Moving to Singapore for your new position? Relocation can be expensive, but you might not have to bear all the costs yourself. Moving to a new city for a new job can be unnerving but remember that relocating can be one of the best decisions of your life, unearthing new career opportunities and experiences. Singapore has a vibrant tech ecosystem and is the digital capital of Asia, making it the ideal destination for people in the tech sphere.
Now that you’ve scored the new job, let’s start thinking about relocation. It’s no surprise that a lot of variables go into negotiating a corporate relocation. This article provides some tips to help you figure out what you want and how to ask for it.
Types of Relocation Packages
Before we begin, it’s important to understand the different types of relocation packages that companies usually offer. Whether you’ve already been offered a package and are negotiating, or have been asked to suggest what you require, this is a good place to start.
Lump sum: A lump sum is when the company gives you an upfront payment, allowing you to arrange and pay your relocation as you please. The disadvantage of receiving a lump sum is that when you’ve spent the money, there’s no more! A lump sum is usually paid once, and only once, so don’t expect a monthly payment for this type of package. The payment amount is to be negotiated before you start the relocation process, so make sure you research approximate moving costs.
Reimbursement: Some companies choose to provide a capped reimbursement amount, whereby you will have to pay for all your expenses upfront and later submit receipts to the company to be paid back for. This package means that once you exceed that cap, any extra costs come out of your pocket. Also important to note, is that relocation costs can add up, so if you don’t have cash or credit available to you, this may not be a great option.
Third party: In this type of package, companies outsource the relocation logistics to a third party who manages your moving process. This package means you don’t have the hassle of keeping watch of how much of your budget remains, since the relocation company will guide and keep an eye on that for you, which is handy. The outsourced company may also offer tips & guidance for your new life in your new city. Bonus! Relogo is an example of a relocation provider. Relogo is a trusted Singaporean provider, who connects you with trusted vendors both before and after you move, helping you make informed decisions the entire way.
Direct management: If you work for a larger company, you will find that they relocate employees regularly. So, they may directly organise and pay for your relocation expenses.
No relocation support: If the job role is highly sought after and easy to fill, some companies may not provide any support. Relocation costs can add up easily, and some companies may not want to set a precedent of providing such benefits. Planning and administering relocation support is also administratively taxing. But not to worry, you’re not without help. If you’re looking for assistance in relocating to Singapore, Relogo are relocation specialists who empower individuals to make self-managed moves.
After landing the job, one of your first steps should be to contact the hiring manager and ask about what relocation assistance they offer. Relocation packages do vary, however these are some things that are generally included:
Travel expenses prior to the final move: If you are required to make trips to the new office before your move, companies usually pay for them. In addition, when it comes to the final move, it is common for companies to pay for a one way ticket to your new host city of Singapore.
Moving/shipment costs: Depending on your seniority and what stage in life you are at, you may be looking to move your entire apartment or just your suitcases and a few boxes. If you are moving household items & furniture with you, your relocation process will include disassembling furniture, packing, shipping, unpacking, and reassembling furniture. Negotiate for your package to cover these costs. If you are just moving your suitcases and couple of boxes, paying for extra baggage or sending the boxes via courier services like DHL or FEDex will be the easiest way. Check if you can use your new company’s preferential shipping rates and charge it to the corporate account. As a ballpark, Singaporean companies usually provide around 2,000 SGD for a courier-type move, and upwards of 4,000 SGD for a container-type move.
Temporary housing allowance: This allowance is important because you may not know which area of your new city you want to live in, or even if you do, the accommodation you would like may not be available straight away. This allowance usually comes as a lump sum, which covers rent for a few weeks or months in your new location, giving you time to house hunt. Virtual tours to view accommodation might be available beforehand, however it may also be beneficial to view the property in person if you are permanently relocating or relocating for a long period of time. For a single moving to Singapore, companies typically provide around 5,000 SGD for a relocation allowance (which covers short-term accommodation), 7,500 SGD for a married couple, and 10,000 SGD for a married couple with kids.
Assistance in finding schools for the kids: If you’re moving with your family and your kids are school-age, you’ll have to ensure they are at a good school. Some company packages include help finding suitable new schools, whether this is through their advice or a local agent.
How to Negotiate For a Better Package
Focus on your interests: The fundamental nature of negotiating is to push for your need to be satisfied. Relocating should be a positive change in your life, and you should be undergoing the experience to benefit you or your family in some way. So before you choose what you ask for in your package, make sure you know what you want. Think about your life as a whole, and what is important to you. Don’t limit yourself to only financial conditions.
Find out what relocation assistance is typical: In the above section, we identified some costs that are typically included, and some costs that aren’t. But it is not enough to just read that and think you’re prepared. Your preparation for this negotiation should include the following:
Ask your new HR team if the company has a written relocation policy.
Ask around your network (your friends or other contacts in similar firms) about their experiences or their companies' policies to have an idea of what is standard in other companies.
Do your own research. Find out how much moving-related tasks usually cost, and ask to have these expenses included in your deal. If you can back up your requests with legitimate and well-researched examples, you’re more likely to succeed in having them included in your package.
Look at taxes and the cost of living in your new location: Sometimes it’s easy to forget about boring details of moving to an exciting new place like taxes. Are the taxes higher than those in your previous location? Does your new salary reflect those differences? How about the cost of living? If you think the move is going to mean higher taxes and an increased cost of living, you can try asking for the disturbance allowance we mentioned earlier. Another option is to check the average salary of someone in your position online, and compare that to what you are being offered. Read our article on the cost of living in Singapore (2020).
Get it in writing: Once you and your new employers agree on a compensation package for your relocation expenses, the next (and arguably most important step) is to make sure you have that agreement in writing. While a formal contract may not be necessary, a simple signed letter detailing the agreement should suffice.
Relocating can be one of the most exciting times of your life, giving you the chance to uncover new career opportunities and live new experiences. A negotiation about relocation compensation is like any other negotiation- by completing comprehensive research, practicing collaborative negotiating, and being open to out-of-the-box thinking, there is a high chance the negotiation will go well.
Tips for Tech Employees Moving to Singapore
There are plenty of other elements associated with moving to Singapore that are not covered in your typical relocation package. One critical element of moving to a new city is neighbourhood search. Choosing the right neighbourhood for you isn’t always straightforward. For tech professionals moving to Singapore, it is important to look for accommodation close to the tech hubs.
One North and the CBD are common areas for tech companies to have their offices. One North is a vibrant center for innovation, and is home to an array of start-ups from industries including biomedical sciences, infocommunications technology and new media. The One North area provides leading-edge business spaces that come with the diverse options of work-live and retail vendors. The community hosts tech players such as gaming platform Garena, as well as internet platform Sea who operates e-commerce platform Shopee. If you’re working in the One North area, some surrounding neighbourhoods include Buona Vista, Clementi, Holland Village, Bukit Timah, and Dover. Read more about living in the West.
Of course, a majority of tech firms lease space in the CBD. Approximately 80% of net office take-up by tech companies was in the CBD area. Companies operating in the financial technology (fintech), transport,and online payment industries are most active in the CBD area. Companies currently located in this area include online taxi hailing service provider GrabTaxi and digital marketplace provider Carousell. If you’re working in the CBD, convenient neighbourhoods include Robertson Quay, River Valley, Tanjong Pajar, and Marina Bay. Read more about living near the CBD here.
Further Relocation Assistance
Regardless of what level of relocation assistance you have been provided, you may be looking for further assistance. Relocation provider Relogo can help you along your journey, to ensure you have a smooth relocation experience. The Relogo team can support you on your entire journey or simply connect you with trusted vendors both before and after you move, helping you make informed decisions the entire way. What’s better, is that Relogo’s services are free for customers. Whether you’re searching for movers to get you to your new city, or for cleaning services as you slowly settle in, utilising the support of a relocation service provider will save you time and money by sourcing for vendors to fit your specific situation. Let an outsourced provider like Relogo do the research, sourcing, and stressing so you can focus on what’s important to you! Feel free to contact Relogo with any enquiries.