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International salary offer less than current salary

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by cr571, Jan 31, 2020.


Should I email and enquire about negotiating pay?

  1. Yes

    7 vote(s)
  2. No

    7 vote(s)
  1. cr571

    cr571 New commenter

    I have recently been offered an international teaching position in Spain. The salary that they have offered me is approximately £4000 less than I am currently being paid in the UK. I’m not necessarily looking for a pay rise - but I thought it would at least match.

    The cost of living is cheaper in the city where I would be going. But would it be unreasonable to send an email enquiring about negotiation? I don’t want them to turn around and say ‘well, we’re taking away your job offer then’. Ultimately I do want to go, I just think I shouldn’t really be taking a pay cut. But if it’s a massive no-no then please let me know! What should I do?
  2. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    You were ALWAYS going to be taking a pay cut to go to Spain. There's no harm in asking but they're response will probably be 'budgets are tight/the city is cheaper than the UK/you can find accomodation for nothing/do some private lessons'

    It's a well known fact that Spanish teaching salaries are less than those in the UK. You might sound like you did little to no research if you ask, but I highly doubt they'll take the offer away. It's not like Spain have a massive pool of candidates
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    You will find hundreds of post about how low salaries in Spain are — about half of them from dumbbells. This is partly because salaries for local teachers in both state and private schools are considerably lower. Also, many new international/bi-lingual schools have opened in the past few years which has increased competitive pressures which would tend to restrict pay rises.
    As you observe, the cost of living here is somewhat lower, so a slightly lower salary won’t mean you’re living in penury, but if your aim is to get rich/save a lot, then Southern Europe is not for you.
    Having said that, salaries here vary greatly from school to school, as do terms and conditions so shopping around can be beneficial.
    Would bargaining help? That partly depends on factors like whether you teach a shortage subject, or how many kids you have...
    agathamorse and tb9605 like this.
  4. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Spain has plenty of candidates. That’s why they can continue to offer such low salaries. So many people think it’s their dream to live in Spain, they’re lining up for the opportunity to work for peanuts.
    The OP is unlikely to see much result, but the question can always be asked.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    This smelly old hippopotamus has written many, many posts on this forum about the problems and pitfalls of comparing salaries in different countires. This certainly is the case when comparing teachers' salaries in most of the countries around the world with what you are getting paid in Rip-Off Britain. Some many things are ludicrously expensive in the UK that they have to pay a lot more, otherwise the shortage of teachers would be much worse than it already is.

    As this stinky swamp-dweller has pointed out, your salary is only one part of the whole "package". Pensions, travel costs, accommodation, holidays, school fees (if you have children), food and taxes: these all have to be taken into account. Therefore a huge salary is actually not so large if your cost of living is going to be significantly higher and you still might be able to save some money each month if your expenditure is lower, even if you have quite a modest salary.

    In general, it seems to me that the scummy schools might be open to "negotiation", whereas proper schools have a salary scale and will stick to it.
  6. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    I have friends who have moved from excellent package in China to a middle of the pack school in Spain. Three kids (young teens) - they took a significant salary cut. Would guesstimate around 50%. I know roughly what their previous salaries would have been.

    They have after two years just bought a house (granted- probably financed by China savings). Kids are happiest they have ever been. Gone are the five star holidays, but they live within walking distance of a beach and cheap flights around Europe.

    Their quality of life has improved immeasurably.
    agathamorse and tb9605 like this.
  7. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    I took a £10,000 pay cut to move to Spain (even though it was also a promotion!) I'm much happier here, and, strangely, we seem to have a little more disposable income here. We just bought a house, our second, and have no plans to leave.

    To answer your question, probably the only way you could negotiate a pay rise is to take on extra responsibility. Is that an option?

    During the interview for my current post, I took note of several issues they mentioned they were facing. I sat down and wrote a 7 page document outlining strategies I would take to ameliorate these, including example of successes I had had at tackling them in previous posts. They e mailed me back to offer me a HoD post on more money.
    agathamorse and Jeremyinspain like this.
  8. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    You have a decision to make, there is no point in opening a discussion about pay unless you are willing to walk away from this job. It is possible the school may find a way to offer you some more cash, but it is also possible they will just say OK we will appoint someone else.

    Working out the numbers behind any move is difficult at best, looking in retrospect two of my most financially rewarding posts I nearly rejected due to low salary. Fortunately I trusted the reassurance from the Head, rather than the numbers and he was proved to be correct. He was a Head that told the truth, of course, not all do!
  9. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Plenty of teachers take paycuts throughout their (international) careers.
    • Australian teachers heading internationally.
    • ME teachers heading to more desirable places in Asia, even Europe.
    • Teachers from higher paying Asian countries like HK and Singers moving to countries like Vietnam or Thailand or Spain.
    Money is obviously your concern, otherwise you wouldn't have started this thread. You have two choices:

    • Take it...... Or.
    • Chase the vast amount of money you can make in other countries.
  10. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    When there are two pounds to a Euro after a couple of years thanks to Brexit you won't be complaining!
  11. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    I don't think Australian teachers are taking a pay cut to teach internationally. The average Australian school salary is about 85,000 AUD pre-tax. After tax they then have to pay housing which is about 2k a month average. On top of that are some expensive bills. Unless you're in Southern Europe, you'd be hard-pressed to find somewhere where you came out with a net of less per month
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  12. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    85k AUD is around €50k or £43k so yes they'll often be taking a pay cut.

    However, I do agree their disposable income after bills etc is highly likely to be more.
  13. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    They won't be taking a pay cut though because accomodation would be included in the overseas package. It's not a pay cut if one includes accomodation and the other doesn't. You have to live somewhere in both places
  14. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    T0nyGT likes this.
  15. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    It's a paycut.

    People with a good sense of finance don't include the money they can't physically see, touch or take home as their salary.
  16. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    People with a very poor sense of finance think they are taking a pay cut simply because these costs go straight to the landlord instead of their accounts temporarily first.
    gulfgolf, Bill8899 and dumbbells66 like this.
  17. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Ultimately a pay cut is about what you have (or don’t have) to play with after non-negotiable expenses like taxes and rent are paid. It’s about net, not gross.
    T0nyGT likes this.
  18. 4019775

    4019775 New commenter

    Many states in Oz experienced teacher $100 000. Ozzies have one of the very best pensions systems. Ten years residence is the requirement for full state pension and their super system more than makes up for having to pay accommodation.
  19. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    You simply don't understand the way Australian teachers are paid.

    But then again why would you understand? So let me clarify this for you....
    • 11 - 15% (some as high as 17-19) of their gross salary goes straight into their superannuation scheme.
    • Teachers in Australia opt to 'salary sacrifices' which bring their tax bracket down.
    As for paying the landlord. You are assuming that 1) all AUS teachers rent 2) aren't paying mortgages and 3) don't already own their homes outright.....

    Let me educate you on the % of experienced, top bracket, and HODs who own their home or one property outright.... Over 60%. That includes the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. In other (cheaper) states and areas, higher. And have been mortgage free for 10+ years.

    Meanwhile, a good % British international teachers who don't pay rent and other bills can't manage a sizable enough deposit to buy a house worth £150k and get an expat mortgage.

    It's a paycut....
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
  20. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Forgot to mention, more common on the Eastern states,
    • 17.5% - 19% holiday loading given to teachers EVERY summer holidays. Temp or permanent positions.
    • Accumulateing pro-rata long-term service leave.
    • Unused medical days accumulated.
    Want to know the average growth of the +11-15% (employer paid) superannuation (pension)? 9 - 12%.

    But keep thinking what you think you "know"... Those Aussie teachers who own their own home, who have a sizable pension fund and could take a PAID 6-12 month long-term service leave will continue to roll.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020

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