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The expat package: A thing of the past?

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More than two thirds (69%) of Singaporean financial service professionals believe their expatriate colleagues receive ‘expat packages’, which typically include big perks such as housing and vehicle allowances. But are they right?

Despite this wide belief, overseas employees based in Singapore are not only not receiving expat packages – 83% have never been employed on one.

A survey conducted by eFinancialCareers, which polled over 1,000 employed bankers and financial professionals based in Singapore, found a “vast majority of expats are now hired directly onto local packages, while others have given up their prior existing perks to remain a part of Singapore’s thriving finance industry”.

George McFerran, global sales and marketing director at eFinancialCareers, said this shift may be a result of financial firms based locally becoming more cost conscious, along with Singapore’s growing recognition as an attractive place to live and work.

“It is a leading financial centre where professionals can develop their careers in a safe and enjoyable environment, meaning expat packages aren’t needed to attract talent,” he said.

“The recent focus to proactively develop the Singaporean talent pool could mean we see the already small number of expat packages further diminish.”

ALSO READ: Expat salaries in Singapore 6th highest in Asia

The report also found the lack of expat packages on offer actually has a positive impact on company culture, with 62% of respondents admitting it could cause friction in the office and 55% stating foreign talent can receive preferential treatment because of it.

“There is a clear disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to the number of overseas professionals that are on expat packages,” said McFerran. “Employers that are transparent with their workforce and clearly communicate that expat packages are not the norm will stand to achieve greater office harmony.”

“This is a crucial part of building a positive corporate culture and is an increasingly valuable retention tool.”

Image: Shutterstock

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