Expatriates living in Hong Kong are being paid less than their counterparts in Japan, India and South Korea a research report that was published yesterday reveals.
According to Human resource company ECA International’s latest salary survey on expatriate compensation, the average salary package for middle managers who are based in Hong Kong is currently US$231,000 per year, which is significantly less than similar managers based in Japan, India and South Korea, who earn US$374,000, US$298,489 and US$242,213 respectively. However, despite this, the SAR still ranks as the city offering the forth-highest compensation package in Asia.
The latest report from ECA International explains that expat compensation packages consist of net cash salaries and other benefits, including housing allowances, education fees and transportation allowances. Interestingly, although Hong Kong was named as having the forth best compensation packages in Asia, expatriate managers living there are paid the lowest net salary of all expats living in Asia, even when compared to expatriates who live in the developing countries of Laos and Cambodia. Leaving benefits out of the equation, although cash salaries for Hong Kong assignees increased by approximately 2 percent in Hong Kong last year, this represented the lowest rate of increase in Asia.
“A total package usually comprises three elements: cash salary, benefits and tax,” Lee Quane, ECA regional director for Asia, said. “Accommodation and international school costs are driving up the value of the benefits awarded to international assignees in Hong Kong, to the extent that the benefits element is often greater than the assignee’s net take-home pay.”
Despite the fact that the pay offered to expats in Hong Kong is lower than that of Japan, India and South Korea, the city continues to attract expatriates from all over the world. Last year, immigration authorities in Hong Kong issued a record number of work visas. However, while visas are available, many companies have started to issue expats with packages that are more aligned with the salaries of the local population. Discussing this, Quane said: “Expatriates supply is increasing these days due to the abundant population from developed countries where economies are sluggish.” Adding that while the value of remuneration packages in Hong Kong are no longer in the top range in the region, expats continue to be attracted to the city because it offers “long-term career prospects.”
The ECA survey also noted that there was a decrease in the value of compensation packages offered to expatriates who work in Mainland China, which ranked 13 out of the 17 Asian expat destinations surveyed.
“Salaries for these expatriates are rising on the mainland, but companies are providing fewer benefits to their expatriate staff these days,” Quane said.
“As the infrastructure facilities improves on the mainland these days, many companies no longer provide transportation benefits to their expatriate staff. Meanwhile, many of them are also moving staff to second-tier cities like Chengdu and Chongqing, where housing allowance cost is also much lower compared with Beijing and Shanghai.”
More than 250 companies with 10,000 assignees in 143 countries took part in the survey.