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  1. #1
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    Default Should Westerners in developing countries earn Western wages ?

    I have been offered a job in a developing country. The salary they offered me is an upper-middle class salary according to that country's wage scale, but it is very very low if compared to a salary made in the US.

    I am confused about this and do not know how to proceed.

    Should I be happy being paid a handsome salary according to that country's standard of living? I could easily afford servants on this salary. Or should I not take the job because what they are offering is an equivalent of $25,000 USD a year?

    I hope I made this dilemma clear.

  2. #2
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    Wouldn't this be up to you as to what lifestyle you care to enjoy. If at the prevailing wages you get to enjoy the reasons why you are moving there or live there in the first place then you accept. If you don't want to accept the realities of economics ie: the reason this job exists in the DR and you draw a line in the sand, tell them "take your job and shove it".

    BTW why is having a "servant" important to you? Just curious.
    john

  3. #3
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    Do you mean on a practical level or as a matter of principle?

    Only you know what makes you happy. If the salary gives you a more lavish lifestyle than you could aspire to with the equivalent job and its much higher salary in your country of origin, why not? However, if your longer term plans involve saving and investing, it does not give you much scope to put anything aside, even if you cut back on some of the luxuries like servants. Some foreign companies/organisations will pay a monthly sum into a savings scheme back home or provide a pension, maybe this could be negotiated? Do they pay relocation costs and one trip to your home country per year? Is a vehicle provided? These are other things to take into account.

    If the country in question is the DR, US$25,000 per year allows you to live a reasonable middle class lifestyle - which includes a maid and private schooling for children, but not a life of total luxury!

  4. #4
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    I will avoid any mention of fairness since employment negotiations seldom have anything to do with fairness. You (we, me, us) are all commodities that our employers purchase.

    Having said that, your employer offering you a "good, local wage" implies that they feel the position could be filled in the local labor market. My question (to myself but they need to provide information to answer) is "Why would they be willing to import skills if the position could be filled locally?" If there is a compelling reason why they feel they cannot fill the position locally, then local labor wage levels are really not relevant. The choice is what do you feel its worth and how does that compare to the other candidates whom they would consider moving into the position. If they feel they could fill the position locally I would question their decision to move someone down since the the success of that is every bit as risky as sourcing a local, unknown talent.

    If the purpose is for the reason of career development, you have to weight your future earning potential (which is significant with a successful international management experience) and taking a short term(?) earning set back. Once again, if they value you this much, why would they be trying to discount you?

    As for international assignment in general, going into a management situation on a temporary (2-3 years) basis has its own set of challenges. You may find issues are perfectly comfortable waiting you out for 2-3 years. Add the fact that no one anywhere like when a foreigner comes in to manage them, and that training, organizational learning, and process improvement all work on a timetable quite differently from country to country. I am on the 5th year of a 2-year temporary assignment. Things really didn't click until those working for me, and I, saw my assignment move from temporary to permanent.

    If you don't like the lifestyle and your new work environment and the challenges both bring, no level of compensation will make it better. The opposite also applies.

  5. #5
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    In the area of work I am most familiar with, international development, 'overseas' or 'field' experience is essential to career development, qualifying you for more senior posts at head office, so it is worth the cut in income in the long run. So much so that some people go and do voluntary work in a developing country for next to nothing.

    In parts of the private sector it might not carry the same weight but it would show that you are willing to take risks and challenges.

    There are of course many other professions where overseas experience is essential, like journalism or the diplomatic service.

  6. #6
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    Default Life of total luxury....?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirimoya View Post
    ..you cut back on some of the luxuries like servants. Some foreign companies/organisations will pay a monthly sum into a savings scheme back home or provide a pension, maybe this could be negotiated? Do they pay relocation costs and one trip to your home country per year? Is a vehicle provided?

    If the country in question is the DR, US$25,000 per year allows you to live a reasonable middle class lifestyle - which includes a maid and private schooling for children, but not a life of total luxury!
    Depends where you are on this Island...but forget luxury, of any form/kind. Chiri is correct on the what is said above. I do not think your position of $66K/month would inculde an auto, but who knows. After all is said and done, if this is for a SD position, where you dont require a vehicle, maybe it could be OK for a single person or even a couple. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chirimoya View Post
    Do you mean on a practical level or as a matter of principle?

    Only you know what makes you happy. If the salary gives you a more lavish lifestyle than you could aspire to with the equivalent job and its much higher salary in your country of origin, why not? However, if your longer term plans involve saving and investing, it does not give you much scope to put anything aside, even if you cut back on some of the luxuries like servants. Some foreign companies/organisations will pay a monthly sum into a savings scheme back home or provide a pension, maybe this could be negotiated? Do they pay relocation costs and one trip to your home country per year? Is a vehicle provided? These are other things to take into account.

    If the country in question is the DR, US$25,000 per year allows you to live a reasonable middle class lifestyle - which includes a maid and private schooling for children, but not a life of total luxury!

    With all respect $25G a year is nothing in this country now. Bare level of survival. $25G is the price of a very basic lightly used car like RAV4 or CR-V.

    $40G per year net (after all taxes and deductions) may give you something close to a decent living. With very littly eating out of course.
    And we do not even talk about buying a property at current overinflated and rediculous RE prices.
    Just living.

  8. #8
    John Evans
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    did car prices go up dramatically in the last year or did I get a bargain for $10,000.00

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Evans View Post
    did car prices go up dramatically in the last year or did I get a bargain for $10,000.00

    for 2006-2007 rav4/crv without accidents, rolled-back miles and salvage history 10G is a huge bargain, congratulations!!!!!!

  10. #10
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    2000-2001 cr-v's were going for about US$10-12k toward end of last year.

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