Expatriate packages soar in Singapore, decline elsewhere
Expatriates in Singapore experienced a four per cent increase in their total salary and benefits packages, reaching US$258,752 in 2022. This rise was a significant contrast to most other locations in Asia, which reported a decline in the same year.
The growth in benefits and tax incentives contributed to Singapore’s boost in the global rankings, where it climbed six places to secure the 16th position, according to the annual MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey by ECA International.
Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International, highlighted that the surge in the cost of expatriate accommodation in Singapore affected both locals and expatriates, leading to a nine per cent increase in benefit costs when measured in USD terms. Nevertheless, Singapore’s ascent in the rankings was somewhat curbed by a US$4,000 decrease in salaries.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong witnessed a two per cent decline in salary and benefits packages for expats in 2022, with the total package value reaching US$278,020. Quane attributed this dip to lower salary costs in the financial hub, while the stability of benefits kept the overall package value from dropping further. Despite the decline, Hong Kong still managed to rise three places in the global rankings, securing a spot among the top five locations offering the highest expat packages. The strength of the Hong Kong dollar played a role in this positive ranking.
In China, expat salaries fell by five per cent in USD terms, largely influenced by the strengthening of the yuan against major currencies. Consequently, the average expat salary in yuan decreased. However, China maintained its position as the location with the third-highest expat packages in the region.
In Japan, the weak Japanese yen caused a drop in the cost of overall salary and benefits packages for expats in USD terms, despite registering a five per cent increase in local currency terms. Japan retained its position as the second most expensive location globally, with the total package becoming approximately 12 per cent cheaper than the previous year, amounting to US$370,183.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Malaysia offered the lowest salary and benefits package in Asia, with an overall cost decrease of four per cent to US$164,696.
Globally, the United Kingdom remained the most expensive country to send expatriates, with the total salary and benefits package reaching USD441,608 in 2022. The cost of benefits for UK expats rose by four per cent to US$167,594. The UK’s status as the most expensive country was largely influenced by the rising cost of benefits, and exchange rate changes further widened the gap with Japan, which ranked second.
The United States rose seven places to enter the top 10 in the global rankings, as the total cost of salaries and benefits for expats in the US increased by six per cent to USD272,770. The strong dollar caused the average expatriate salary in the US to fall, but higher housing costs contributed to a 10 per cent increase in benefit costs, making it more expensive for companies to relocate staff to the US in 2022.