Last year, companies in Singapore spent less on hiring expatriate middle managers, with total compensation packages including fewer perks and lower wages.
However, according to a study released on Wednesday by data and information provider ECA International, cash wages for expats here remain the sixth highest in the world (Aug 25).
Average Expat Package in Asia
Last year, the average compensation package for a mid-level expatriate in Singapore was US$225,171 (S$305,400), which was around US$7,300 less than the year before. As a result, Singapore is the world’s 17th most costly place for businesses to deploy expatriates.
With an average package of more than US$405,000, Japan has surpassed Britain to take the top spot.
Mr. Lee Quane, ECA’s regional director for Asia, pointed out that the lower expatriate packages in Singapore reflect reductions in other Asian cities like as Hong Kong and Thailand.
He attributed this to “reduced expenses of lodging and other perks” often given to white-collar expats. They did, however, earn approximately $1,000 less in cash compensation in 2019 than their colleagues.
“These developments, along with Singapore’s position as the greatest location in the world for quality of life (according to ECA’s location ratings), contribute to enhance Singapore’s appeal to expats seeking to relocate to the area,” Mr Quane said.
Because of the lower cost of employing expats, the Republic would also appeal to businesses seeking to establish a regional center, he said.
Despite a small rise in average pay of US$265, the value of expatriate packages in Hong Kong dropped by almost $5,000 in 2020 to about US$280,000.
“While expatriate wages in Hong Kong increased by less than 1%, businesses were able to take advantage of reduced housing prices and cut the… financial assistance for housing in comparison to the previous year,” Mr Quane added.
The cost of benefits in Malaysia has dropped significantly, by close to US$2,000 on average. Low rents were ascribed to a lack of demand for expatriate housing as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic and travel restrictions.
In Thailand, the average salary and benefits package for international workers dropped by almost $18,000. The nation is no longer one of the top 20 most costly places to work for mid-level expats.
Taiwan, on the other hand, has entered the top ten most expensive destinations list.
This was mainly attributable to an increase in benefit expenses, which soared in part due to a sharp spike in housing rentals after Taiwan’s early success in containing Covid-19’s spread.
It surpassed nations like South Korea and Australia to become the tenth most expensive place to employ expats.
Revised Expat Packages amidst Covid Pandemic
Dr David Leong, managing director of human resource consulting company PeopleWorldwide Consulting, said that although basic pay would usually stay roughly the same, he has seen housing allowances and assistance for children’s education slashed in the last year.
“Overall salary packages for existing expats are rarely changing since they are subject to Ministry of Manpower qualifications, and if the package is decreased, it may impact their renewal chances,” he added.
During the epidemic, Dr. Leong said, there was a noticeable increase of expatriates returning to their home countries, with others facing altered conditions of employment if they remained to work here owing to businesses tightening their belts.
According to Paul Heng, managing director of NeXT Career Consulting Group, some expats have been deported as a result of restrictions on work permits and the non-renewal of permanent residence status.
Firms in the IT industry, for example, have difficulties in ensuring that compensation packages are attractive enough to attract expatriates with in-demand skills and expertise.
However, he said, Singapore’s management of the pandemic and associated issues aids companies in retaining expatriates.