Survey reveals cost of expat packages to employers

Published:  3 Aug at 6 PM
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A recent survey taking in the 40 top financial hubs across the world has revealed the UK is the most expensive relocation destination for employers.

The survey, carried out by ECA International, shows the UK as top of the most expensive cities list for the second year running. For example, the cost of a salary and relocation package at middle manager level comes out at $390,000 annually. Japan is the runner up at $328,000, a drop from last year’s totals due to the weakening yen. Factors taken into account included salaries, taxes, accommodation, international schools if necessary and the cost of utilities.

The weakening pound has eased the pain somewhat for employers, as it’s resulted in a nine per cent drop in total employer costings over the past year. Middle management salaries paid in pounds sterling have also shrunk by an average of around £1,500 since mid-2015. According to ECA manager Mark Harrison, the cost of benefits can easily be higher than the salary paid, especially for relocations to the UK, the USA and Hong Kong.

Third in the top ten most expensive relocation destinations is China, with full packages now coming out at $290,000, a rise of some five per cent and the largest increase in the Asia Pacific region. At the same time, wages for expat middle managers in China’s massive commercial hubs have dropped since the beginning of the year by four per cent.
Due to the devaluation of the Australian dollar, relocation costs to companies have fallen, even although salaries and benefits costs have risen.

According to ECA, relocation to developing countries isn’t always the cheapest option for companies, as although costs of living are much cheaper, greater incentives are needed to persuade talented professionals to take positions in the developing world. Other countries which made it into the survey’s top ten include Hong Kong at number four, followed by Turkey and Argentina. France came out in eighth position, with the USA ninth and Switzerland 10th.
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