Here Are the Results of the Singapore Bunker Trader Salary Survey 2016

by Paul Ratcliffe, Director, Ignition Global Consulting
Monday June 13, 2016

With the competitive business environment and the high costs of living in Singapore, salary is a perennial hot topic. As recruitment specialists Ignition Global Consulting is often asked by our Clients for our opinion on the "market rate".  The truth is that in an industry as dynamic and performance driven as Bunker Trading the salary market is in a constant state of flux.

In order to make some sense of the salary market as it is now Ignition has compiled salary data from 90 different Bunker Traders based in Singapore. This data comes from people that we have placed in jobs, candidates that we have interviewed and registered, and job briefs that we have taken from our Clients. All of this data is from 2016. So the information in this report is current and it is accurate.

Key Findings

At the entry level salaries vary based on experience.  The majority of those hired have previous careers and work experience in other areas.  Companies will pay a premium for transferable skills and network, however there is a limit to the amount of risk companies will take paying salaries to those without previous Bunker Trading experience.

  • Average salary for 0 to 1 years at $56,813 is well above the typical "graduate" salary in Singapore so at the entry level Bunker Trading is very well paid
  • The maximum salary recorded for an entry level Trader is $78,000
  • Highest salary for entry level is 1.37 times the average

For those with more than 2 years experience there is a lot more divergence in salaries paid.  Traders are evaluated and rewarded based on performance.  Top performers are able to command big salary increases quickly. 

  • Average salary for 2 to 3 years experience is $89,237
  • Average salary for 4 to 6 years experience is $109,833
  • The maximum salary for 2 to 3 years experience is $182,000 which is 2.04 times the average
  • The maximum salary for 4 to 6 years experience is $260,000 which is 2.37 times the average

Relatively few Bunker Traders with 7+ years experience were surveyed - only 14% of our sample.  This may be because the market has grown over the last few years or it may be because many experienced Traders progress into management, move on to trade other products, or take other career paths.  Speculation aside it is clear that the majority of active Traders in the Singapore market have entered Bunker Trading within the last 6 years.

  • Average salary for 7+ years experience is $159,923
  • The maximum salary for 7+ years experience is $240,000 which is 1.5 times the average

Recruitment and Retention: Other Factors

It is safe to say that base salary is the single most important factor people in Singapore think about when considering a job offer.  Of course it is not the only factor and salary will only motivate people to stay with an employer, accept a job offer, or to work hard to a certain point.  Some of the other areas that companies should consider as part of recruitment and retention strategy are:

Work Life Balance

Bunker Trading is not known as an industry that offers work / life balance but it may be that companies could offer a more flexible approach to work or re-design some roles so that they can keep experienced employees for longer.  With the relatively small number of highly experienced Traders (only 14% of those surveyed have 7+ years of trading experience) retaining senior Traders longer could help to give a competitive edge.   

Job Security

One of the things that our survey picked up on is that there are big differences between what different firms pay Traders.  Anecdotally we understand that some of the low payers are known to offer very good job security and in some cases a job for life mentality, whereas some of the higher paying firms are known to be perceived as having a hire and fire policy.  As effective risk managers, good Traders do evaluate job security and consider this when making any career decision. 

Bonus / Commission

There are vast differences in the way that different firms reward success, ranging from individual commission paid monthly or quarterly to annual performance bonus decided at management discretion.  Changing jobs will involve an element of risk and usually a short term reduction in bonus / commission income.  For this reason successful Traders will often expect a hefty salary increase when changing jobs.

For a copy of the full report, please contact Paul Ratcliffe at