors including societal norms, gender discrimination, educational disparities, and differences in occupational choices.

Studies have shown that Cambodian women generally earn less than their male counterparts. The wage gap is influenced by the fact that women often work in lower-paying industries and occupations. Additionally, women are more likely to participate in part-time work or take career breaks due to family caregiving responsibilities, which can affect their overall earnings and career progression.

Educational attainment plays a role in this disparity as well. While education rates for women in Cambodia have improved significantly, gaps still exist, particularly in higher education and specialized technical fields that command higher wages.

The traditional roles and expectations of women in Cambodian society also contribute to the gender wage gap. Cultural norms can limit women's access to certain types of employment or career advancement opportunities. This situation is compounded by insufficient support for working mothers, such as inadequate maternity leave policies and child care options, making it challenging for women to balance work and family life.

There is also evidence of direct and indirect discrimination against women in the workplace, including biased hiring practices, unequal pay for equal work, and limited access to training and professional development, all of which further perpetuate the wage gap.

  • According to a report, on average, Cambodian women earn only around 80% of what men earn for comparable work.
  • Women are underrepresented in high-paying managerial and official positions and overrepresented in low-skilled jobs.
  • The majority of women in the labor force are employed in the agricultural sector, which typically provides lower wages compared to industry and service sectors where men are more likely to work.

Addressing the gender wage gap in Cambodia requires not only focused policy interventions but also broader societal changes. These may include efforts to promote equal educational opportunities, enforce anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, support for working parents, and public awareness campaigns to challenge gender stereotypes. Over time, these measures can help narrow the wage gap and ensure that women have equal opportunities to contribute to and benefit from economic growth in Cambodia.

5. Highest Paying Occupations

In Cambodia, as in other countries, some professions tend to offer higher salaries than others, reflecting the demand for certain skills and the levels of responsibility associated with particular jobs. Here is a list of some of the highest paying occupations in Cambodia:

  • Medical Professionals: Doctors, particularly specialists, and medical consultants are among the highest-paid professionals due to the extensive education and expertise required in their field.
  • Banking and Finance Experts: High-level positions such as financial managers, investment advisors, and chief financial officers (CFOs) command substantial salaries because of their role in managing finances and investments.
  • IT and Technology Specialists: With the tech industry expanding in Cambodia, IT professionals such as software developers, systems analysts, and cybersecurity experts are in high demand, earning significant wages.
  • Legal Professionals: Lawyers, especially those specializing in corporate law or working for international firms, often receive generous compensation packages.
  • Engineering Experts: Engineers, particularly in the fields of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering, are essential to infrastructure development and thus highly valued.
  • Managers and Executives: Senior managers and executives in large corporations or multinational companies receive high salaries, reflecting their leadership roles and the critical decisions they make.
  • Human Resources Directors: HR directors play a pivotal role in managing a company’s workforce and can earn top salaries, especially in larger organizations.
  • International NGO Workers: International NGOs often pay their senior staff and specialists well, especially those with extensive experience and qualifications in their area of work.
  • Real Estate and Property Managers: The growing property market in urban areas like Phnom Penh has created lucrative opportunities for skilled real estate professionals.
  • Tourism and Hotel Management: Seasoned professionals in the tourism sector, including hotel managers and tour operators, particularly in popular tourist destinations, can earn high salaries.

Salaries for these professions can vary widely based on factors such as the individual's level of experience, the size and type of employer, and the specific demands of the job market. In general, however, individuals with specialized skills and expertise in these areas have the potential to earn significantly above the average wage in Cambodia.

6. Annual Average Wage Growth

The annual average wage growth in Cambodia is an indicator of the country's economic progress and the effectiveness of its labor market policies. In recent years, Cambodia has seen a gradual increase in wages across various sectors, reflecting overall economic expansion and increased labor productivity. Notably, the growth rate can vary from year to year based on several contributing factors such as economic performance, inflation rates, government policies, and global market conditions.

  • The garment and textile industry, one of Cambodia's key economic pillars, often sees regular wage increases due to ongoing negotiations between unions, employers, and the government.
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) has played a notable role in wage growth, particularly in industries where skilled labor is in demand. The influx of FDI has been associated with technology transfer and the upgrading of local labor skills, driving wages upward.
  • Minimum wage adjustments are also instrumental in setting the floor for wage growth, especially in sectors like garment manufacturing. These minimum wage hikes are aimed at ensuring workers can cope with the cost of living while contributing to domestic consumption.
  • Inflation can influence the nominal wage growth, with the government often adjusting public sector wages to offset increases in the cost of living. Nevertheless, real wage growth considers inflation and is a more precise measure of purchasing power improvements.
  • The private sector has seen wage increases as well due to competition for qualified staff and efforts to retain talent. Additionally, as businesses grow, they can afford to pay higher wages to their employees.
  • Development in the service sector, including financial services, real estate, and tourism, has led to competitive salaries for professionals in these fields – reflecting the growth of these vibrant industries.
  • Economic integration within the region, such as Cambodia's participation in the ASEAN Economic Community, has put upward pressure on wages as companies gear up to compete in a larger marketplace.
  • Growth rates can fluctuate due to external factors, such as global economic downturns or demand shocks, which may slow down wage increases if industries are hit by reduced orders or declining investment.

The exact figures for annual average wage growth require statistical data, which can be sourced from government reports, international organizations, and labor market surveys. Typically, these sources will report nominal wage growth, which reflects the increase in money wages, and real wage growth, which accounts for inflation and provides insight into the actual improvement in workers' living standards. It is important to note that while wage growth can be a positive sign of development, disparities may exist among different regions and sectors, emphasizing the need for ongoing assessment and targeted policy responses.

7. Compensation Costs (per Hour Worked)

Compensation costs in Cambodia encompass a variety of elements beyond the basic salaries and wages paid to employees. They include various social and employment benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, leave allowances, and any other mandated costs or bonuses that employers are responsible for. These comprehensive costs reflect the total expenditure incurred by employers for labor and give a fuller picture of employment costs beyond just hourly or monthly wages.

The compensation costs per hour worked in Cambodia can be significantly influenced by the following factors:

  • Statutory Benefits: Employers in Cambodia are required to contribute to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for each employee, which provides workers with healthcare, employment injury insurance, and retirement pension funds. The cost of these contributions is factored into the overall compensation costs.
  • Overtime Pay: Cambodian labor law stipulates overtime pay rates for hours worked beyond the regular work schedule. For example, overtime on a normal working day must be compensated at 150% of the base rate, while holidays and rest days command a 200% rate.
  • Annual Bonus: The 13th-month salary, also known as an annual bonus, is a benefit some companies offer their employees, usually disbursed at the end of the year or during the Cambodian New Year. This bonus increases the annual compensation costs for those employees.
  • Private Health Insurance: While not legally mandated, some employers offer private health insurance to their employees as an additional benefit, increasing the total compensation cost.
  • Training and Development: Investment in employee training and professional development programs are additional costs employers may incur to upskill their workforce, which contributes to higher overall labor costs.
  • Other Benefits: Benefits such as food, transportation, housing allowances, or performance-based incentives also add to the total cost of compensation per hour worked.

It is challenging to provide a precise figure for the average compensation cost per hour worked in Cambodia without access to extensive labor market data and analysis specific to different sectors and company sizes. Generally, compensation costs are lower compared to more developed economies due to several factors, including lower mandatory social security contributions and the absence of widespread private pension systems.

Nevertheless, as Cambodia's economy continues to develop and as the competition for skilled labor intensifies, it is likely that overall compensation costs will rise. Employers may find themselves offering more competitive benefits packages to attract and retain employees, which would be reflected in increased per hour compensation costs.

Understanding compensation costs is important for both policymakers and investors. Policymakers need to ensure that employment costs support job creation and competitiveness without eroding labor rights, while investors consider these costs when making decisions about where to locate production or services in the global marketplace.

8. Comparison with Other Countries

When looking at the wage landscape of Cambodia in relation to other countries, it is important to take into account the economic status, cost of living, and labor market dynamics of each country. Herein lies a comparison that provides perspective on how Cambodian salaries align with those of its regional neighbors and countries beyond.

In Southeast Asia, Cambodia is often compared with nations like Vietnam and Thailand, which have similar economic structures but are at different stages of development. The wages in these countries are higher than in Cambodia, reflecting their advancements in industrialization and their move towards higher value-added manufacturing and services.

To illustrate, here is a comparative table outlining the average monthly salary (in U.S. dollars as of the most recent data) for some countries within the region and other selected nations for a general reference:

Country Average Monthly Salary (USD)
Cambodia $150 - $200
Vietnam $150 - $650
Thailand $500 - $800
Philippines $200 - $700
Myanmar $100 - $300
China $700 - $1,000
India $150 - $500
United States $3,000 - $4,000

These figures demonstrate that while Cambodia's average salary is on the lower end regionally, it is comparable to that of other developing nations like Myanmar and India. Meanwhile, China, which has experienced rapid industrial growth and significant foreign investment, offers relatively higher salaries. In stark contrast, the United States, as a developed country with a high cost of living and advanced economy, has much greater average earnings.

The disparities in wage levels reflect a multitude of factors, including the degree of economic development, diversity of industries, education levels, infrastructure quality, and government policies, among others. While these figures offer a snapshot for comparative purposes, wages can vary widely within countries based on sectors, company size, and roles.

For Cambodia, aligning itself competitively requires not only enhancing wage conditions but also improving productivity, education, and vocational training to allow for the upward mobility of workers within the global economic landscape. As Cambodia continues to develop, it is expected that its wages will rise gradually, closing the gap with its more developed neighbors.