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When is International not really International.

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by Beagles111, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Beagles111

    Beagles111 New commenter

    I had an interesting chat with a friend over the holiday. She works in Bangkok and has decided that she wants to leave her school for a myriad reasons. Perusing these very pages she came across a job which would be perfect for her. However, upon application she was informed that she would only be considered as a local hire. Trust me, the difference between local hire and overseas is huge here, relocation allowance, should she wish to move to be closer to the new school, settling in allowance, medical and housing are at best significantly reduced and, at worst not offered at all to local staff, of course, neither are flights to or from her home country. Over a period of a few years this would build up into a considerable sum.
    I was a little taken aback by this. This school is, after all, one of the biggest and oldest in the Mango, it is not for profit so I am at a loss as to why the school should wish to discriminate like this. Obviously, my friend turned her nose up at the offer of an interview and is now bound for pastures new where she will be paid the same as anyone else who has her experience and training.
    Can anyone tell me why this might happen? I have no doubt that it would be illegal in many places as being seen as discriminatory but obviously out here anything goes. Ideas anyone?
     
  2. tjh102

    tjh102 Occasional commenter

    I currently work in Bangkok and think I can guess at which school you are talking about. I was shocked when I found this out.

    From what I understand from a few SLT friends of mine, it is to do with perceptions. Parents (paying customers) prefer teacher straight from the UK (there are a few schools in Bangkok who will prioritise UK hires to the point that they rarely hire locally!) or someone from another country on the international circuit, preferably somewhere in the Middle East. Even amongst HR, there is a perception that a lot of teachers out here are just out here for an extended holiday. Also, especially if they have been working for a lower tier school, there is an assumption that the teacher hasn't done any decent CPD and is out of touch with the most recent teaching issues / methods / discussions in the UK. I came abroad in 2015 and my school was an early adopter of KPIs and post level assessment, yet many schools out here treat me like some sort of idiot because they assume I left the UK too early.

    Basically, the theory is that if they are going to get someone who has been "out of the loop" or who the parents will see as "inferior" (and someone they assume is desperate to stay here so the school has the upper hand),then they deserve to save money.

    I agree that it is ridiculous and should be illegal,but as the saying here goes... T.I.T!

    Btw: Careful... There is at least one well paying but awful school advertising at the moment for Thailand!
     
  3. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    i think you may be over thinking this a little. if they are in the country they are applying to schools in, then many places would consider them a "local hire", because they are exactly that, a local. it is also a considerable saving for the school. if they are going to save 10's of thousands of dollars by getting them there, then they will. that said, i would be surprised if this was a top tier school, although i am willing to be proved wrong.

    i once worked with someone that was hired on a local contract, the school advised them to quit their position and attend the job fair. they got the job and was then hired as an expat....their benefits package dramatically increased. it was a risk, but one worth taking.

    this is more common than you think.
     
  4. percy topliss

    percy topliss Occasional commenter

    Interesting dumbbells but I have to say that it is VERY uncommon for Bangkok. This particular school has a very bad name because of it.

    Perce
     
  5. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    oh i agree.... i cant think of a decent school that would even consider it. but i have seen and heard about it.
     
    percy topliss likes this.
  6. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    It happens all over the world.
    Every school has to define recruited and local hire, usually in a Board policy. Sometimes it’s purely by passport, in which case someone who is technically a local but who has never even visited the country could be classified as local hire. (Think dual nationality, grew up in the UK, speaks only English, but inherited Thai nationality from Dad.)
    Or it can be strictly on location at the time of first contact. If you’re already in country, you won’t be offered the inticements designed to attract people to the country. (For example, someone married to a local, living there for years, raising children who attend local schools in.)
    Or sometimes it’s based on history and intention. A school might want to entice back a local with amazing experience around the world, and to do it they need to offer the package she would get in other countries. So if you’re moving to a country for the purposes of accepting a specific job offer, you’re recruited hire. But if you’re already there, or moving because you have decided to move there for personal reasons, then you’ll be recruited hire.
    There really isn’t a right or wrong way, as long as schools are internally consistent. And applicants have every right to say “no thanks. Not my cup of tea.”
     
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  7. mm71

    mm71 Occasional commenter

    It happens a fair bit in the US. It's the "golden ticket" to get a qualified UK teacher as the trailing-spouse who can be treated as local hire. It can halve the wages bill which is why they are so attractive, particularly if you focus purely on profit.
     
  8. schmedz

    schmedz Occasional commenter

    I agree this particular BKK school is losing great staff because of their 'local hire' policy - actually, what they would gain from someone already in the country (and not having to pay any initial flights/relocation allowance) would surely be slightly cheaper than the 'full international hire' anyway.
    A colleague interviewed there and was offered the job but on local hire contract - she turned it down and when she gave her reasons, was told that anyone in BKK for longer than 6 months was considered 'local hire'!
    Not true at other (also reputable) BKK schools.
     
  9. percy topliss

    percy topliss Occasional commenter

    I suppose that this one could run and run, however, as someone who has worked at this place I think that their hiring policy actually costs them money, instead of getting people who know the country and like it to the extent where they want to stay and continue working there this place seems to pick up newly minted teachers, many from the UK who have no idea of what life is like in this part of the world other than what they have seen on the telly or in the cinema. Many of them do the obligatory 2 years before shuffling off to Vietnam, the Philippines or Cambodia or wherever else the "beard" is in vogue this year to work on their tans and send ever more exotic postcards home. The kids suffer as does the school in the long run, as their exam results will no doubt testify......

    Perce
     
  10. asiantiger

    asiantiger New commenter

    Whats the difference between overseas and local hire? Is the salary offered the same? Is it just a local hire doesn't get the flight allowance and accommodation? WHat's the difference exactly? And why dont people go home and reapply from their home country then if they want the job on an overseas/expat hire basis?
     
  11. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I have worked in a school where the locals got a quarter of what the expats where paid, and no benefits so yes it can vary wildly
     
    mirandamason536 likes this.
  12. VS400

    VS400 New commenter

    I get paid a third less than my international hires but I have no choice as I am here on my husband’s visa so I can’t leave and reapply. I’m in the Middle East. I also get no benefits such as school fees even though my husband's package doesn’t include them. Not even a discount. I’ll be leaving when my children go to school. Our next posting might be Hong Kong so I’m hoping that I might at least get a discount on school fees there!
     
  13. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Salary is often the same but obviously not always. The biggest differences are usually in the package: flights, housing, insurance, tuition, bonuses, etc.
     
  14. makhnovite

    makhnovite Occasional commenter

    Absolutely happens everywhere;
    i) Expat teacher hired from ouside the country gets a full expat contract with ALL the benefits, including flights.
    ii) Local hire = expat teacher but hired in country gets none or some of the benefits not usually flights. It happens mostly to trailing spouses; e.g. we had the wife of the British Ambassador work at our school and she was on local hire because her husband got quite a few benefits!! Its the like the double jeopardy rule in places like the ME, Singapore and HK.
    iii) Local teacher, is a national of the country, very few benefits, usually a higher salary than a teacher in a local government school but not much else.

    It'sot fair, but in my experience it is the way of the world, I have not worked in Thailand but I have worked extensively in South America and S.E. Asia and it has always been that way.

    I agree with dumbells, some of the posters are over thinking the reasons for this, its a way of saving on the wage bill (which as we know is 75-80% of the running costs of a school) and I have also known people who have done his work around!!!
     
  15. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Expat staff and locally hired staff have been treated differently in every school I have worked in. Often the expat staff are forgiven the slips and mistakes that would cost a local hire their job. It's not fair, but it's the way the world works, alas.
     
  16. sah79

    sah79 Occasional commenter

    Although not all schools in Bangkok differentiate massively in salary between overseas hire and local hire for expat teachers, there seem to be quite a few who won't offer flights included in your package if you are here already and therefore local hire. It seems a very silly economy to make to me, because people who are here and obviously like Bangkok are surely more likely to work for longer at the school. Someone arriving new might hate the city even if they like the school, plus all the extra relocation costs which schools pay for overseas hire. I'm sure parents don't care - they just want their children taught by qualified and experience farang teachers regardless of where those teachers were working before.
     
    grdwdgrrrl likes this.
  17. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Very silly, sah79? Who said that logic and an SLT always go together?
     
    makhnovite likes this.
  18. amysdad

    amysdad Occasional commenter

    Ah, the mysteries of international teaching salaries!

    First, missing out on a good teacher because you think you can get them on the cheap is a bit of a false economy and possibly tells more about the school's management than anything else.

    When we were looking last year, my wife got a job first and then I got one later. That was important as it meant we were both on expat contracts (although I don't think that the school I'm now at would try that stunt - it doesn't have to really.) But I was warned about this by several colleagues as something to watch for - a school I was interviewing for, for example, could try to dump responsibility for benefits like flights, health, etc onto my wife's school as the spouse benefits and say they're avoiding double payments. ]
     
  19. miketribe

    miketribe Occasional commenter

    At my school, the salaries are the same, but new overseas hires get a housing allowance for five years whilst local hires get the private pension plan immediately which the overseas hires don't get initially. It's still not completely equitable, but it's closer than it used to be. All the other benefits -- free tuition, private health care, free life insurance -- are the same for all of us -- but obviously not nearly as generous as are paid in further-flung parts of the globe...
     
  20. Beagles111

    Beagles111 New commenter

    Interestingly and just to cap off this discussion, the school in question here never did get a replacement teacher. It would appear that it means more to their management to have a shiny new "ex-Pat" teacher than it does to employ someone who knows the ropes and could actually help to alleviate the pressure on both the rest of the team and the students.
    Very strange.............
     

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