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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Survey Shows Expat Numbers Expected to Expand in the CIS

Like an invading army, expatriate workers from the West continue to spread throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States, setting up and staffing offices from Ukraine to Siberia.


And despite the increasing number of well-trained and experienced local hires available, about 60 percent of companies responding to a survey by Price Waterhouse said they expect their foreign staff to continue expanding over the next five years.


The statistics come from a recent report by the accounting house titled "Managing Expatriates in the CIS" -- a survey that, according to one corporate participant, offers a broad view for companies to see how they stack up against competitors in areas such as taxes, hardship pay, housing, medical coverage and family support.


It "gives you an idea where you are in relation to other companies," said Anna Volinkaty, expat administrator for Pepsi International Bottlers. "In terms of benchmarking, it is very useful."


For the report, Price Waterhouse interviewed more than 80 expats and 68 multinational companies throughout Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.


Business acumen, adaptability and motivation, followed by international experience, ranked as the top characteristics that companies considered essential in their expat hires, in addition to technical skills, according to the report.


Of the 62 survey participants throughout the CIS who responded to the question, 40 percent offered incentive premiums and 63 percent hardship allowances.


Concerning hardship pay in Russia, the report gives a median premium of 15 percent above the base salary, while 78 percent of Russia respondents said they adjust salaries due to inflation, exchange rates and cost of living. Thirty-nine percent adjust the package annually, while 17 percent adjust it quarterly.


Also in Russia, about 60 percent of participants provide medical coverage, according to the report.


On taxes, 34 percent of respondents in Russia said they equalize all personal income tax liabilities -- balancing out employees' tax payments with what they would pay at home -- while 53 percent reportedly follow a laissez-faire policy that hands responsibility to the employee.


Viewing responses for companies operating throughout the CIS, 85 percent of respondents employ expatriates to carry out management functions, with skills transfer, management development, and graduate training or development serving as other reasons in descending order.