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Expatriate pay and benefits packages in India are third highest in the region

India has the third highest expatriate pay packages in the region according to ECA International, the world's leading provider of knowledge, information and technology for the management and assignment of employees around the world. The value of a typical total expatriate package for Middle Managers in India is US$293,000.

When considering the cost of an expatriate package companies need to factor in three main elements: the cash salary, benefits – such as accommodation, international schools, utilities or cars – and tax. To assist companies relocating staff with benchmarking their packages against the market, ECA conducts its annual MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey of pay levels for expatriates around the world, including benefits, allowances, salary calculation methods and tax treatment.

India’s position in the ranking shows how relatively low cost of living does not always translate into low expatriate packages.

- Lee Quane, Regional Director, ECA International - Asia

For example, in order to attract talent to some of the cheaper, less developed locations companies often need to provide greater incentives than they do when moving employees elsewhere. Companies also need to be aware of the tax element of the package. This can considerably increase assignment costs, as in the case of India, where half of the total expatriate package is consumed by tax.

International assignment pay packages can be designed in a variety of ways. The most common approach is to use the employee's salary in their home country as the starting point, then adjust for cost of living and any other allowances, and tax.

“When choosing an expatriate pay approach it is essential for companies to be clear about the reasons behind the assignment so that their choice reinforces this. This will also help them to decide whether they wish to create equity among home or host country peers – something that has become even more complex as companies manage increasingly diverse nationalities in and out of different markets. And of course all this needs to balance against benefits and costs to the business,” said Quane.

The currency in which salary is delivered will have implications too. For example, if paying in one currency rather than splitting it, IHR need to have a policy in place to ensure their employees’ buying power is maintained should currencies fluctuate significantly.

Regional highlights

Japan, is home to Asia's highest expatriate packages. On average, a package for an expatriate middle manager there is worth US$375,000. Japan is followed by Australia.

Mainland China remains 4th highest in the region having overtaken Hong Kong, 5th, last year.

“Not all Chinese cities require such high packages, though. The cost of benefits provision in tier-2 locations is still much lower than in tier-1 cities and if they, alone, were to be taken into account, China would appear towards the bottom of the regional ranking above only Malaysia and Pakistan,” said Quane. 

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About ECA's MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey

ECA's MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey looks at pay levels for expatriates around the world, including information on benefits, allowances, salary calculation methods and tax treatment.

The results, free to participants, enable companies to benchmark their expatriates' actual salaries against the market. More than 320 companies took part in the survey covering 167 countries and over 10 000 international assignees.

Figures used in this release were collected in the second half of 2014 and refer to a Middle Manager position based on 80 ECA Points. ECA Points is a job evaluation system that measures the influence, scope and responsibilities of a job.

There are a number of ways in which salary packages for expatriates may be calculated. The information provided by participant companies in our survey relates to home and host-based salary systems as well as locally-hired and localised expatriates and expatriates on indefinite contracts.

Certain types of allowances are specifically excluded from the analysis in the reports. These are one-off payments such as allowances for outfit, furniture, disturbance and relocation.

Benefits values are based on standard ECA assumptions* and have been derived from data in ECA's accommodation and benefits reports to provide an estimate of the cost of providing these benefits. The actual costs or allowances paid to cover these benefits vary widely according to each company's policy.

Tax figures used here refer to employee taxes and do not take company contributions into account. For ease of comparison, it is assumed that cash allowances are paid to employees to cover the cost of any benefits provided.

*The accommodation figure is representative of the cost of housing two adults and one child. Utilities covers heat, light, water and telephone charges. Education assumes one child attending a local international school. The car figure covers annual running costs and is based on a standard car (2000 cc), depreciated over 5 years.

About ECA International

Recognised since 1971 as a world authority in its field, ECA remains a leader in the provision of knowledge, information and technology to inform, guide and support managers handling compensation and benefits for international workers moving around the world. ECA offers organisations of all sizes an unrivalled portfolio of data, calculation aids, salary management software, reports, guides, surveys and consultancy to help them structure and manage their international rewards programmes for long-term, short-term and permanent moves.

Follow ECA on twitter: @ECAintl

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