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ShouldBeFun
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Another Question...

Postby ShouldBeFun » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 3:31 am

Hi,

I'm still considering an offer to work in Singapore and relocate from the UK. While I'm still concerned about getting an EP from reading some posts here, my employer doesn't seem to be so concerned. We shall see...

Just to give you some background it will be a Director position in IT for an Engineering company that was sold for around 1 billions dollars 5 years ago. The position will have responsibility for all our APAC sites which up until now have been more akin to the wild west as far as computer security goes. They have been trying to recruit the position for over a year without success.

Anyway the salary offer at the moment would put me north of $8K a month which from what I have read here would place me at EP P1. However extras such as housing allowance, car allowance and even petrol allowance would almost double my salary.

Can anyone think of a good reason that it would be structured in this way? There seems to be no tax reason to do this and I'm trying to figure out why it would be offered in this way?

Appreciate any feedback.

Thanks!

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 8:40 am

I last relo'd here as an ex-pat some while ago, but my overall package was not dissimilar to yours. I.e. the 'extras', in aggregate, were on a par with the base salary.

In the UK if your employer rented a flat for you (in their name), then you'd be taxed on it as a 'benefit in kind', i.e. as if the rent was cash income to you. But I don't think it works like that here.

IME, how job-offers often work here, is they build a bottom-up package, and do so using international 'pay-scale-tables'. So they'll estimate a base salary, and then add all the elements (rent, transport, home leave, schooling etc etc) on top of it. I think of it as getting a comparative salary (cost of living adjusted) + a hike to warrant relocation + compensating you for most of the costs you wouldn't face back home.

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Postby hairy legs » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 9:42 am

8k basic salary + 8k allowances

Reasons
1) Your work / position is worth 8k and the 8k allowance is paid to you as you are not employed on local terms.
2) In other words, if they can employ someone locally with similar skills as you, they would have paid this person 8k
3) In the event that you are posted to another location, the company would likely pay you 8k+ $ living allowance of the other country
4) In the unlikely event that you are laid off, the company will compensate you with retrenchment benefits of 8k x number of months etc.

In summary, allowances can be taken away....

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 9:50 am

hairy legs wrote:In summary, allowances can be taken away....


That is a good point. I know that expat colleagues of mine, if they went PR, they lost their rent allowances, and thereafter were segued onto fully local packages.

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Postby Wd40 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 11:07 am

hairy legs wrote:8k basic salary + 8k allowances

Reasons
1) Your work / position is worth 8k and the 8k allowance is paid to you as you are not employed on local terms.
2) In other words, if they can employ someone locally with similar skills as you, they would have paid this person 8k
3) In the event that you are posted to another location, the company would likely pay you 8k+ $ living allowance of the other country
4) In the unlikely event that you are laid off, the company will compensate you with retrenchment benefits of 8k x number of months etc.

In summary, allowances can be taken away....


The 1st point alone is reason enough. Its the transparency and I guess from the employer's perspective, especially since its a large firm, they must have some salary range for each position and need to maintain parity with locals.

Imagine how a local will feel if he is given 8k and you are given 16k.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 11:17 am

Wd40 wrote: Imagine how a local will feel if he is given 8k and you are given 16k.


My feeling tends towards, thats tough. Local still lives with mum and dad back home. Expat has uprooted his whole life to take a chance.

I appreciate that for some nationalities simply landing on these shores is reward enough, but that does not apply to most others.

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Postby Wd40 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 2:59 pm

JR8 wrote:
Wd40 wrote: Imagine how a local will feel if he is given 8k and you are given 16k.


My feeling tends towards, thats tough. Local still lives with mum and dad back home. Expat has uprooted his whole life to take a chance.

I appreciate that for some nationalities simply landing on these shores is reward enough, but that does not apply to most others.


I agree, demand and supply. But still corporates need to make sure that there isn't a huge income disparity within colleagues in the same organization doing the same job, so easy way out is to group these as additional allowances.

Back to the OP's post. Given what OP has mentioned about the breadth and scope of the job, 8k is way too low, don't you think? If you work in a bank, a bottom level techie on perm roles of the bank makes that much. With the allowances, yeah the package on the whole looks good.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 3:45 pm

@WD40 - Really [rye smile]? That's funny as while the juniors were on $15k, the top-table (EMC) were on $20-30million a head, it didn't stop people queuing to join.

I don't know, maybe you compare payslips with immediate colleagues. In my place it was absolute taboo. No one knew what anyone else made. That was part of the dog eat dog culture, negotiating your package was a lone exercise with very very few x-reference points. There was occasional rumour, but that was it, if you didn't like it, door > over > there.

Yes $8k + $8k housing struck me as strangely lop-sided. I'd much prefer to be on say $12k + $4k housing. If a basic of $12k for that position was adequate for engineering, I have no idea...

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Re: Another Question...

Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 4:46 pm

ShouldBeFun wrote:Just to give you some background it will be a Director position in IT for an Engineering company that was sold for around 1 billions dollars 5 years ago. The position will have responsibility for all our APAC sites which up until now have been more akin to the wild west as far as computer security goes. They have been trying to recruit the position for over a year without success.


I agree with WD40. At that salary, it's no wonder why. Is it a true 'Director' role, or is it one of those companies that suffer severe title inflation and half of the employees with 5-7yrs experience are all "Directors"? Are there significant bonuses you're not including? Where I work, a mid-level individual contributor could expect about the same compensation as yours after bonus not including any kind of allowances..

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Re: Another Question...

Postby ShouldBeFun » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 7:41 pm

Hi Guys,

Thank you for your replies.

So essentially it protects the company a little more if they wanted to get rid of me or needed to make some cuts :lol:

When I said north of $8K I was referring to the $8K EP P1 minimum for salary. I didn't give an exact figure as not quite sure of the etiquette for this forum. It's actually a bit more than that however salary vs extras is still around 50/50 which initially seemed a bit odd to me.

Apologies for any confusion on that...

The deal at the moment would be that I have to find my own housing although the office will provide advice. It will just be my responsibility to do so. I would also be paid a relocation lump sum of around SGD $6K.

No bonuses that have been discussed so far. Maybe that is something for me to try to negotiate.

Thanks again, I do appreciate it!

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Re: Another Question...

Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 7:52 pm

ShouldBeFun wrote:Hi Guys,

Thank you for your replies.

So essentially it protects the company a little more if they wanted to get rid of me or needed to make some cuts :lol:

When I said north of $8K I was referring to the $8K EP P1 minimum for salary. I didn't give an exact figure as not quite sure of the etiquette for this forum. It's actually a bit more than that however salary vs extras is still around 50/50 which initially seemed a bit odd to me.

Apologies for any confusion on that...

The deal at the moment would be that I have to find my own housing although the office will provide advice. It will just be my responsibility to do so. I would also be paid a relocation lump sum of around SGD $6K.

No bonuses that have been discussed so far. Maybe that is something for me to try to negotiate.

Thanks again, I do appreciate it!


Wd40 and I were answering questions you didn't ask, namely if the compensation was fair. It's fair you didn't post. I'd recommend against details, or if you do, change your name later so people you know don't find you later :) But now that you know, a true director of an IT deparment on local terms could expect total compensation of at *least* the figures you were told. Probably a fair amount more, and I know those who were getting double that in just salary (with a regional org of about 20 people under them).

6k is not a huge lump sum for relocation. Keep in mind when you rent a place, it is customary to pay a security deposit equivalent to two months rent, and your first month's rent (so essentially 3x rent) upon signing the tenancy agreement. If you engage an agent (not required, use the search function for advice on this), they will tell you their standard fee is half month rent per year of your tenancy agreement. So 1 month rent on a standard 2 year TA. Their fee is entirely negotiable, and you don't even need to engage their service. In fact, if you don't solicit an agent to find a unit for you, the landlord's agent *Cannot* make you pay the fee, nor can they force you to use an agent (which they'll always recommend a friend of theirs).

Good luck.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 8:14 pm

Ah so the lower basic vs benefits is for their advantage. That’s nice of them. Well my first question would be – ‘I have $8k rent allowance, if I rent a place at half that do I get to keep the $4k difference?’. I suggest that as if you come here looking for a place with a budget of $8k, you’ll find buckets of options. Budget of half that? You’ll find buckets of options, just not right off Orchard Road. This goes back to a theme of mine, how new arrivals can tend to stick in the D9/10/11 comfort zone, and it costs serious money! 3 months in, and they realise they’re living on the equivalent of Oxford Street, when maybe Clapham or Notting Hill would have got them twice as much for half the budget, plus some more greenery and breathing space..

Don’t worry about talking numbers here. What you, I, anyone else has and gets, the next guy on the topic thread is getting triple with every benefit known to mankind lol... there was a regular here who lived on Nassim Hill, had a rent allowance (alone) of something zany like S$30k/mo, but hey, we could be that same guy tomorrow :)

Find your own housing, fair enough. A lot of transferees get an initial month in a Serviced Apartment. It’s meant to help ease you into the place, whilst you flat-hunt. To be honest the first month at work is so intense, it’s hard to find time to flat-hunt. You’re pulled two ways.... showing your new office you’re worth it by doing 18hr days, vs needing to learn and understand and find a suitable place. If your office can help you in just one way re: advice it is re: an agent, who will take your brief, use their head, and help find a place that ticks your boxes. But the fact is most agents know you haven’t a clue between Jurong from Punggol, so they’ll show you what suits/serves/pays them best (just as agents back home start out showing uninformed flat-hunters everything on their dead-list, before anything that is more viable). I think there is a case to have some kind of understanding with the employer, ‘until I find a place, first month I leave work at 3pm of Tuesday and Thursday to go flat-hunting’. Ultimately it’s in their interest that you’re happy and settled in.

Relo – S$6k. Ok, travelling light. No grand pianos or pets I hope.

Bonuses. How does it work with you. Fixed off some metric like the companies profit margin, or ... ?

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Postby ShouldBeFun » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 9:22 pm

I hadn't yet considered the deposit required on accommodation so that's good to know when I negotiate further. Thanks!

I do get to keep the difference if I rent a place that is cheaper so my plan is try to find slightly cheaper accommodation but until I've actually come over to take a look (1 free reccy trip!) and get enough advice I suppose I wont know.

Oh and I do have a dog. A boxer which I'm considering relocating but it has to be in her best interests and not mine if that makes sense. I'd love to bring her out there if I do relocate but I really need to do more research and to some extent this would dictate where I'd actually live if I do make the move.

I did a search on this forum about it and there seems to be a bit of a fear of larger dogs. She's really gentle but absolutely nuts!

Thank you for your advice.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 02 Nov 2013 10:15 pm

- Ask the employer to fund the flat depo. It would not be unusual on an expat package.
- What accommodation do you have now? What would you like here? Suggestion: think from that angle rather than ‘I have X, what can I afford’
- So pre your recce.... what is your current place like, back home?
- A boxer, lovely dogs, lucky you. You might be slightly restricted by some locals that consider anything beyond a shitzu a fighting dog... but there you go...
- Yeah large dogs here are not pets, they’re guard dogs, and perhaps 50% of the population regards dogs as ‘untouchable’.

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Postby ShouldBeFun » Sun, 03 Nov 2013 12:17 am

JR8 wrote:- Ask the employer to fund the flat depo. It would not be unusual on an expat package.
- What accommodation do you have now? What would you like here? Suggestion: think from that angle rather than ‘I have X, what can I afford’
- So pre your recce.... what is your current place like, back home?
- A boxer, lovely dogs, lucky you. You might be slightly restricted by some locals that consider anything beyond a shitzu a fighting dog... but there you go...
- Yeah large dogs here are not pets, they’re guard dogs, and perhaps 50% of the population regards dogs as ‘untouchable’.


Sounds reasonable for me to ask for the flat deposit on top.

I have a three bed house now (Which I plan to keep and rent out for now) but in all honesty I'm not overly concerned about the size, just that it is clean and and is in a decent location. What I mean by decent location is that I can commute to the office and is in easy reach of social activities as I'm actually single and would be coming over on my own.

Isn't a shitzu a handbag dog? Nothing wrong with that, well only if you actually put the dog in a handbag :o I think I'll check out the area when I do my recce as I'd need to find somewhere private to walk her as walking her only on her lead everyday would just be unfair. I did read on this forum about "untouchable" part for locals which is worrying as I don't want to offend the locals as I'm really just a guest in their country!

Just checked the address of the office and it seems to be in Singapore 11xxxx {sanitized by moderator - tks JR8}. What would you call this area?


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