, Singapore

Singapore expat packages shrunk by US$12,450 over a year

Employers paid lower salaries and expat benefits cost less.

The average cost of employing an expat in Singapore has shrunk by over US$12,450 (4%) compared to the year before, ECA International revealed.

According to its survey, the value of a typical annual compensation and benefits package for an expat middle manager in Singapore now is US$223,095, down from US235,545 in 2016. The expat package is composed of three main elements: the cash salary, benefits – such as accommodation, international schools, utilities or cars – and tax.

“Singapore saw one of the most dramatic falls in expat costs in Asia, with the average pay package falling US$12,450. 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 for ECA International. “However, Singapore remains one of the 20 most expensive countries in terms of the cost of employing expat staff, despite having very low personal tax rates.”

Also read: Crazy poor expats: Why salaries for foreigners are falling fast

In Asia, Japan has the most expensive expat package at US$356,224, followed by US$293,097 in India.

Compared to Singapore, Malaysia saw an even bigger drop of US$17,188 to the average expat pay package, keeping them rooted to the bottom of the 40-country list.

Elsewhere in Asia, expat pay packages in Hong Kong rose in 2017, after previously hitting a five-year low in 2016. The value of a typical expat pay package in Hong Kong is now US$268,514.

In contrast, the average pay package of expats in China has dropped by around US$6,000, to US$276,387, as the gap continues to narrow between expats in Hong Kong and those on the mainland. 

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