I got an International Job Posting, Now What?
OK, so you have been offered a job abroad. If you have managed to secure this job through an internet phone call or at a job fair, you may not have even been to the country where your job will be. So, a lot of your decision about whether to take the job will be dependent on your own research into the location of this job. This information will then need to be looked at in light of the conditions of the job offer. If the location is a major city in a developed nation you will want to be sure the salary on offer is enough to live on. If the location is in a developing nation where the cost of living is lower, salary may not be as important as ensuring good healthcare insurance or schooling for your children.
At the stage of the job offer, you should be able to look at a contract and get full answers to all your questions. What is your salary? What are the expected working hours? Holidays and sick leave? What expat benefits can you expect? Make sure everything is in writing.
Is the job location a challenge?
It is ok to turn down a job if it does not meet all your needs. An amazing job in the Pitcairn Islands sounded great, with lots of challenges and the chance to get away from it all. However, on further research, the idea of living on an island with only 50 residents, no airport, and intermittent internet access didn’t sound like such a tropical paradise. We did not like the idea of having to wait for a month or more for a boat to pass by in order to get off the island. The job started to sound like a prison sentence. Check out all the details before you take any job offer further.
Is the salary reasonable for the location?
When looking at your salary on offer, be sure to take into account your cost of living in that country. Is it a cheap place to live, eat and move around? Or is it an expensive place to survive? You may be willing to take a cut in salary if your cost of living is far lower and there are some other benefits included.
What expat benefits are on offer?
Many international postings offer extra benefits to international hires. These are often open to negotiation and can include, return airfares from your country of residence for you and your family once a year, school fees for your dependent children, full medical insurance for your entire family, housing allowances, vehicle use and many others. Be sure to get a detailed description of what is on offer before you make a final decision about your job offer.
Where to Live?
Most companies hiring overseas staff offer housing allowances. They understand many people moving overseas, already own houses which they may be paying a mortgage on. Potential hires may be reluctant to move if they need to pay large amounts for another home in their new country. Find out if your company provides housing or offers money towards rent. If they supply the housing, ask for photos of the housing. Too many people have landed in a country expecting a palatial apartment, only to find they are in company housing tacked on the back of the factory building. Never assume about something as important as housing. Ask about size and distance from your workplace. If your company gives a monthly allowance, find out exactly how much it is. Then get online and check out what kind of apartment you can get for that money. You may find you will need to pay extra on top of your allowance to get a good-sized house, especially in larger cities.
You will also want to find out in detail what medical insurance your company provides. Most companies hiring internationally will offer comprehensive medical cover for you and your family. This should include treatment at expat clinics and hospitals as well as medical evacuation, should your local treatment not be up to international standards.
Finally, if you have school aged children you will want to know how much your company is prepared to pay towards schooling for them. An international school education would be expected if you are in a country where English is not the first language. Fees for these schools can be upwards of US $10,000 a year so check your company will cover this and for how many children.
Once you have all of the details of your contract you are in a better position to compare jobs and make a final decision about taking up a new position. Often it is not your salary that is so different between jobs, but your allowances. Remember these allowances make up a large portion of your salary.