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Salary in internatioonal schools

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Zahra9345, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. Zahra9345

    Zahra9345 New commenter

    I'm starting to apply to teaching jobs in the Middle East . This is my fourth year teaching and I'm a primary teacher.

    Will the salary be similar to what we we earn in the UK or more? A school I'm applying to has asked in the application form what I want my monthly wages to be so that's why I'm asking
  2. 576

    576 Established commenter

    Key factors in deciding how much is enough are cost of living. Numbeo.com is really helpful for this and whether or not there is a pension scheme.
  3. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    If they are asking you this then they are trying to pay you as little as possible. Decent schools will have a set pay scale that they will give you before they offer you a job. Generally international teachers earn more than the UK, plus have the usual bonus of free accommodation etc on top ( unless you are in western Europe). As an average you should be taking home around $40 000 a year plus package. It is possible to earn upto, and over $100 000 take home a year as a classroom teacher, plus benefits.
  4. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    In the real world 9/10 international schools are for profit organizations and therefore want to employ manual labour at the cheapest price. The majority of schools run to a business plan, spreadsheet and educational values come last in the list of priorities.

    Unless the school is offering 3000BGP/month, free accommodation, good private health care(even if the ME country offers free national health service) and full air fare home, I would assume I am underpaid. Again only 1/10 schools will show you a pay scale and then this is mostly for show and will be ignored at the principals whim.

    Also factor in the change in exchange rates, as the schools will show you a mythical rate that was based on the 2008 banking crash, so check out the long term rates of the country www.xe.com. Just for dumbbells information I have just on paper lost 3500GBP on my yearly salary due to the strong pound as UK heads for Britex! If you take the long term view in China the GBP/RMB ex-rate has changed by 20% in 10 years so many schools have reduced the local pay accordingly from an average of 30000/month to 22000/month.

    Check out websites that give you the cost of living in a country as buying a weekly shop in the ME can be higher then TESCO. Petrol may be cheap but a few cans of beer and a bottle of wine can cost you an arm and a leg if not 50 lashes.

    I just had my time and effort wasted by a school who think it is possible to recruit staff at 3000USD no matter what their qualifications and experience, all the money must be going on the gold plated rent-a-name above the door. The principal gave all the usual BS about how working for a "Prestigious" school would enhance my CV, that the local cost of living was cheap, but the school is still charging 60000USD tuition fees.

    So asking about pay is like the question on how long a bit of string needs to be.
    alex_teccy likes this.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Will your living costs be exactly the same as in the UK, Zahra9345? No? Then maybe your salary will not be the same either. Your salary is only one side of the coin.

    Anyway, this old hippo spent a year or two in the ME and perhaps I might be of some help. I have sent you one of those TES Conversation things, so you need to click on your avatar in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
    Zahra9345 likes this.
  6. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Is it anywhere near the gains you made when the pound went into freefall when Brexshit first got voted for..... i very much doubt it.

    @Zahra9345 Feb31st is very bitter, or at least seems to be with the international circuit of late. They seem very unhappy with the state of their career and schools in China. The world is a very big place and i have had no issue finding non-profit international schools. I suggest you join Search Associates as soon as possible, they will give you lots of valuable information about international schools that TES wont. Widen your search area for employment, and consider thst British schools are nowhere near the largest curriculum schools on the circuit, look at IB schools.
  7. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    I'd reinforce earlier what was said about asking you your salary expectations. In of itself it's a red flag - I've not worked at a good school that does that.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  8. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I very good point been made here is how quickly the ex-rate can change and totally upset any UK saving or spending plans. The biggest issue in the ME is the price of oil and the possible KSA v Iran war might impact on currency exchange rates. A good example is the Egyptian/GBP exchange rate when the rate dropped by 50% overnight, also the banks stopped issuing hard western cash in exchange for worthless Egyptian Pounds.

    As someone has pointed out already the issue I, 50 other members of staff, 500 students, 10000 parents had when the school I was at went bankrupt. There is a certain level of insecurity in working abroad, you can be informed that you have no work visa, you only have a 28 day exit visa in your passport, you and your children have no health insurance, you lose 3 months rent and 2 months salary and your gratuity has left the country. Students taking the final year of their IB basically had to retake an entire year of study and lose a year of their life in the mess that followed mostly funded by their parents.

    So asking a few question here on the TES is a great idea to get a few answers to some of the questions you need to ask. Unfortunately for every 1 great international school to work at there are 99 not so good ones. A great many teachers go into working abroad with their eyes shut and simply hope for the best!
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  9. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Going back to your question @Zahra9345. It's very hard to give an average because you're asking for basically, a world average. Each country, region and school is different.

    But as a guide, calculate your minimum (net) salary needs. You are the only one who can do this... Noone knows what your non-negotiable expenses are. Use Numbeo to give you a rough guide of the living costs, I always add 15% over. Then you can get a clear view on how healthy your holidays and savings kitty will look like. If you get offered anything that makes your holidays and savings kitty inflate is not a bad start.

    Good luck with it all.
  10. twisty08

    twisty08 New commenter

    It can vary greatly, location playing a big part, of course. Joining Search is a good start as Dumbbells says, although you won't find the very top international teaching jobs on there. But there will be a good selection of starter jobs on there.

    You should be much better off than in the UK, assuming you don't opt for Western Europe. Salaries top out at about $250k for the elite jobs, but those are very rare. Average more like $35-70k, with expenses such as rent and insurance covered.
  11. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    If you are earning less than you are in the UK, you are either working in Spain, Italy, Portugal or Greece.... or you are in a terrible school. The big saving you will have is accommodation. Dont bother comparing the UK to international in the traditional sense, it doesnt work that way
  12. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    As mentioned above, everyone's needs are different, depending on family status, time of life and savings priorities.

    I took a salary cut of a third when moving to current post. Still earn more than I would in the UK though and, because of my lifestyle choices, still saving almost as much as I did in my better paid job. That was a pleasant surprise for me as I'd reckoned on not saving nearly as much.

    However, were I to have a family with me, due to expat type family needs, I would find it more challenging here financially. I certainly wouldn't be enjoying the pricey holiday I am currently experiencing.
  13. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    I took a 40% pay cut moving from my last job to my current (both in Asia), yet I save more in this job and have a better quality of life.
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Helen-Back's post hits the nail on the head. Your salary might indeed be smaller, but you could still be saving more each month. And some things should not be considered solely from a financial perspective.
    towncryer likes this.
  15. Zahra9345

    Zahra9345 New commenter

    Thanks guys; you have been very helpful. I'm planning to join Search Associates.
    w1185299 likes this.
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Planning to join Search Associates is one thing, Zahra9345, but actually getting it done can be rather time-consuming. The process of signing up with Search can be a bit complicated.
    towncryer likes this.
  17. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    But totally worth the effort
  18. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    You need to look at how how much you save per month now, and what you can reasonably project that to be in a new place, to make any form of money based comparison.

    You might 'take home' more in Switzerland yet save more, lots more, in Cambodia...
    towncryer likes this.
  19. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    You could get an extraordinary salary in a very average country which requires you to travel to another country every holiday to get away from it. We rarely leave the country we live in now and if we do its usually to a neighbouring country well catered for by budget airlines.

    Those travel expenses can mount up big time.
    feefee1978 and towncryer like this.
  20. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I used to agree with everything that old gulfers wrote, but these days I find myself saying yes to the wise and sensible posts of Helen-Back. Yes, travel expenses (especially holidays) can be a major hole in the pocket.
    towncryer likes this.

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