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Comparing salaries between London and Singapore

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

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v4jr4
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Postby v4jr4 » Thu, 16 Aug 2012 1:54 pm

Mi Amigo wrote:Whereas in this 2011 Quality of Life Index the UK is ranked 9th and Singapore is ranked 92nd.


Even if there's a room for bias on deciding the ranks, I'm pretty comfortable staying in Singapore (compared to my hometown :P ). Yes, the little red dot can't please everyone, and the same thing can be applied to their own hometown :lol:

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Cost of living

Postby ringo100100 » Thu, 16 Aug 2012 4:29 pm

When I look at my personal costs, I think almost everything I buy here is more expensive than the UK. The only exception is public transport and taxis. But in the UK, i can buy a good second hand car for about 8,000. Overall my costs are similar as the tax is so much lower.

Now one thing to consider is that the pound has lost almost 40% of its value. I would say cost would be similar if the singapore dollar went to 2.5.

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Postby Global Player » Sat, 18 Aug 2012 12:54 pm

Mi Amigo wrote:Whereas in this 2011 Quality of Life Index the UK is ranked 9th and Singapore is ranked 92nd.


Woah, this list is kind of bullshit, unbelivable. Singapore lower than Malaysia, Turkey, Serbia, and CUBA (!). But hey, at least it's ahead of North Korea... :???:

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Postby guyg » Sun, 19 Aug 2012 3:23 am

I like the fact you're never far from a fresh watermelon juice and for only a few dollars, non of my "local" juice bars in london even sell it

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 19 Aug 2012 10:50 am

Global Player wrote:
Mi Amigo wrote:Whereas in this 2011 Quality of Life Index the UK is ranked 9th and Singapore is ranked 92nd.


Woah, this list is kind of bullshit, unbelivable. Singapore lower than Malaysia, Turkey, Serbia, and CUBA (!). But hey, at least it's ahead of North Korea... :???:


It makes sense if you read their methodology:

Cost of Living (20% of the final ranking). This is a guide to how much it will cost you to live in a style comparable to—or better than—the standard of living you’re likely enjoying in the U.S. Our primary source in this category is the U.S. State Department’s Index of Overseas Living Costs, used to compute cost-of-living allowances for a Western-style of living in various countries. We also consider each country’s national debt.

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Postby PrimroseHill » Tue, 21 Aug 2012 11:33 am

I moved here from UK about 6months ago with my OH & Teen. I used to earn around the same as the original poster and OH was also earning the same. Did I feel that I had more disposable income in UK compared to SG?
1.We lived in Central London (equivalent to D9-D11). We now rented a condo - 3bed condo in a old development, D9-11. $6k per month. We rented out an investment property in Central London for similarish amount and thats only a 2bed flat.
2. Council Tax in London - GBP240 per month. Here - no idea.
3. Public Transport - Tube - GBP90 per month & taxis were a treat. Here MRT and taxis - $100 per month (and thats an awful lot of cab rides)
4. Utilties - back in London GBP760 per month (heating & electric) excl water which was GBP340 oer 6 monthly. SG (everything and almost 24/7 air con) - $500 per month.
5. Groceries - London, did an awful lot of Waitrose/local deli/local fishmonger/local grocer, GBP600-800 per month. SG - combo of NTUC Fairprice/CS/Swiss Butchery - $600-800 per month.
6. Restaurants, London we tend to eat out most weekends and at non-Michelin restaurants, local pizzeria/pasta places for GBP80-100 per meal. SG- depending- pasta places will be $160 onwards, chinese/foodcourt- $30?
7. In London, Teen goes to independent private school GBP15k per annum. SG - International School - $24k.
8. Car - petrol was crazy in London. No idea in SG yet. Insurance - GBP2k per annum in UK. Congestion GBP10 per day, if driving. GBP2.00 per 10mins parking.
9. Private medical - company

And so far, OH has been taking a break to find his feet. So, I am the only breadwinner. Company paid for the relocation. So far, I found that I have more disposable income left every month compared to London. Its the taxation. Its the 40% and VAT at 20% thats a killer. Also the NI contributions. Inform your HMRC office. Keep up the NI payments.

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Postby AuntieMabel » Mon, 12 May 2014 1:48 am

I hope no one minds me hijacking this older thread.

My firm have asked me to move to Singapore from the UK, and I'm in the process of negotiating a package. But I don't have enough info to benchmark my salary.

In the UK I'm on £65k, working as a mid-senior IT type in financial services. What would be the equivalent salary over there? I can't seem to find salary info on job ads for similar jobs over there, so it's hard to know if I'm selling myself short, or asking for too much.

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 12 May 2014 8:52 am

PrimroseHill wrote:I moved here from UK about 6months ago with my OH & Teen. I used to earn around the same as the original poster and OH was also earning the same. Did I feel that I had more disposable income in UK compared to SG?
1.We lived in Central London (equivalent to D9-D11). We now rented a condo - 3bed condo in a old development, D9-11. $6k per month. We rented out an investment property in Central London for similarish amount and thats only a 2bed flat.
2. Council Tax in London - GBP240 per month. Here - no idea.
3. Public Transport - Tube - GBP90 per month & taxis were a treat. Here MRT and taxis - $100 per month (and thats an awful lot of cab rides)
4. Utilties - back in London GBP760 per month (heating & electric) excl water which was GBP340 oer 6 monthly. SG (everything and almost 24/7 air con) - $500 per month.
5. Groceries - London, did an awful lot of Waitrose/local deli/local fishmonger/local grocer, GBP600-800 per month. SG - combo of NTUC Fairprice/CS/Swiss Butchery - $600-800 per month.
6. Restaurants, London we tend to eat out most weekends and at non-Michelin restaurants, local pizzeria/pasta places for GBP80-100 per meal. SG- depending- pasta places will be $160 onwards, chinese/foodcourt- $30?
7. In London, Teen goes to independent private school GBP15k per annum. SG - International School - $24k.
8. Car - petrol was crazy in London. No idea in SG yet. Insurance - GBP2k per annum in UK. Congestion GBP10 per day, if driving. GBP2.00 per 10mins parking.
9. Private medical - company

And so far, OH has been taking a break to find his feet. So, I am the only breadwinner. Company paid for the relocation. So far, I found that I have more disposable income left every month compared to London. Its the taxation. Its the 40% and VAT at 20% thats a killer. Also the NI contributions. Inform your HMRC office. Keep up the NI payments.


Hi PH, that's a very useful guideline list.
I'd just like to add some comments from my experience, FWIW [one caveat this is c5 years ago].

1) Likewise, I let out my former London home for more than I pay in rent here (West London > D11/12). [That said I know it is going to be in a heck of a state and need £works, when we get back].
2) Worth noting that this varies widely by borough/district. My council tax was maybe £500pa. But as a rule of thumb the more left-wing a borough council, the higher it will be (often *significantly*). Also note, in the UK, the tenant is solely liable for Council Tax (this assumes you rent a whole dwelling, and are not a flat-sharer).
3) Zone 1-2 Travelcard (bus, tube, tram, lightrail) = £120.60/mo, £1256/pa. Refer www.tfl.gov.uk. Zone 1-3 incrementally more, but not that much.
4) I blinked at this one! Heavens! My gas (heating, HW + hob) was about £40pm. My electricity maybe £50pm. I had the thermostat in my place (c800-900ft2) set at 21c. In contrast my sisters nearby house, they had the thermo at 25c, and I always broke a sweat and had to half undress when I visited. It's easy to be lazy and up the 'thermo' if it's a cold day, but the costs rise exponentially. You can adjust yourself to lower ambient temperatures within a week or two. I didn't forget my dads mantra 'If you're cold put a sweater on!'.
5) £40-50/pw/pp for groceries from M+S (often being daily basics, + fresh ready made meals for dinner). +£12-15pw at the local deli for pates, hams, cheeses + good bread, that covered lunches. When you start going out and buying joints of meat, fresh fish, specialist ingredients like say scallops or crab this will rise quickly.
6) We tend to live in a basic way at home, but then go and splurge the 'savings' on the occasional high-end meal. It's a bit like us buying most everything here from NTUC, occasional specialist meat + fish from Cold Storage etc., and then treating ourselves to dinner at the Fat Cow or similar once a month.
7/8/9 - Can't comment, though figures sound about right. A car in London is a huge financial burden, more so if you do not have off-street parking. But that discussion is not for this post.


p.s. I'm not really in a position to give further comparatives to SG, as I don't commute and the wife pays the utilities. My grocery bills also, are likely to highly skewed by the incredible price of beer and wine here, so probably not worth trying to estimate.

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Postby aster » Tue, 13 May 2014 1:43 am

1,000 quid per month for council tax/heating/electric seems way over the top.

20% VAT can be noticeable on some goods and irrelevant on others. A lot of the time the distributor sets prices on a given market and higher GST won't necessarily mean that the product will cost more there than elsewhere. Just look at M&S here in Singapore... or even electronic goods compared to the US or many European countries.

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Postby BillyB » Thu, 15 May 2014 1:18 pm

AuntieMabel wrote:I hope no one minds me hijacking this older thread.

My firm have asked me to move to Singapore from the UK, and I'm in the process of negotiating a package. But I don't have enough info to benchmark my salary.

In the UK I'm on £65k, working as a mid-senior IT type in financial services. What would be the equivalent salary over there? I can't seem to find salary info on job ads for similar jobs over there, so it's hard to know if I'm selling myself short, or asking for too much.



For FSI IT, it can be tricky to define a like-for-like conversion as it depends on the organisation and functional area. Both of which, we don't know.

A good starting point are the recruiter salary guides. Use them as a loose benchmark as the ranges can swing depending on the factors above.

http://www.robertwalters.com.sg/career- ... urvey.html
http://www.hays.com.sg/salary-guide/
http://www.greythorn.com.sg/page/client ... y-surveys/

For relocation, the practice I've seen is disposable income per month after tax plus any discretionary relocation premium. This, however, isn't a great benchmark when moving from a higher tax environment. I'd get anal about comparing your living costs to ensure you don't lose out - similar to how you've mapped everything out above.

A direct salary match - S$130k (FX rate of 2 for simplicity) - would leave you with a higher level of disposable income each month (due to the lower tax rate in Singapore), but ideally you want a premium on top of that for the relocation hassle and disruption.

Armed with all the facts, I'd start the opening offer at S$180k, with a view to achieve $160-170k.


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