The 2023 PayPulse study, whose findings were recently released, confirms what the Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has been saying, the Leader of the Opposition has said.
The study, conducted by the Caribbean Society for Human Resource Professionals (CSHRP) said 73.3 per cent of salaries in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) fall below the regional average.
“So that means that three quarters of the salaries that are paid here are below the average in the Caribbean. So we are the lowest paid country in the Caribbean and this is what we have been saying all along,” President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Dr Godwin Friday said on the NDP-sponsored New Times program on Nice Radio on Monday.
The Opposition Leader said that the NDP has been saying for a long time now that many persons who have jobs are working, but cannot get ahead.
Friday said that many persons leave SVG for places like Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts Nevis, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).
He said that many of the persons who leave these shores are our young professionals who realize their talents are best rewarded elsewhere.
“And that’s the things we have found also, when we talk to people. It’s not just a concern about a job. Of course you want to get a job, but you want to get a job that helps you get ahead.
“You don’t just want to be working from pay cheque to pay cheque, and you basically just spinning top in mud,” Friday said, while noting that people want to be able to build a life while raising a family and building a home through a mortgage you can afford.
“….Buy a vehicle. You can set aside something to educate your children. You want to get ahead, you want young people to get ahead and this is what the study demonstrates,” the Opposition Leader said.
The PayPulse 2023 report has placed Barbados as the Caribbean nation with the highest average salaries and noted that Barbados ranks first in terms of work positions beyond market value, with a percentage of 53.3 per cent.
In second place is Antigua and Barbuda, while Jamaica is third.
The survey is conducted on a yearly basis and designed to provide valuable insights into the various human rights issues that exist in the region.
Friday said that the NDP has been speaking on issues of this nature for some time now and the survey is in keeping with the party’s message.
“Jobs have to be our number one priority because you have 41 per cent of our young people unemployed and moreover, a lot of the people in the country who are employed are being underpaid or being poorly paid and so they can’t get ahead so there is dissatisfaction,” Friday noted.
He said SVG continues to lag behind and countries fail when they lose the brightest and best workers, while bodies like the National Insurance Services (NIS) suffer when the young people of a country leave for greener pastures.
“There are so many things connected to that as I have said in the past, when you can’t keep your young people working and employed in the work force here, then that means that it undermines the NIS as well, because you want young people paying into that service, because they are going to be paying for a long time before they actually use it in retirement,” Friday said.
Friday noted also that the cost of living in SVG is extremely high and the government is doing nothing to cushion the effect.
“That study confirms the approach that the New Democratic Party has adopted which is to say we must generate more jobs and also we must focus on generating better paying jobs as well so that people can get ahead.
“And that is not happening now, and after 22 years or more in office for this administration, they can’t come to the people and say they are going to deliver it, they have proven that they can’t deliver it…,” Friday stressed.