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"Real" salary expectations for expat

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britdanstan
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"Real" salary expectations for expat

Postby britdanstan » Sat, 30 Jun 2007 11:29 pm

Hi,

Hello and thanks to anyone who reads or responds to this!

The company I work for, a multi-billion $ global IT company, want me to relocate to Singapore.

I am a senior IT manager based in the UK. To give some idea I am one step down from Director level and in the company I work for 'Director' is not simply an inflated title (I don’t intend to be cynical - I only mention this as I know in some places it is next to meaningless and I want to clarify my position)

With all due respect and no offence intended to anyone, I do not want to go. I'm sure Singapore is great, but for me personally there is very little appeal.

Having said that, I am willing to spend a couple of years there if it is the right career move, but only if it is also financially rewarding or at a minimum has zero impact on my financial status.

I have researched average salaries from HR resources and considered them against rent and other expenses and they are an order of magnitude below what I would even enter in to discussions about (apologies if I sound arrogant I'm just trying to be honest). However, I have also read reports from reputable research companies that list IT salaries for expats as being much, much higher. In fact, for senior IT management roles at large organizations they appear to be up to $200,000 p.a (as opposed to $75-120k in the HR documents).

My question is (yes there is one): Does anyone have any comments on the realistic salary potential, if not specifically for my situation then for expats in similar situations?

Sorry for the length of this ......

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 01 Jul 2007 12:08 am

Right off the bat, HR resources will generally only give the norms or median spread. On the other hand, search firms will inflate or at least pad somewhat the upper end of the spread as they need to draw the best for their databases. Probably in reality it would be somewhere in the 'tween. At the end of the day though, it would depend on what you are 'really' bringing to the table. If it is more hype than substance, well, all the titles in the world cannot help someone who is an example of the peter principle at work (I am not referring to you, but what happens in lots of instances). These guys can talk the teeth out of a chicken but when it comes to doing, well, let's just say they need their teams so that they can pinch the credit when necessary.

A lateral move at your level doesn't sound like a good idea at all if you are that senior. Especially if they are trying to shift you out of the country. According to your post, if you are being transferred by your "multi-billion" company, it should not be a real problem for them to at least equalize your salary/perks so you don't lose. This however sounds kind of fishy to me as most companies of that magnitude wouldn't do that unless they are trying to get rid of someone.

:-|

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Postby britdanstan » Sun, 01 Jul 2007 12:45 am

Fishy eh? I see your point. Now I'm worried!

Actually, I am aware of their motivation, I’m happy it is not an underhanded tactic – it is way too subtle for them. I’d be a lot more worried if they hadn’t suggested it yet. It does actually come with a promotion. The company’s problem is that I would be 1 of maybe 230 relocations, so they can’t be too generous (well not with people down at my level).

I guess I'm trying to figure out if these 'average' salaries are just a reflection of the market as a whole or if I can expect to get a lot more. When they say an IT Manager gets 8-10k a month are they referring to large, small, medium, local, MNC. I can only assume an average from all sectors. So I was hoping someone on here might have an on-the-ground perspective in the event that HR uses the same figures in any offer.

I suppose I'll have to wait to see what they offer, but I really like knowing before an offer where it would place me relative to my peers. Keep in mind I don’t really want to go so I’m not being greedy, I’m just trying to make sure it’s a good deal. I know what I need to earn to make it a good deal, I just don’t know if asking for it would be realistic.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 01 Jul 2007 1:27 am

While I am not an IT guru, I believe here in Singapore the biggest bucks in the IT industry would seem to be in the banking/financial sector. Maybe Strong Eagle will pop in and give you some feedback as he owns an IT project management company and is a moderator here as well.

sms

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Strong Eagle
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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 01 Jul 2007 8:15 am

Strong Eagle popping in. Before I chime in with an opinion I'd want to get a sense of the following. As senior IT manager,

a) how many staff
b) what size budget
c) what scope of responsibilitity, ie, IT infrastructure, software, development, etc.

With respect to the CIO of the company (the one that runs everthing related to IT), where is your postion (1 level down, 2 levels down)?

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Postby jpatokal » Tue, 03 Jul 2007 12:07 am

For expat positions where the company is asking you to move, local salaries don't really matter all that much -- the expectation is that the company will match your current salary and top it enough to make it worth your while. Of course, HR will trot out the "taxes and cost of living are so cheap in Sing!" line, but you don't have to buy it and they will give in if they're genuinely interested in having you move.
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Postby bigfatboab » Thu, 19 Jul 2007 7:23 am

Hi, I find myself in a very similar position to britdanstan. Like him I am just trying to get myself some reference points to figure out whether the offer I am given is a fair deal or not. I understand all the "depends what you are worth" discussions. Perhaps I can ask the question a different way. If I am a marketing director in the UK earning say £70K with a team of 10 marketing managers and associates working for me, what would be an equivalent Singapore expat package be ?

(I also understand the "why would a lateral move make sense" discussion - the scenario above is not exactly what I am or what I am being offered but it eliminates a lot of variables and a view on this would let me figure out how to compare home to expat saleries.)

Thanks in advance for all your views !

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Postby LBS03 » Sun, 22 Jul 2007 12:36 am

Hi,

I found myself doing somewhat similar research albeit in a different sector - strategy consulting and strategy roles within banking.

I found that if I were to transfer within my firm or moved to a similar firm in Singapore salaries would be 18-22% lower from my UK base (around GBP105K). Bonus % stayed the same. However there were no other 'expat' benefits ... as I don't necessarily bring any special skill / edge that these firms don't have in-house.

However if I were to move to a strategy role within banking, then the discount disappeared .. and I got offers which were at par / slightly lower than my UK base. Bonus broadly stayed the same. There were no additional expat benefits other than initial sign-on / relocation package.

Ofcourse this can vary quite considerably by industry / one's seniority within the organisation / demand in Sg. For example, my friend, a senior private banker in a swiss bank is moving to Sg with a significant premium to his zurich salary + housing allowance of SGD10K per month + all school expenses paid for his 3 kids.

Hope that give you some pointers

Cheers


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