Should I expect a housing allowance?

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  1. #1

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    Jul 2008
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    Should I expect a housing allowance?

    Hey guys,

    I am currently in negotiations with my company having been offered a BA role in HK. I don't have a huge amount of experience - 2 1/2 years in middle office derivatives - but I am expecting a salary somewhere between 50 & 60K per month. My question is, is it fair to expect any sort of housing allowance on top of this, and if so how much should I be asking for?

    Initially I thought I would be quite happy with a salary of 50k (it's roughly equivalent to what I earn in London), but having started to look at accomodation prices, I'm starting to realise that a large chunk of that might end up paying for my rent.

    I will be living with my girlfriend, and while we will not be looking for somewhere huge or particularly luxurious, we would like to be comfortable. Currently I live in a shared house in London, which is modern and very spacious, and I pay 600 per month all in. It seems for a similar price in HK, I'm likely to get little more than a cupboard!

    What do people think, have I got grounds to ask for a housing allowance? Any suggestions on how much?

    Thanks!!


  2. #2

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    Yes - even our secretary got one when we moved out here.


  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07
    Yes - even our secretary got one when we moved out here.
    I second that opinion

  4. #4

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    Either a housing allowance or somebody's cupboard. Your choice.
    I'd want a housing allowance equal to your salary, but I have a wife and two kids. These are usually refelctive of your position and the size of your family.

    You do realize your girlfriend can't just come here and stay?


  5. #5
    Mat
    Mat is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07
    Yes - even our secretary got one when we moved out here.
    Can I be your secretary?

  6. #6

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    Ha ha she may have got a housing allowance but the actual salary was pretty dire


  7. #7

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    I'd be surprised if anyone working as a secretary to an expat was earning less than twice average earnings, so I guess it rather depends on your definition of "dire".


  8. #8

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    Dire = having to live at a lower standard of living than before the move while doing a harder job.


  9. #9

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    Sleuth Either a housing allowance or somebody's cupboard. Your choice.
    I'd want a housing allowance equal to your salary, but I have a wife and two kids. These are usually refelctive of your position and the size of your family.

    You do realize your girlfriend can't just come here and stay?

    Sleuth, can I ask at what level of seniority you would expect to receive a housing allowance of that scale? I know that many allowances even far exceed this figure, but I was of the impression these were in senior management roles.

    I work in the middle office and I have less than 3 years experience, so it seems highly unlikely that my company would offer me anything even close to this figure (or even the equivalent for someone with no family). I don't want to sell myself short, but I think my expectations need to be realistic based on my personal circumstances.

    What do other people think? Any ball-park figures of what I should be asking for?

    My girlfriend is actually a HK resident already, we no issues there...


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Whilst I am a newcomer to Hong Kong my view on your question would be be to understand what your motivation for being in Hong Kong really is. You already state that your girlfriend is an HK resident and any HR depratment with a few smarts will work out what the pressure points are. I think you also need to understand what your tax sitaution will be as the same gross salary in HK as London will mean 30-50% uplift in net salary in HKproviding you are not tax equalised. I think that increasingly housing allowances are being used not as part of the package but more to ensure that that the right people (i.e. the people the companies really feel are critical) end up in HK. If that is you then great if not and there are other motivations then the reality is that you should manage your expectations away from an allowance. Overall you need to consider how much you want the job and are going to make a difference and how much you want to be in HK vs how much your company needs you to be in HK. For what its worth I reckon the minimum levels of rent (not allowance) for people coming from London are as follows:

    single or couple 30k
    couple with one child 40k
    couple with 2 children 60k
    couple with 3 children 70k

    excluding management fees etc These are not minimum levels of rent that could accomodate the volume of people just a ball park figure around what you are likely to have to pay if you want to live in a expat area on a 2 year basis effectively swapping your London lifestyle. You can pay much less if you are prepared to spend an hour commuting, flat sharing etc or much more if you fancy manhattan loft style living


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