Cost of employing expats dropped over $5,200

Singapore's standing as one of the most expensive locations for hiring expats fell to ninth place.

Expatriate pay packages in Singapore have dropped $5,207 (US$3,804), with the average cost of employing a mid-level expatriate in the country amounting to $216,628 (US$234,454), according to an ECA International study.

This also includes an average cash salary of $119,927 (US$88,045).

But despite the fall in costs, the country remains amongst the most expensive locations in Asia for hiring expatriate staff, settling at the ninth spot. It lags behind Japan, China, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines.

When considering the cost of an expatriate pay package, ECA International encourages companies to factor in three main elements: the cash salary, benefits—such as accommodation, international schools, or cars— and tax.

“In recent years, Singapore has fallen to be the ninth most expensive location in Asia for employing expatriate staff. As a result, the cost of an expatriate pay package in the country is now lower than other Asian countries such as Taiwan and Thailand”, said.

“The gap between the cost of employing expatriates in Singapore as compared to Hong Kong has widened in the past year to 18%, representing a continuation of a long-term trend,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International. “The key reason for Singapore’s more favourable ranking in terms of costs is lower taxes as compared to most of the other Asian locations in our rankings, and lower costs associated with benefits as compared to other high-cash salary locations such as Hong Kong.”

As such, Quane added that this helps moderate the fact that cash salaries earned by expats in Singapore are the second highest in the region, which is a cost that is only slightly lower than the average in Hong Kong.

In contrast, the cost of an expatriate pay package in Hong Kong continued to grow throughout 2019. The average price of employing a mid-level expatriate worker in the city now costs a company $389,356 (US$284,466), including an average cash salary of $120,620 (US$88,126).

“Hong Kong stood out against the global trend of decreasing costs of expatriate packages in 2019 and now represents one of the only locations in the rankings that saw all aspects of the package increase. Whilst this increase is seen to be positive as compared to the rest of Asia and even the world, the rate of increase was significantly lower than in previous years – coming in at 1.2%, Quane added.

He further noted that this was representative of the weakened global economy in 2019. Moreover,the average expatriate package in Hong Kong is unlikely to grow for the foreseeable future amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, China remains the third most expensive location in the world to employ expatriate workers, despite the overall cost of employing an expatriate in the country and their average salary dropping by over $8,212 (US$6,000) and $3,096 (US$2,262) respectively.

Given the above, Asia continues to be an expensive location to send expatriate workers in general, with 11 of the top 20 most expensive countries in ECA’s global rankings being Asian countries.  

Join Singapore Business Review community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!

Meanwhile, a record 583 non-landed homes sold for more than $2m each in the first nine months of the year.
The merger will create a flagship pan-Asia logistics and high-tech S-REIT.
It is followed closely by the identification app SingPass.
The index tracks REITs in the APAC region with higher dividend yields and positive environmental attributes.
Both companies will create training programs to support digital entrepreneurship and digital upskilling for Grab partners.
The deal is focused on M1’s network assets. 
This is a part of the Lion City's bid to become a global maritime knowledge and innovation hub.
Risks, however, are present with the financial troubles faced by the real estate sector in China. 
This comes as more Singaporeans turn to gaming in the midst of the pandemic. 
Retail sector has experienced the “most disruptions” with the changing restrictions.
The company was commended for being a global and regional sector leader in five categories.
The CEO designate said he aims to drive development in the company’s business units.   Gary Ho,  who played an instrumental role in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Nanofilm Technologies International Limited, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company.
Analysts said strong leasing activity in Q3 played a factor.
Islandwide prime retail rents saw a dip by 0.6% q-o-q. 
Jardine Cycle & Carriage, Keppel Corporation and Frasers Logistics & Commercial showed the most growth.