ECA International, the world’s leading human resource management consultancy, released the results of its latest annual “My Expatriate Compensation Market Survey,” on Aug. 3. Hong Kong dropped from fifth to eighth in the world in the latest global ranking of expatriate compensation and benefits. At the same time, the UK is back to its position as the most expensive region for expatriates, with an overall compensation package as high as US$440,000 per annum.
According to the report, the overall compensation package for expatriate workers in Hong Kong rose slightly by US$3,800 to US$283,000 last year, one of the smallest increases in Asia. Although Hong Kong’s cash compensation packages rose by 4.5 percent (lower than many others in Asia), this was partly offset by a reduced benefits package mainly due to lower accommodation costs.
Also, despite the relatively high growth rates of cash remuneration and overall compensation packages in the Asia Pacific generally, many countries in the region recorded declines in their rankings, including Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In addition, Malaysia continues to be the country with the lowest overall remuneration and benefits for expatriate employees in the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia and New Zealand rose significantly in their rankings, rising by 8 and 16, respectively. These improvements were mainly due to currency appreciation, benefits increases, and income tax changes over the past 12 months.
The remuneration and benefits package for expatriates in mainland China is still ranked third in Asia. Kwan Lai-lim, regional director for Asia at ECA International, said that although mainland China’s ranking remains unchanged, cash compensation for expatriates in US dollar terms increased by 11 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year. This is mainly due to the relative strength of the Chinese renminbi, and partly due to the continued implementation of the “zero-COVID” epidemic prevention policy in mainland China last year. Companies, therefore, had to pay higher salaries to attract and retain expatriate workers.