What should be included for an expat hired from overseas?

According to the Wall Street Journal “the overseas posting is not the cushy gig it once was.” With the recession and a surplus of skilled workers, expat packages are being scaled down. So while top management often enjoys padded relocation packages, it is becoming increasingly uncommon for lower levels. Perks of expatriation that once guaranteed a luxurious lifestyle have been scrutinised and cut back – some important features that should not be compromised in your expat contract.

So when it’s your turn to negotiate a contract you need to be smart and informed about what to include. The key is to choose which battles to fight, and ensure you win them while conceding those contract features less important to you.

The best time to negotiate is once you have a concrete offer, but before you have signed the contract. Once you put pen to paper you can forget about improving subsequent conditions – and if you get too pushy too early you can jeopardise getting the job offer in the first place.

Salary/base – Foreign Service Premiums

Initially the contract negotiation is always to determine salary. This part is complex enough to warrant a field of specialist advisers. For example, if you’re moving from the US to Beijing, Corporate Resources Group, a subsidiary of William M. Mercer, can advise that your base salary should be increased 17 percent because Beijing lacks parks, freedom of speech and qualified doctors. In reality there is less science and a lot more negotiation. The most important part is to have plenty of information and data so you know what to ask for and can back up the requests. So login to expat chat rooms and bulletin boards, ask around, and get as much concrete information on costs as possible. Then you’ll know what the offered salary is really worth once translated into the living expenses of the new destination.