Where do expats earn the highest salaries?

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Salary levels and additional financial benefits are a major factor for expats when deciding where to locate themselves and their families overseas. But which country offers expats the highest earning potential?

By Allianz Worldwide Care | January 10, 2017

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According to the HSBC Expat Explorer survey, expats in the Middle East earn higher salaries and receive more generous employment packages than anywhere else on the globe.

Three key contractual benefits are offered to more expat employees in the Middle East than other expat destinations. Health and medical allowances (70%), annual trips home and airfare allowances (67%), and accommodation allowances (60%) are all more likely to be offered as part of expat contracts in the region.

In Oman, 80% of expats are given flight allowances for trips home, compared to 33% of expats globally who receive this benefit. In Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, 75% and 55% of expats respectively say they are given an accommodation allowance, compared with the global average of 33%.

While salaries are high in countries such as Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as they have no personal income tax they are amongst the least expensive countries for employers sending employees on international assignment.

According to findings from the ECA International ‘My Expatriate Market Pay Report’, the United Kingdom has the highest expat package costs when compared with other global financial hub nations.

The report found that the average cost of an expat pay package for middle managers in the UK equates to more than $390 000 a year.

Depending on how a package is put together, the cost of providing benefits can be considerable, even dwarfing the cash salary element.

When comparing expat salaries it is also important to consider the cost of living in an expats host country. An expat may receive a high salary while working in the UAE, however the cost of living may be equal to or higher than that of their home country.

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