Expatriate numbers are falling in the markets where they cost companies the most, and this could threaten Hong Kong's future competitiveness. That was the conclusion of Lee Quane, Regional Director, Asia for ECA International, the world's leader in the development and provision of solutions for the management and assignment of employees around the world.
Unveiling the findings of ECA's annual Expatriate Market Pay survey, Mr. Quane revealed that, while the net pay of Hong Kong expatriates ranked tenth in the region, the gross cost of employing an expatriate here was Asia's third highest on average. This produces a paradox whereby companies may not want to relocate staff to Hong Kong due to cost and staff may not wish to relocate here because they find they can command higher salaries elsewhere. Only expatriates in Japan and India cost employers more, while expatriate staff can earn higher net salaries in nine other countries in the Asian region.
"Hong Kong’s competitiveness and ability to attract the right talent may therefore be under threat if the costs of employing expatriate staff in the city outweigh the benefits of basing staff here," said Quane.
"Even at a time when the Hong Kong dollar is relatively weak, companies are still paying more, on average, to post an expatriate here than other Asian locations when things like accommodation and school fees are factored in. This is something Hong Kong cannot afford to ignore."
The survey, published last week, examined data on over 10,000 expatriates at over 230 companies worldwide, 100 of which were based in Asia.
Read the ECA International News Release
View Lee Quane's briefing:
How cost impacts Hong Kong's competitiveness
About ECA International
ECA is the world's leader in the development and provision of solutions for the management and assignment of employees around the world. Delivering data, expertise, systems and support in formats which suit its clients, ECA's offer includes a complete 'out-source' package of calculations, advice and services for companies with little international assignment management experience or resource; subscriptions to comprehensive online information and software systems for companies with larger requirements; and custom policy and system development projects for companies who manage thousands of international assignees around the world.
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