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Singapore among most attractive locations in Asia-Pacific for expats: Survey

Singapore among most attractive locations in Asia-Pacific for expats: Survey
Reuters file photo

Singapore among most attractive locations in Asia-Pacific for expats: Survey

Firms here offer some of the most generous salary and benefits packages in the region

SINGAPORE — The Republic offers some of the most generous expatriate salary and benefits packages in Asia-Pacific, according to the latest survey by ECA International, released on Wednesday.

Among the 16 countries surveyed in the MyExpatriate Market Pay survey — which is published annually by the information provider on employment conditions abroad — Singapore offers the second-most generous pay package, after Pakistan. South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong round out the top five locations in terms of the highest expatriate salaries.

“Singapore is a very attractive proposition to 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 Mr Lee Quane, ECA’s regional director of Asia.

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.

When tax is factored in, Singapore is ranked ninth in the Asia-Pacific’s overall most-expensive locations as it has one of the lowest personal tax rates in the world, said Mr Quane.

“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 China.”

The value of a typical expatriate package for middle managers in Singapore is now S$316,600, which is a five-year low.

In contrast, the comparable package in Hong Kong is around S$356,800, and in China, the package is S$379,800 on average.

Japan, at the top end of the scale, pays an average of S$493,900 to an expatriate middle manager, while Malaysia, at the bottom end, offers an average of S$225,900.

“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 means that the total cost of an expatriate package for companies in Singapore has fallen over the past few years in local and US dollar terms,” added Mr Quane.

The most 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 US dollar terms by 10 per cent over a five-year period due to expatriate accommodation rental prices declining,” said Mr Quane.