Singapore Expats Forum

Average Ex-Pat Packages Now..

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

col311
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri, 28 Sep 2012

Average Ex-Pat Packages Now..

Postby col311 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 8:54 am

I know there are lots of threads about this already & have read most.. but wanted up to date information as it seems things are a-changing.

So I'm getting conflicting information about this, on one hand researching through Google says on average that expat packages are now few & far between because of the GFC & the government encouraging local companies to hire locals, but from the forum & from other local sources (friends) there are still many companies offering expat packages.

I'm in the midst of negotiating with my company at the moment. It's a US based software company -- whilst an MNC we are not huge & so don't have the same budgets as companies like Microsoft, Dell etc.

Having said that, right now the situation is the company flies me to Asia every month & on average, each trip costs $A5k. So the company stands to save quite a bit by relocating me here.

They are willing to pay for moving costs, 3-4 weeks in a Serviced Apartment to settle in, airfares for my family & a few incidentals. I'm also getting a salary increase (negotiating that now). But at the moment, the general message is that they don't want to pay school fees nor rent etc. But if there is good evidence that I can find that many Singapore companies are still paying this, then I have something to support me.

Some other brief information.. the company has a registered office in Singapore (& has had for some time) but no one actually there. My job will be to set it up. I'm employing someone that will start in November & my move is set for February.

My role is to manage all of Asia, starting with SE Asia & then later north Asia, so there is still a bit of travel. Obviously the company will continue to pay for all work related expenses but am now trying to negotiate on other perks.

They also said something like they don't consider me to be technically an "expat" because they say it's a one-way ticket! I.e. my plan was to stay in Singapore for 5+ years & by that time, I'll probably change jobs (nature of my job & the industry I am in) but I do want to return to Australia eventually. IMHO they are still expatriating me to Singapore which means I AM an expat no?

Sorry, too many questions.. keen to hear people's thoughts & general experience especially in recent months. Thanks

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9288
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Re: Average Ex-Pat Packages Now..

Postby x9200 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 9:24 am

col311 wrote:I know there are lots of threads about this already & have read most.. but wanted up to date information as it seems things are a-changing.

So I'm getting conflicting information about this, on one hand researching through Google says on average that expat packages are now few & far between because of the GFC & the government encouraging local companies to hire locals, but from the forum & from other local sources (friends) there are still many companies offering expat packages.

I'm in the midst of negotiating with my company at the moment. It's a US based software company -- whilst an MNC we are not huge & so don't have the same budgets as companies like Microsoft, Dell etc.

Having said that, right now the situation is the company flies me to Asia every month & on average, each trip costs $A5k. So the company stands to save quite a bit by relocating me here.


Doesn't this determine everything? If they are looking for some savings the max you can get above your salary is < $A5k.

Now what you should do is to compare the costs of living based on your actual life-style and family situation and see what is acceptable and whether it makes sense at all.

$A5k is not too much. An average reasonable condo and a single kid in an International School will take probably SGD6k from your pocket.

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Re: Average Ex-Pat Packages Now..

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 10:58 am

col311 wrote:I know there are lots of threads about this already & have read most.. but wanted up to date information as it seems things are a-changing.

So I'm getting conflicting information about this, on one hand researching through Google says on average that expat packages are now few & far between because of the GFC & the government encouraging local companies to hire locals, but from the forum & from other local sources (friends) there are still many companies offering expat packages.

I'm in the midst of negotiating with my company at the moment. It's a US based software company -- whilst an MNC we are not huge & so don't have the same budgets as companies like Microsoft, Dell etc.

Having said that, right now the situation is the company flies me to Asia every month & on average, each trip costs $A5k. So the company stands to save quite a bit by relocating me here.

They are willing to pay for moving costs, 3-4 weeks in a Serviced Apartment to settle in, airfares for my family & a few incidentals. I'm also getting a salary increase (negotiating that now). But at the moment, the general message is that they don't want to pay school fees nor rent etc. But if there is good evidence that I can find that many Singapore companies are still paying this, then I have something to support me.

Some other brief information.. the company has a registered office in Singapore (& has had for some time) but no one actually there. My job will be to set it up. I'm employing someone that will start in November & my move is set for February.

My role is to manage all of Asia, starting with SE Asia & then later north Asia, so there is still a bit of travel. Obviously the company will continue to pay for all work related expenses but am now trying to negotiate on other perks.

They also said something like they don't consider me to be technically an "expat" because they say it's a one-way ticket! I.e. my plan was to stay in Singapore for 5+ years & by that time, I'll probably change jobs (nature of my job & the industry I am in) but I do want to return to Australia eventually. IMHO they are still expatriating me to Singapore which means I AM an expat no?

Sorry, too many questions.. keen to hear people's thoughts & general experience especially in recent months. Thanks


Hi,

First thing, everyone has a different definition of 'expat'. The dictionary (Oxford American English, since not specifying this bit me before :P ) simply says an expat (informal for expatriate) is someone who lives outside their native country. That is the definition I always went by. Now, under common business usage, I see it used as someone who is assigned to a foreign location by his company. I see this as the company is assigning you, not you are seeking it (a subtle but important differentiation). Your company needs to think moving you there is more in their interest than yours. One other important aspect is how much of a life you have in your current country, and what are you leaving behind? Are you paying for property in your current country? If so, your company gets tax benefits (in the US) if they pay your new housing. If you're not leaving anything behind, they don't get said benefits. So my personal opinion is that factors in also.

Anyway, from what we see on the boards here is that most companies are not really giving out 'expat' packages anymore. It's just not common for most outside. You need to convince the company they want you here more than you want to be here, and be prepared for that to back-fire.

Also, your travel costs are rather light honestly. Only A$5k? That's S$6300, which will cover an average condo, and maybe some other small expenses. (Plenty of threads on that). Also don't forget they currently can write-off your travel expenses. They may not be able to write-off much else.
What is your expected salary in Singapore, and do you have a family coming? You might be better off just negotiating a higher salary.

col311
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri, 28 Sep 2012

Postby col311 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 3:35 pm

Thanks for your comments. I think you misunderstand me. $5k is not what they are going to pay me.. I get paid a salary plus comms now plus they pay $5k/month for travel. They are not going to take my salary & comms away, that would be ridiculous! Just as a reference, my package right now is WELL into the P1 salary range.. But I'm trying to negotiate a better package as rightly so, I'm well set up here with a family & a great place that we live & my wife has a senior job also, so we'd be sacrificing a bit to move over.

My company will increase my base to move but all friends over there are saying to try to negotiate the best expat package I can get.. The company is basing its offer on current research into what other companies are currently offering so am trying to find whether there are companies that are still offering expat packages & under what circumstances.

The company stands to benefit greatly from my relocation - not just in travel savings & tax breaks but also as I will be great deal more effective in my role being in region rather than managing it remotely from Oz & only being in region a quarter of the time.

offshoreoildude
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1582
Joined: Wed, 04 Jul 2012

Postby offshoreoildude » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 4:30 pm

col311 wrote:Thanks for your comments. I think you misunderstand me. $5k is not what they are going to pay me.. I get paid a salary plus comms now plus they pay $5k/month for travel. They are not going to take my salary & comms away, that would be ridiculous! Just as a reference, my package right now is WELL into the P1 salary range.. But I'm trying to negotiate a better package as rightly so, I'm well set up here with a family & a great place that we live & my wife has a senior job also, so we'd be sacrificing a bit to move over.

My company will increase my base to move but all friends over there are saying to try to negotiate the best expat package I can get.. The company is basing its offer on current research into what other companies are currently offering so am trying to find whether there are companies that are still offering expat packages & under what circumstances.

The company stands to benefit greatly from my relocation - not just in travel savings & tax breaks but also as I will be great deal more effective in my role being in region rather than managing it remotely from Oz & only being in region a quarter of the time.


My primary advice is to go in hard, because once you've settled the deal it's far too late for regrets and comebacks six months down the track.
Now I'm called PNGMK

User avatar
Addadude
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 693
Joined: Fri, 26 May 2006
Location: Darkest Telok Blangah
Contact:

Postby Addadude » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 5:14 pm

I would concur with the advice above. Go in HARD.

Whether they are couching it in terms of an expat package or not, you will need a lot more money just to make it worth your while coming over here.

Let's just look at the cost of renting your home. Let's say you find a nice place for $5k a month. If you sign a lease for two years that's gonna set you back 2 months rental as security deposit plus a month's rent in advance. Where does that $15k come from? Why should it come from your pocket?

Your kids' education: if you plan on sending them to an International School that's going to cost you a lot as well. A lot more than you'd be paying back home. Again, why should that extra amount come from your pocket?

You mentioned that your better half has a senior job which she will probably have to give up. That's a big blow to your family income - and possibly her career. (Is she going to find it easy to re-start her career after your Singapore stint is over?)

You are no doubt used to ease and convenience of having a car (or two) back home. Now granted, you hardly need a car to get around here (I haven't driven since I came here 18 years ago...), for some that represents a big sacrifice. So will your company pay for a car for you here?

The days of the big expat packages are long over unless you are very, very senior. But companies can and do up salary levels to compensate for some of the things I've mentioned above. So, instead of getting a rental and car allowance, and school fees paid for, they will have to give you a salary that will allow you to comfortably pay for all these things yourself. Otherwise it's hard to see why you should bother.

Do your sums carefully and negotiate hard.
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 5:46 pm

And don't forget (although I can't see how the OP would) that if you're paying down a house in Australia, you still need to keep making those payments. So rightfully so your company should cover the housing expenses fully in at least one of the two locations.

Also, no clue what your wife does, but don't assume she can easily get a job doing whatever it is she does, and if she does, that it will pay even remotely what she makes now.

col311
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri, 28 Sep 2012

Postby col311 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 8:54 pm

Now that is all really good advice.. thank you.

I figure I'll list out every expense that will be incurred by me by my move over & what I will be out of pocket & bring it to my management & see how much I can get.

You are right, have to negotiate now before it's too late.

Thanks again...

col311
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri, 28 Sep 2012

Postby col311 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 8:55 pm

zzm9980 wrote:And don't forget (although I can't see how the OP would) that if you're paying down a house in Australia..


Not sure what you mean by the phrase in the brackets zzm9980. Do you mean it's not possible to pay for a mortgage in another country? I know that it is..

revhappy
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed, 10 Jun 2009

Postby revhappy » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 10:01 pm

col311 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:And don't forget (although I can't see how the OP would) that if you're paying down a house in Australia..


Not sure what you mean by the phrase in the brackets zzm9980. Do you mean it's not possible to pay for a mortgage in another country? I know that it is..


The phrase in the bracket is related to the phrase preceding the brackets, i.e he can't see how you could possibly forget it :wink:
Last edited by revhappy on Sun, 14 Oct 2012 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 10:07 pm

revhappy wrote:
col311 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:And don't forget (although I can't see how the OP would) that if you're paying down a house in Australia..


Not sure what you mean by the phrase in the brackets zzm9980. Do you mean it's not possible to pay for a mortgage in another country? I know that it is..


The phrase in the bracket is related to the phrase preceding the brackets, i.e he can't see how you could possibly forget it :wink:


Yeah, exactly this. And those are paranthesis. Brackets are square [ ]. (Unless they're curly brackets: { })

rapapo1
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon, 09 Jul 2012

Re: Average Ex-Pat Packages Now..

Postby rapapo1 » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 11:01 pm

col311 wrote:Having said that, right now the situation is the company flies me to Asia every month & on average, each trip costs $A5k. So the company stands to save quite a bit by relocating me here.


I believe that you should get AT LEAST $A5k more for relocating.
As far as I understand your current job is mostly about the office in Singapore. That means that you would travel way more often if the trip was cheaper. So if you relocate and get +$A5k then the company won’t rise costs but will increase efficiency. (since you gonna be there full time). Talking about savings is a way of decreasing your expectations by the employer (I guess).

Imagine that you don’t know anything about the travel expenses and you hear from the employer: “Hey, how much more do I need to pay you if I wanted to move you to Singapore?”

User avatar
Mi Amigo
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1779
Joined: Sat, 19 Jun 2004
Location: Kinto Pino

Postby Mi Amigo » Mon, 01 Oct 2012 11:22 pm

I know this is kind of stating the obvious, but here's the process I would suggest you follow:

1. Ascertain how essential it is for the company to put someone (potentially anyone) in Singapore. Given that they have registered an entity here, that would seem to indicate that their intentions are pretty solid.

2. Try to figure out how attractive you are to the company as a candidate for the role, compared to any others who may be in the frame.

3. Do lots of research (you found this forum which is a very good start) and determine what your minimum acceptable package is. This is in terms of money but also other items such as flights home, insurance, etc., etc. Start by writing down everything you can think of and then use he search function in this forum to find more details.

4. As has been said, negotiate in a firm (but of course polite) manner and be prepared to walk away from the deal if the offer does not meet your minimum requirements.

At the end of the day, if the company really wants you to do the job, they will (or should) be prepared to offer you a reasonable package.

Good luck
Be careful what you wish for

Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 02 Oct 2012 7:17 am

From experience in the company I work for there was also a big difference between secondment (for a fixed period) and relocation (in theory at least forever).

An example would be air fares for trips 'back home'. Yes under secondment, no for permanent relocation. Same with paying the housing rental costs.

I focused on three main things. The cost of moving my family and belongings to Singapore, salary and the exchange rate at which the new salary would be calculated.

col311
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri, 28 Sep 2012

Postby col311 » Tue, 02 Oct 2012 10:15 am

Steve1960 wrote:From experience in the company I work for there was also a big difference between secondment (for a fixed period) and relocation (in theory at least forever).

An example would be air fares for trips 'back home'. Yes under secondment, no for permanent relocation. Same with paying the housing rental costs.

I focused on three main things. The cost of moving my family and belongings to Singapore, salary and the exchange rate at which the new salary would be calculated.


Hi Steve, I think you are right.. this is what the company's stance is at the moment.. the relocation is technically a "one way ticket" as they will not bring me back as there is no job for me back here in Australia. Whilst I'm obviously going to try to get as much as I can, I think my fall back point is that they move all my things over, pay for my family's airfare there, & pay for a Serviced Apartment for a few weeks whilst we get the condo ready.. they have at least offered this.. they'll also pay for my transport (taxis) as well as all work related costs - internet, phone etc..I also want to push for advanced pay to cover upfront costs such as deposit on the condo etc. In Oz you can pay these things on Credit Card, I hear you can't in SG.

As I said, if I can get other things I will.. but if worse does come to worse, I've done the calculations & even included some reasonably large buffers for unforeseen expenses, I am still ahead even on my current salary package, because of exchange rates & the huge difference in income tax.

Thanks everyone for the advice.. good advice .. things to think about & also help with my negotiations..


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Careers & Jobs in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests