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Old Oct 9th 2016, 10:51 am   #1
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Default UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

Hi there
Firstly let me say that I can imagine most users are tired of seeing this & similar questions on here but although I used the ‘search’ button & have done other research I have not been able to come to a conclusive answer to my question. I hope someone can offer their views, and ideally – personal experience of relocating from UK to SG.

My question is around salary expectations. I am fortunate to earn a decent salary in the UK but have read conflicting information on the type of salary I can command in SG. Can I expect to do a straight currency conversion? – or will it be that the company will offer me a salary on the local market equivalent as I won’t be coming over on an expat contract?

I was told (albeit anecdotally) to expect 10-20% salary cut. I work in technology sector – am I going to have to take a cut for this move?

Appreciate any advice people can offer.
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Old Oct 9th 2016, 12:12 pm   #2
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

Local Terms as opposed to expat terms generally means no housing/accommodation allowance, no medical and no flights.

Of course the taxation is lower here than UK but the big ticket item - accommodation - is very expensive and will set you back S$3k pm min if you are single and accept not living in the best or S$5k pm min if you are a family. It can cost a lot lot more than this.

Did you vote for Brexit? If you did you've also done yourself out of a large portion of your salary as the conversion rate is now 1.7 ish as opposed to S$2.0 before the Brexit vote.

If you want to buy a car here, if the company does not supply it, then and I've just signed the forms today for a new car, you will set yourself back GBP 63,180 for a 1.6 litre model and that's not one of the more expensive 1.6 l brands.

Last year some surveys voted Singapore the most expensive city in the world.

Don't take anything anecdotally even my post but get your company and I hope you are transferring with your company to set out ALL the details on paper.
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Old Oct 9th 2016, 1:19 pm   #3
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

Hi Ex Reg. Thanks for the information. You are correct on the above, and I am aware of the nuances with accommodation, cars, and of course the Brexit situation ().

This is why I am asking about the salary aspect as most people online with similar questions do not seem to be in the same income bracket, or appear to be moving over on expat packages which include travel (flights), housing etc so not the same.

Have you, or you known anyone move across on a local contract & had to accept less money?
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Old Oct 9th 2016, 1:58 pm   #4
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

I don't know anyone directly but many teachers I believe are on the local terms package and accept it.
How it's calculated I don't know.

But there are many threads on here although a few months plus old which may give you a better idea.

When I first came here on an expat package I was paid 3 times my UK salary plus plus plus.
But that was a long time ago.

I think I've seen replies to questions about salary in the technology sector by someone who works here in that sector so if you're lucky they might read your thread and you might get better info from them.

If your position here will improve your CV and experience to such an extent that you are willing to forgo an improvement in salary you might find it worthwhile.
For me if a company wanted me to move here but wanted me to accept a reduction in salary then I wouldn't be taking it.

Last edited by ex reg; Oct 9th 2016 at 3:09 pm.
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Old Oct 12th 2016, 10:52 am   #5
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

You don't need an expat package, you just need the right amount of cash. I don't know where you are coming from, but rents are not disimilar to London and that's the biggest expense. For everything else (cars excluded) I reckon things roughly cancel out. Public transport is cheap, beer is expensive. Electricity seems to work out about the same. Cable/TV/Internet aren't wildly different. Asian food can be a lot cheaper. Western mid-range restuarants (burgers/pizza etc) is similar if a little cheaper. High end restaurants are expensive everywhere. I do get medical cover. MNCs will give this to local staff, so you should ask for it

The other big thing of course is schooling. I don't have kids, but have enough friends who constantly bemoan ever increasing international school fees. They are not as high as UK private schools (I believe), but here you won't realistically have the option to send your kids to local (v. subsidised) schools, this could be a killer

I moved (back again) in March on marginally less than my UK salary, I now earn 13% more in GBP terms . Though as my expenses are all in SGD, it's only relevant if I send any money back to UK)

Housing is costing me more (but UK rental income compensates overall), but my total tax bill will be around 12% as opposed to 40, so monthy cash take home is up considerably higher
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Old Oct 13th 2016, 12:26 pm   #6
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

Hi tomboy,

I am in a similar situation as you and actually just about to move over at the end of the month. My husband works in the digital sector and he is not receiving an expat package, apparently many companies have done away with these. He will be on a local contract that includes healthcare but I as far as we can make out, it is still generous. It is a slight uplift on his UK salary but with tax, he will take much more home.

So far in our research, accommodation does not seem to be as expensive as many on these forums make out to be. I'm not there yet so don't know but am kind of the impression that many people live in the equivalent of London's Mayfair, Kensington & Chelsea and then complain how expensive it is!

I get the impression if you have a good enough job that has presented you with the opportunity to experience Singapore, you will be fine out there. Perhaps I am wrong and it would be helpful to be corrected if so. A like for like comparison of suburbs would be helpful, ie. I imagine sentosa to be priced like Surrey/Berks villages etc?
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Old May 18th 2017, 9:47 pm   #7
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

Hi GreenwichCat & Tomboy 135. I'm a new poster and later this year may be in the same situation with a potential move to Singapore.

I'd be coming across on a local deal with my wife, son (3) and daughter (1).

Can you let me know about your experiences in getting over there and settled in accommodation etc?

How are you finding living costs like groceries, eating out, cinema and transport etc?
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Old May 22nd 2017, 6:45 am   #8
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

I've been in Singapore 6 months and these are my thoughts/experiences:

We are not on an expat package (they've all but gone) but frankly think we are better off without one, on a local perm deal. They are great if you have schoolchildren but I don't necessarily think you would get any Kindie allowance for a 3yr old (we don't have kids). A car is not essential nor necessary. Public transport is excellent and cheap and so are taxis. Expat packages were driving rents up and I reckon if we'd been here at the boom on a package, we wouldn't have afforded as nice an apartment or would have had to supplement it anyway. We are paying just over 4k/month on our apartment (2bed in one of the higher end luxury condos) and the agent said it was around 6k/month now 2.5yrs ago. So rents are not unlike London and are the biggest expense, though there is a range depending on location and most/all come with swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, tennis courts, leisure room and gym etc.

Accommodation is easy to find via mypropertyguru.com and you certainly don't need to commission an agent to do the work for you. Best start with your work address and then work out the best MRT lines/stops. Though if you like an area, don't be put off. Taxis are cheap enough to commute to work and it may save you on rent still. There are no 'bad' areas in Singapore, all depends what you like. I live in Keppel because I liked the Marina, boardwalk and two local parks for my dog, also close to Chinatown/hipster going out areas and downtown. I really liked East Coast (park and beach), Botanic Gardens and was very tempted by Thomson which is further out but lush and next to McRitchie Reservoir (great for running and activities apparently). Even Chiangi Village, close to the airport is very nice. Thomson is quite affordable and you will get more bang for your buck as you go further out (ie. Americans like big flats/houses in Woodlands close to the Malaysia border). Don't be put off with naysayers online who think Singapore is Orchard and Tanglin (Mayfair prices and quite dull imho).
It's worth browsing before to get an idea of prices but only when you are physically looking do the districts make sense.

Groceries are the same if not cheaper depending how much you need to have your favourites 'from back home.' Cold Storage (expat favourite) is priced somewhere between Waitrose and Harrods with similar goods though it's sister store Giant is great for everyday essentials. The 'wet markets' are great for fresh meat & fish, fruit & veg etc.

Eating out is roughly the same/cheaper for mid-range. The food centres are excellent value as you can have a plate of good food (Singaporean Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Korean, Western etc) for as little as $3-5. It's kind of cheaper to eat out than in and reasonably healthy. Everyone goes to the food centre, even if they can afford the island's many Michelin * restaurants.Cinema is very cheap depending on tickets as it's priced similar theatre style. We paid £12 each yesterday afternoon. Banks offer customer discounts on different shops, cinemas, restaurants etc as well.

I think cable and broadband are similar. Air Con can be expensive if you run it all day but the statement will give you an indication of your usage. I would recommend renting a flat with a cieling fan or buying a fan as they do reduce aircon bills (and aircon can get too cold).

The car is the most expensive item. For a start, you need £25k to bid to own one. Unless you need to lease one because of work location, this is superfluous. Taxi uncles are very helpful with women and small kids I understand and Singapore is very safe. I think the expensive price tag is all about the car and the rent (what global city isn't?) and some frankly quite insane luxuries.

Hope that helps, yell if you have more Qs.
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Old May 22nd 2017, 1:07 pm   #9
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

Thanks so much for the detailed reply. Much appreciated.

My wife and I are actually hoping to get across for 4 days or so in June to look at some accommodation and get a better feel for areas we'd like to live.

Some of the practical advice about Cinema & Groceries etc. is really helpful. I've also run the numbers including prices for TV & Broadband packages I've found online.

We're both getting quite excited at the prospect now, so hoping everything works out.

Thanks again
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 3:12 pm   #10
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Default Re: UK to SG relocation experiences (salary) please

Hope your move is proceeding well. What do your numbers look like?
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