There are many things that impact the cost of an expatriate assignment from generousness of policy packages, to housing costs, to changes in the cost of living, to the home/host tax impacts. If you have been managing a mobility programme that sends expatriates into several cities across the APAC region, then you have probably seen costs by location changing over the past few years. Employment Conditions Abroad or ECA reports the costs for expatriate packages in the region with their “MyExpatriate Market Pay” survey. Their recent report on the cost for a typical expatriate package for “middle managers” shows Japan as the most expensive location at $367,500 USD and Mainland China second at $282,500 USD on average.
While Japan and China have increased in cost, there are other locations that have become more affordable for expatriate assignments. The cost of expatriate packages in Singapore and Malaysia have fallen 6% and 13%, respectively, over the past five years. The cost for a “middle manager” in Singapore ranks ninth in the region, currently averaging $235,500 USD, and Malaysia is the least expensive location at $168,000 USD.
“In local currency terms, although expatriate salaries continue to rise in Singapore, reaching the highest levels since our survey began, the benefits element has declined significantly. This has meant that the total cost of an expatriate package to companies in Singapore has fallen over the past few years in local and USD terms,” said Quane. Malaysia, meanwhile, offers the region’s lowest total expatriate pay packages – with packages falling by 13 per cent in USD terms since 2012, falling behind Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the process. The average cost of a total expatriate package in Malaysia now lies at just over USD 168 000.