EXPATRIATES SALARY COMPENSATION OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENTS
Singapore – Despite the rising cost of living and high pay demands, Singapore will continue to be a hot spot for companies to send their expatriates to.
Singapore was ranked as the eighth most expensive country to live in by Mercer in July. A separate report by ECA International also revealed expats in Singapore receive the fifth highest pay in Asia Pacific even though most of them are on localised compensation packages.
Yet the total cost - which includes net salary, benefits and tax - of employing an expat in Singapore is lower when compared to Hong Kong and China. International assignees sent here also have no need for a hardship or location allowance because the city has a high quality of living standards.
Lee Quane, regional director for ECA, said, “If the employee can do exactly the same role in both Singapore and Hong Kong, from the cost perspective, it’d make more sense to relocate the assignee to Singapore.”
Expats in Singapore earn between US$80,000 (S$96,463) and US$98,000 (S$118,155). Expat managers in Hong Kong receive US$249,814 (S$301,201) a year on average.
Quane added Singapore’s need for foreign talent is well-documented. “That need is usually not for short-term assignments”.
Furthermore, the city-state is more attractive to expats because they earn more here than in Hong Kong or China from the net salary perspective. “It’s a win-win situation for both the company and employee,” Quane said.
But Quane maintains that Singapore and Hong Kong will continue to receive a steady influx of expats because companies still need foreign expertise to develop the growing markets in the region. However, they will be given localised contracts because they are usually on a long-term assignment or are hired on a permanent basis.
“The employee’s compensation is based on the local market to keep it affordable,” he said.
About a third of Singapore respondents to ECA’s survey have indicated that there is a rising need to cut cost in remunerating longer-term assignees.
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