Three Southeast Asian countries saw the average pay to an expatriate declined significantly last year, with the virus outbreak taking its toll on businesses and global economies.
The latest results of the MyExpatriate Market Pay survey conducted by ECA International, and was published by Thailand Business News on Thursday, showed that the average pay packages in Thailand and Malaysia dived by between $2,000 to $3,000 as a result of lower costs of accommodation and benefits.
According to the survey, Thailand slipped eight places, and out of the world’s top 20 most expensive locations for expatriates, with the average pay package for a mid-level expatriate falling by 7 percent this year.
“We saw a big drop in the value of expatriate packages in Thailand in 2020, with salaries dropping by $3,462 on average and benefit costs falling by over $8,500, making it significantly cheaper for a company to employ a mid-level expatriate employee in the current market,” said ECA International Regional Director for Asia Lee Quane.
Singapore ranked 17thwith the average pay package at $225,171 annually.
“Nevertheless, cash salaries paid out to expatriates in Singapore remain the 5th highest worldwide,” Quane underscored.
This meant that expatriates in Singapore are more likely to be paid more compared to their peers in other locations.
Malaysia also registered a similar trend, with the average overseas-sent worker declining by $2,813 in 2020 compared with the year before.
“The average mid-level expatriate in Malaysia saw a salary of $71,025 in 2020, which is slightly less than the previous year. The cost of benefits fell by a much more significant $1,952 on average, as rents dropped amid a lack of demand for expatriate accommodation, which had been brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on international travel,” he said.
Elsewhere, Japan overtook the United Kingdom as the most expensive location to send workers to, with the average pay package amounting to $405,685 per year.
Meanwhile, an average expatriate assigned in Hong Kong dropped by more than $5,000 in 2020 to a new average of $279,399 despite a slight average salary increase of $265.
“While salaries for expatriates in Hong Kong rose by less than 1 percent, employers were able to benefit from lower accommodation costs, and reduce the amount of financial support provided for housing compared to the previous year,” he explained.
Bucking the trend was Taiwan, having climbed to the world’s top 10 most expensive locations to employ an expatriate, thanks to its success in mitigating the transmission of COVID-19 that buoyed all aspects of expatriate packages such as benefits, higher rents, and cash salaries.