Expats on local terms


Zaobao.com reported that the perception that expats make much more income than locals may not be entirely correct.

A recent survey on 79 companies in Singapore (some are MNCs) showed that only 14% of the companies differentiate between expats and locals in terms of remuneration.

The same survey found that foreign employees with specialised knowledge in areas such as information technology and financial services are typically paid 10% to 20% more than locals.

The 80,000 employees from 21 nationalities who responded to the survey generally make $2,500 to $5,000 per month.

My question: why are there still so many expatriates who can afford the high rentals in expensive districts, so much so that there’s a recent mini “boom” in the rental market?


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  1. i know a few japanese expats. They have a “local” salary excluding housing,transportation allowance which the company will cover for them and while still recieving main salary in their homeland(nippon). Yes their basic salaries here are about the same or slightly better in Singapore

  2. Expat packages are complex. In my ex-company, Expats (senior executives) receive on average SGD$20K or about USD$14K. Considered ‘normal’ since they need to be remunerated at similar pay scale in their home country.

    However, the ‘extras’ often include the following :
    – Company sponsored rental (on avg. SGD$4k – SGD$8k)
    – International School Tuition (not sure how much)
    – Transportation expense (i.e. car)
    – Additional bonuses (on top of a similarly ranked local employee) This is often irregardless of the annual KPI scores

    Just my 2 cents worth.

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