Expat project manager salary?

Hello.

Is there anyone here who can help me clarify how much I can ask for as desired salary at a project manager?

I just graduated but got 8 months experience in a similar company and I also got a diploma in project management?

Looking forward to hear from you!

Best regards,
Mathias

The term 'Project Manager' is very vague .. . Specialising in what ? What projects have you already managed ? As for salary I doubt you will be able to ask as you will probably be told without choice. This is of course taking the giant leap that you will find a job in the first place, your ability to speak Vietnamese, references and of course a valid work permit.

I think you are going to be sorely disappointed and I am speaking from direct personal experience in project management.  I just hired two University Mechanical Engineering graduates that are Vietnamese but speak and write English well for 12,000,000 per month.  This is the top of the market pricing for graduates.  The range is 10,000,000-12,000,000 but they have been working for me part time in their senior year for the last six months and I know what they are capable of so top of market is fine.  They are trained by me as project managers but also have extensive CAD and engineering skills.  So, if you speak and write Vietnamese and English and want a full time 48 hour a week job that pays between $430 and $520 USD per month send me a PM.  I'm looking for one more person.  If you can't speak Vietnamese you are going to be pretty much useless in Vietnam as a project manager because you won't be able to communicate with the people you are working with.  I'm just being brutally honest, which I hope you can accept.

:dumbom:

With a population approaching 100 million, Vietnam is the 15th most populous country in the world, so there is no shortage of labor. Actually, many VNese are going abroad to work.In addition, education is taken very seriously by the VNese, so there are numerous qualified local candidates for nearly every position, many of whom have been educated overseas.

I would guess that most expats working in VN, other than those in education, have been sent from abroad by an international company.

SteinNebraska :

So, if you speak and write Vietnamese and English and want a full time 48 hour a week job that pays between $430 and $520 USD...

I guess the Vietnamese freelance developers I just hired must be pretty happy. 15$ - 18$ per hour with no restriction to the amount they work. Plus another 4-5 monthly salaries by our bonus system over the course of a year.

May I ask if you're just cheap and maximising the companies profit or do your salaries actually reflect the value those guys generate for you?

devbob :

May I ask if you're just cheap and maximising the companies profit or do your salaries actually reflect the value those guys generate for you?

Neither.  That's the going rate.  I queried the professor/guidance counselor as to the ranges the students see upon graduation and used the information provided to me.  I'm happy and they are both very happy with the arrangement. If they weren't happy I think they would have declined the offer.
Again, for a graduate with an engineering degree the range is 10-12 million.  I am paying the top of the range.

Your tone seems to indicate that I'm bragging about how "little I pay".  Quite the contrary.  You are choosing to overpay based on the true market value.  That is your prerogative.

SteinNebraska :

I'm happy and they are both very happy with the arrangement.

SteinNebraska :

You are choosing to overpay based on the market value.  That is your prerogative.

Everyone's happy then. Overpaying is deeply ingrained in our company's culture and as we're based in Switzerland with products that scale incredibly well it's a very good deal for us.

How likely would you say it is for these guys to start slacking work once they saved up a bit? It's kind of common in many regions but I never heard about it in Vietnam.

SteinNebraska :

Your tone seems to indicate that I'm bragging about how "little I pay".  Quite the contrary.

Absolutely not!
It's not my intention to dictate anyone how to run their business. I was just curious as your numbers drastically differ from what I pay. But of course this is subject to industry, experience, workload and various other factors.

devbob :

But of course this subject to industry, experience, workload and various other factors.

Yepp, for software devs, 500$/month would work maybe until they figure out that they can freelance and sell their services to customers over the internet...

devbob :

Everyone's happy then. Overpaying is deeply ingrained in our company's culture and as we're based in Switzerland with products that scale incredibly well it's a very good deal for us.

That is a perfectly reasonable business model and your comment about scaling is right on.  If you are paying a higher wage but still getting the margin you want on top everyone is happy.  One thing many people discount is the cost of acquisition, retention and training so by paying more you may save money in the long run.


devbob :

How likely would you say it is for these guys to start slacking work once they saved up a bit? It's kind of common in many regions but I never heard about it in Vietnam.

I don't have enough history to answer that question.  China is notorious for it.  Especially for factory and toolmaker work since they live onsite and get three meals with their wage.  They can bank 100% of their salary, work for a year and have enough money go to "home" to live for two years.  The tool maker that I used to use in China before coming here said that each Lunar New Year they would lose around 30% of their workforce.  They just didn't come back.   I don't see that happening the last two years at least in manufacturing.

That said, I don't know anyone that is paying anywhere near your wage so I wouldn't be the right person to answer.  My gut tells me they won't let the cash cow go.  Now, another comment below about being able to network and work remotely can both help and hurt you because the next company might think $20 is cheap and they flee.  Unlikely, though.

Question, if you start to sense slacking can you get them to bid it by the job instead of by the hour?  that would insulate you a little bit on dollars but timelines might start to slide.

Totally different I suppose.....but......I remember going back a bit mind, me wanting to give the housekeeper an extra 20usd a month thinking she would be happy & work harder. My Vietnamese wife at the time went absolutely nuts. 100usd a month is the going rate she said, you pay her more everyone in the village will be very angry with us because it will set a new rate for everyone else & it will make trouble.
My Vietnamese buddy Mr Phuong he is in property rental also said foreigners make big problem for Vietnamese people cos they pay over the going rate.
In my opinion Stein is right, he is paying top of the the going rate & thats fine. This guy Devbob is moving here & inflating the going rate for the job & causing other employers here problems once the word gets out there is this guy paying more than double the going rate. Bet them guys he hired are thinking all their birthdays have come at once & they have hit the jackpot!!!

unionjack :

My Vietnamese buddy Mr Phuong he is in property rental also said foreigners make big problem for Vietnamese people cos they pay over the going rate.

I pay my cleaning lady 100.000VND/hour. Her Tet bonus was 3.000.000VND. No clue if that is too much but honestly I couldn't care less. She's always on time, speaks english very well, works incredibly fast and thorough. For me she's absolutely worth it. I could pay her 500.000VND/hour and she'd still be worth it to me.

Also rising rates are not a bad thing. It's literally how economies transition to become a first world country.
If you're unwilling to pay higher rates or simply can't that's your problem alone. There is no human right that entitles you have someone clean up after you.
No reason for me to feel guilty because some Vietnamese villagers don't understand basic economy.

unionjack :

In my opinion Stein is right, he is paying top of the the going rate & thats fine. This guy Devbob is moving here & inflating the going rate for the job & causing other employers here problems once the word gets out there is this guy paying more than double the going rate. Bet them guys he hired are thinking all their birthdays have come at once & they have hit the jackpot!!!

Completely different case tho. Stein is hiring local people for a local job. The guys I hire could work for any software company in the world. And Im competing with these companies. Nothing attracts good workforce like great salaries and working conditions.

When I'm paying someone in a business context it comes down to:
- How much revenue/profit do they generate for me?
- How much potential do I see in them?
- What is fair.

If I pay them 3000$/ month I'm still making triple that from their work. There is no reason I'd deserve the 1500$ that I overpay more than them.

devbob :

No reason for me to feel guilty because some Vietnamese villagers don't understand basic economy.

If you're giving money away just because you can and to make you feel good as opposed to finding out the fair local rate (that also includes their english skills, quality of work), there's not much rationality and basic economy going on there, some might perceive your attitude as arrogant... :/ I'm all for free markets, outbidding competitors, marshallian cross and shit, but don't have much sympathy for the westerner flaunting their money...

When I'm paying someone in a business context it comes down to:
- How much revenue/profit do they generate for me?
- How much potential do I see in them?
- What is fair.

If I pay them 3000$/ month I'm still making triple that from their work. There is no reason I'd deserve the 1500$ that I overpay more than them.






Before I retired I was manager of an oil exploration 6th generation drill ship. My operational philosophy   on national labor was to get them as cheap as you can & work them till they drop! It worked for me, that ship had an operational day rate in excess of 600,000usd a day with a profit in excess of 400,000usd a day. Gave me, my offshore expat team, my management & our shareholders excellent returns. Dare say none of the nationals we used on that rig were happy & contented at work like yours but they got well fed & the going country rate for the job & we did not have a high turnover of personnel either. When the rig moved to another country or region many pleaded to go with the rig. So I am afraid there are 2 sides to every coin, your way & the other way, both can work, just that mine gives better profits.

atomheart :
devbob :

No reason for me to feel guilty because some Vietnamese villagers don't understand basic economy.

If you're giving money away just because you can and to make you feel good as opposed to finding out the fair local rate (that also includes their english skills, quality of work), there's not much rationality and basic economy going on there, some might perceive your attitude as arrogant... :/ I'm all for free markets, outbidding competitors, marshallian cross and shit, but don't have much sympathy for the westerner flaunting their money...

Well said young man, could not have expressed it better! Way I see it, this guy is a wind up merchant & just too good to be true, no one in their right mind pays a cleaner here 100,000vnd an hour! & 3 mil TET money too, yea right!!

SteinNebraska :

Question, if you start to sense slacking can you get them to bid it by the job instead of by the hour?  that would insulate you a little bit on dollars but timelines might start to slide.

We have some controlling mechanisms. After discussion with the devs subtasks are given a maximum amount of hours required that can be adjusted in case of unforeseen difficulties. Performance bonuses are calculated based on how many tasks have been completed within the given amount of hours.

Mathiasbaka :

Hello.

Is there anyone here who can help me clarify how much I can ask for as desired salary at a project manager?

I just graduated but got 8 months experience in a similar company and I also got a diploma in project management?

Looking forward to hear from you!

Best regards,
Mathias

If you think of yourself as a Project manager, then you should indicate the industry.

atomheart :

If you're giving money away just because you can and to make you feel good as opposed to finding out the fair local rate (that also includes their english skills, quality of work), there's not much rationality and basic economy going on there

I'm not giving money away. I'm paying people based on the value they provide. Our Swiss developers get 15.000CHF/month. Way above average. No one here would complain that I destroy Swiss rates or shower Swiss developers with money "just to feel good". Huge double standards here.

unionjack :

Way I see it, this guy is a wind up merchant & just too good to be true, no one in their right mind pays a cleaner here 100,000vnd an hour! & 3 mil TET money too, yea right!!

What do you pay your cleaner? Genuinely interested.
3 million VND are exactly one additional monthly salary. I'm not sure if people generally pay a bonus to their house staff but If they do, one salary would be the standard right?

unionjack :

Dare say none of the nationals we used on that rig were happy & contented at work like yours but they got well fed & the going country rate for the job & we did not have a high turnover of personnel either. When the rig moved to another country or region many pleaded to go with the rig. So I am afraid there are 2 sides to every coin, your way & the other way, both can work, just that mine gives better profits.

Absolutely fine. As I said earlier in this thread I don't wan't to dictate anyone how to run their business.
As long as employees don't starve, aren't homeless and can send their children to school, I'd argue an employer did everything right. What comes on top of that is a bonus. It's just that our bonuses tend to be bigger.

Most of the company in Vietnam are very cheap... They are only looking for making a big profit and not pride on their services like we do here in the U.S!!! This principle and mantality is only work in Vietnam... They won't be able to survive or operating their business in any other country.  It is very difficult to find a professional/honest/reputation company who can provide a great services and pride on what they are doing in Vietnam.  It's very sad of these company not willing to pay more money so they can find a right person for the job.

devbob :
unionjack :

My Vietnamese buddy Mr Phuong he is in property rental also said foreigners make big problem for Vietnamese people cos they pay over the going rate.

I pay my cleaning lady 100.000VND/hour. Her Tet bonus was 3.000.000VND. No clue if that is too much but honestly I couldn't care less. She's always on time, speaks english very well, works incredibly fast and thorough. For me she's absolutely worth it. I could pay her 500.000VND/hour and she'd still be worth it to me.

Also rising rates are not a bad thing. It's literally how economies transition to become a first world country.
If you're unwilling to pay higher rates or simply can't that's your problem alone. There is no human right that entitles you have someone clean up after you.
No reason for me to feel guilty because some Vietnamese villagers don't understand basic economy.

unionjack :

In my opinion Stein is right, he is paying top of the the going rate & thats fine. This guy Devbob is moving here & inflating the going rate for the job & causing other employers here problems once the word gets out there is this guy paying more than double the going rate. Bet them guys he hired are thinking all their birthdays have come at once & they have hit the jackpot!!!

Completely different case tho. Stein is hiring local people for a local job. The guys I hire could work for any software company in the world. And Im competing with these companies. Nothing attracts good workforce like great salaries and working conditions.

When I'm paying someone in a business context it comes down to:
- How much revenue/profit do they generate for me?
- How much potential do I see in them?
- What is fair.

If I pay them 3000$/ month I'm still making triple that from their work. There is no reason I'd deserve the 1500$ that I overpay more than them.

Devbob... I am totally agree with you! You get what you paid for! We want company that can provide a world class service who understand how important it is to provide a good service vice a company that would do a terrible job because they don't have a great workforce due to them being cheap.... LOL...

I am a DevOps Engineer and I would not do anything less than $50 an hour! Doesn't matter where I am at (Vietnam or U.S)  but I do get a lot of work in Vietnam... These company willing to pay because they understand the value of providing a good service to their customer and how to keep a great work force that can get the job done right and correct.... "No cutting corner" or "It can not be done".

In my experience, it's a culture issue.

Vietnamese pay the "going rate" but their true expectations are pretty low and they don't manage/differentiate/appreciate quality.

Westerners paying over the going rate is fine as long as long as the service matches the rate.

The problem comes when Westerners paying high rates but settle for lower work quality and when VN only look at salary so the people willing to work harder actually reduce their work when they see everyone else putting in less work and still getting the same pay.

Indices :

The term 'Project Manager' is very vague .. . Specialising in what ? What projects have you already managed ? As for salary I doubt you will be able to ask as you will probably be told without choice. This is of course taking the giant leap that you will find a job in the first place, your ability to speak Vietnamese, references and of course a valid work permit.

Majority of employers hiring Project Managers simply do not know what Project Management is.
As it says, it is Managing projects, not actually doing the work. It could be small projects which may have of people to a thousands of people over many years and millions of dollars.
A project Manager who is a certified PMP from PMI (Project Management Institute) can work on any type of project work, not specializing in any underlying work which the teams will be doing. It is NOT the responsibility of Project Manager to specializing in any of the engineering, coding, testing etc.
I have been a certified PMP professional for over 15 years and have managed many different bodies of work.
Those who ask if a Project Manager has experience in any underlying body of work, do not have knowledge  of the work the Project Managers does and are looking for someone to 'do all'.
Best to stay away from these jobs.

Hi

Just jumping in here in respect to the risk of over paying locals re disruption to the status quo . This is a real problem in a lot of foreign transactions across the board from offering more from wages thru to over payment on rental agreements etc. Especially in poorer regions of asia overall.

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