ILO Asia-Pacific Garment and Footwear Sector Research Note Issue 2

Minimum wages in the global garment industry: Update for 2015

This research note compares minimum wage levels for garment workers across major apparel-exporting middle and low income economies for 2015. The rates of change in minimum wages between 2014 and 2015 are also compared.

While minimum wage increases have made headlines in some garment exporters such as Cambodia and Indonesia, this note shows that inflation has eroded workers' purchasing power in a number of other countries. This note compares the lowest allowable wage levels across economies from two perspectives. First, wage levels and rates of change are compared in nominal US dollar terms. This is the comparison that is most relevant to investors and international competitiveness. Second, wages are compared in real purchasing power terms, which is the more relevant comparison form workers' perspective.