some of the most generous expatriate salary and benefits packages in Asia
When tax is factored in, Singapore
falls to ninth in Asia Pacific’s overall most expensive locations for expat
Cost of expatriate packages
in Singapore lowest in five years in USD terms – widening the gap with Hong
Malaysia offers the lowest total
expatriate packages for Middle Managers in the region
Singapore – 17 May, 2017 - Companies sending their
expatriates to Singapore offer some of the most generous expatriate salary and
benefits packages in Asia Pacific, with the total cost to companies falling
over five years in USD terms. This was one of the findings of the latest MyExpatriate
Market Pay survey published annually by ECA International, the world's leading
provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and
assignment of employees around the world.
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. To assist companies relocating staff with
benchmarking their packages against the market, ECA conducts its annual
MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey of pay levels for expatriates around the world, including
benefits, allowances, salary calculation methods and tax treatment.
The value of a
typical expatriate package for Middle Managers in Singapore is now SGD 316 600 (USD 235 500). The total cost
of expatriate pay packages in Singapore for Middle
Managers has fallen to a five-year low in USD terms. However, Singapore still offers
some of the highest expatriate salary and benefits packages in the region, with
some of the lowest tax rates.
“Singapore is a very attractive
proposition for both companies and expatriates alike. Companies sending expats
here offer some of the most generous salary and benefits packages in the region,
sitting in the top three for both elements in the Asia Pacific rankings,” said
Lee Quane, Regional director – Asia, ECA International. “However, when tax is
factored in, Singapore falls down to ninth in the Asia Pacific’s overall most
expensive locations as it has one of the lowest personal tax rates in the
world. This ensures that Singapore remains one of the cheaper locations for
companies to send their expats to in the region - behind Japan, Hong Kong and
The value of a
typical expatriate package for Middle Managers in Hong Kong is around SGD 356 800 (USD 265 500), with the total cost of expatriate pay packages in Hong Kong
remaining the fourth highest in the region.
Over the past five years, the gap
has widened between Singapore and Hong Kong for the total cost of an expatriate
package offered to Middle Managers. In USD terms, the total cost of Singapore’s
expatriate packages has fallen by six per cent over this period, compared to Hong
Kong’s decline of just two per cent due to the relative strength of the Hong
“In local currency terms, although expatriate salaries
continue to rise in Singapore, reaching the highest levels since our survey
began, the cost of the benefits element has significantly declined. This has
meant that the total cost of
an expatriate package for companies in Singapore has fallen over the past few
years in local and USD terms,” mentioned Quane.
expensive part of the expatriate package in Singapore is typically the benefits
element, to the extent that the benefits components are often more
expensive than the assignee's net take-home pay.
“Even though international school fees have risen in
Singapore, the overall cost of benefits packages have fallen in USD terms by 10 per cent over a
five-year period due to expatriate accommodation rental prices declining,”
Japan is home
to Asia's most expensive expatriate packages. On average, a package for an
expatriate Middle Manager there is worth SGD 493 900 (USD 367 500). The total
package has risen by a significant amount from last year’s total, by around 12
per cent, with the yen strengthening against the US dollar in the survey
to offer the region’s lowest total expatriate pay packages – with packages
falling by 13 per cent in USD terms since 2012, falling behind Sri Lanka and
Pakistan in the process. The average cost of a total expatriate package in
Malaysia now lies at just under SGD 225 900 (USD 168 000).
A total package for an expatriate Middle Manager in China is worth around
SGD 379 800 (USD 282 500) on average.
packages in China have declined in USD terms from last year’s totals due to the
yuan weakening against the dollar over this period. China remains attractive
for foreign companies sending expatriates here as although costs are rising in
local currency they have fallen in USD terms over the past 12 months,” stated
The significance of high tax rates on
the total cost of expatriate packages
India’s tax element has the opposite bearing to
Singapore’s, with high tax making it less appealing to foreign companies. This
can considerably increase assignment costs, as is the case with India, where
nearly half of the total expatriate package is consumed by tax. India has the
third highest total expatriate pay packages in the region, at SGD 373 500 (USD
277 900). When tax is excluded, India falls out of the regional top 10
When choosing an expatriate pay
approach, companies need to be clear about the reasons behind the assignment so
that their choice reinforces this. This can help organisations to decide
whether they wish to create equity among home or host country peers –
something that has become even more complex as companies manage increasingly diverse
nationalities in and out of different markets. This will also need to be
balanced against benefits and costs to the business.
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Notes to Editors
MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey
ECA's MyExpatriate Market Pay
Survey looks at pay levels for expatriates around the world, including
information on benefits, allowances, salary calculation methods and tax
The results, free to
participants, enable companies to benchmark their expatriates' actual salaries
against the market. More than 290 companies took part in the survey covering 160
countries and over 10 000 international assignees.
used in this release were collected in the later stages of 2016 and refer to a
Middle Manager position based on 80 ECA Points. ECA Points is a job evaluation
system that measures the influence, scope and responsibilities of a job.
There are a number of ways in
which salary packages for expatriates may be calculated. The information
provided by participant companies in our survey relates to home and host-based
salary systems as well as locally-hired and localised expatriates and
expatriates on indefinite contracts.
Certain types of allowances are
specifically excluded from the analysis in the reports. These are one-off
payments such as allowances for outfit, furniture, disturbance and relocation.
Benefits values are based on
standard ECA assumptions* and have been derived from data in ECA's
accommodation and benefits reports to provide an estimate of the cost of
providing these benefits. The actual costs or allowances paid to cover these
benefits vary widely according to each company's policy.
Tax figures used here refer to
employee taxes and do not take company contributions into account. For ease of
comparison, it is assumed that cash allowances are paid to employees to cover
the cost of any benefits provided.
*The accommodation figure is
representative of the cost of housing two adults and one child. Utilities
covers heat, light, water and telephone charges. Education assumes one child
attending a local international school. The car figure covers annual running
costs and is based on a standard cars value (2000 cc), depreciated over five
About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)
ECA International is the market-leading
provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to
manage their international reward programmes.
Partnering with thousands of
clients on every continent, we provide a fully-integrated suite of quality
data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights
guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.
We make the complex world of
international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support
they need to make the right decisions - every time.
ECA International: Mobility
solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.
on Twitter: @ECAintl
For further information, please
Regional Director – Asia, ECA
Tel: +852 2121 2388
Mansi Maheshwari / Cherie Loh
Rice Communications for ECA International
Mobile: +65 9337 0705 / +65 9338 0198