Expat salaries nosedive in Singapore

The average cost of employing an expatriate in Singapore has fallen since last year

Expat salaries nosedive in Singapore

The average cost of employing an expatriate in Singapore has shrunk by over USD12,000 ($15,986) compared to the year before.

This was one of the findings of the latest MyExpatriate Market Pay survey published annually by ECA International.

When considering the cost of an expatriate package, companies need to factor in three main elements: the cash salary, benefits – such as accommodation, international schools, utilities or cars – and tax.

The value of a typical annual compensation and benefits package for an expatriate middle manager in Singapore is now USD223,095, down from USD235,545 in 2016.

“Singapore saw one of the most dramatic falls in expatriate costs in Asia, with the average pay package falling by USD12,450. This is due to lower salaries being provided as well as a fall in the costs of various benefits,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International.

“However, Singapore remains one of the 20 most expensive countries in terms of the cost of employing expatriate staff, despite having very low personal tax rates.”

Neighbouring Malaysia saw an even bigger drop of USD17,188 to the average expatriate pay package, keeping them rooted to the bottom of the 40-country list.

Elsewhere in Asia, expatriate pay packages in Hong Kong rose in 2017, after previously hitting a five-year low in 2016. The value of a typical expatriate pay package in Hong Kong is now USD268,514, having slightly risen by USD3,027.

“Cash salaries offered to local staff in Hong Kong increased marginally by an average rate of 4%, and the cost of benefits provided has risen significantly. Consequently, the total costs associated with employing expatriates in Hong Kong increased in 2017 versus 2016,” Quane said.

Hong Kong is the fifth most expensive city to employ expatriates. Japan tops the list of 40 countries, with the UK coming in a close second and India taking the third spot.


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