Perks such as international school fees, country club membership and a car allowance were once the norm for investment bankers, fund managers and other high-flying financial services staff.
However, these generous expat packages have been axed due to strong demand from employees to head east, according to headhunting firm Astbury Marsden.
Mark O’Reilly, managing director of Astbury Marsden in Asia Pacific, said: “Demand for jobs in Singapore and Hong Kong has now started to outstrip supply, as Asia tops the wish list as the international location of choice for an increasing number of bankers.
“An absence of political pressure on bankers’ bonuses, an increasingly attractive tax regime and the distance from the eurozone crisis are making a banking career in Asia increasingly attractive.”
Experts also say Asia experience looks good on workers’ CV, should they head back to Europe.
Astbury Marsden says that the standard expat package for Asia has been reduced to one month’s accommodation in a serviced apartment at the start of the employment contract and one free flight home a year for the employee and possibly their family. It also typically includes private medical care for the employee and their family and an allowance to cover shipping and container costs.
The credit crunch of 2008 also had a negative effect, as organisations could no longer afford to pay such expensive perks.
Before 2008 expat packages would frequently include a housing and car allowance, country club fees, private school fees and help with finding a job for a spouse. On top of this would be two or three free flights home a year for the employee and their family.
Most senior staff would have also enjoyed the use of a driver, cook and maid.
Recruitment firms in Asia have reported a huge spike in applications for financial jobs, highlighting how strong demand is. Robert Half has received five to 10 times more CVs from Europe and the US in the past 12 months while EMA Partners International has seen a 30 per cent rise in applications.
One British expat, who works in banking, said: “To be honest I asked to move to Singapore as I wasn’t sure I’d still have a job if I stayed in London. My bank therefore knew it didn’t need to offer me a lucrative package to move.”