[Ed. note: This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting -- sponsor of the Asia Chronicles, and an ATL advertiser. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past two years. You can reach them by email: asia at kinneyrecruiting dot com.]
This is Evan from Hong Kong, writing on the fly for about 20 minutes, at 2am, after a long day of meetings, late client dinner and before an early flight to Jakarta. We have recently been asked, by both firms and candidates, whether the downturn is changing the landscape of cola / housing / expat allowances (“expat allowance”) in Asia and the Middle East. I have been hit with this question several times this week in meetings and Robert heard it as well two weeks ago in his meetings as well. So this post will deal with the basic expat allowance rates for associates without children. A follow-up post on Wednesday will deal with school tuition subsidies / reimbursement, expat allowance increases for children, and tax related windfalls (in some markets), as well as some commentary as to whether the current high expat allowances are sustainable for the long-term in Hong Kong and Tokyo, as firms expand in Asia and considering the reality that profit margins can be lower in Asia per billable hour than in US markets.
Please feel free to follow up in comments with any detailed questions on this subject, as we can only go so far in 1000 words here. Many top US and British firms in Asia and the Middle East have routinely asked us to advise them on various details of their expat allowance policy and we have also helped a number of firms draft come up with set expat allowance packages for the first time (rather than continue on case-by-case basis for each new hire). We have the expat allowance numbers for all firms in Asia (but are not going to give out such specific firm information in a public forum).
Hong Kong: The US associate expat allowance for Hong Kong have remained steady, with most top US firms paying in $60,000 to $80,000 range, for associates without children (only three firms are at $80,000 and most are in the 60s). A firm not paying at minimum a $60,000 allowance is simply not paying a competitive rate in the market. However, there are a handful relatively big name US firms that do not provide any expat allowance, or provide very low allowances, in Hong Kong. Such firms are still able to compete for solid candidates in today’s market because the market is flooded with solid candidates, although we find that most of the firms that pay little or no expat allowance are small and not hiring at this time. The majority of the magic circle firms, as well as a handful of other top British firms, pay expat allowances for their US associates in the competitive $60,000 to $80,000 range, with a couple of notable exceptions.
Other cities after the jump.
A British couple convicted of having sex on a Dubai beach had their prison sentences suspended by an appeals court on Tuesday in a case that exposed a cultural divide in this glitzy Gulf boomtown.
Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors were convicted and sentenced to three months in prison in October for having sex outside of marriage, public indecency and drunkenness.
The Dubai Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict but dropped their prison sentences though it ruled the couple must still be deported from the United Arab Emirates and pay a fine of about $272 each.
The two Britons, who are both in their 30s, met at an all-you-can-drink champagne brunch before they were arrested in July. Both previously admitted they were drunk but denied having sex.
The case revealed a fault line between Dubai’s expatriate majority and the city’s conservative Arab, Muslim minority.
Public displays of affection are illegal in Dubai a city that has worked hard to cultivate an image as a party hot spot for Western tourists and businesses in the Middle East but has a conservative legal code based on Islamic laws and tribal rules.
“Anything more than a peck on the cheek could offend those around you and even possibly lead to police involvement,” the advisory said.