Expat offer GM

Hello folks,

I am being offered a role of a general manager in HCMC for a multinational manufacturing company. I would like to know what is a reasonable expat salary for the GM in Vietnam and what should be included in the expat package? Assignment is for 3-5 years.

Thank you

Have they actually offered you anything, what bonuses,perks,travel costs,accomodation have they offered?

For resasonable depends on your living expectations.
If you look at listing for jobs containing the word manager you will see such a huge variance in salaries from the extremely low to the fantastically high...

Employers will pay you as little as they can get away with.
Im surprised any foreigner is being offered work at the moment considering the virus situation.

Ignroing all the above, it is normally the proceedure to be offered a position / salary package - bear in mind the employer will have other expeneses involved to hire you

SK1386 :

Hello folks,

I am being offered a role of a general manager in HCMC for a multinational manufacturing company. I would like to know what is a reasonable expat salary for the GM in Vietnam and what should be included in the expat package? Assignment is for 3-5 years.

Thank you

A general rule in negotiation--not just here in Vietnam--is to always get the other person to make their offer first.

If they are somehow putting you in the position of needing to make the offer to them, you probably don't want to make your offer "reasonable"; meaning, don't shoot for an 'average' number or package of benefits.

Maybe change your question to:

"What's the best possible salary and benefits package I can get?"

Offer them THOSE figures and make them convince you that you should work for less.

Otherwise, you adopt the weaker position of having to convince them why you deserve more.

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.p … 00#4826924

See my post #16 for a link to a useful publication.  I would have linked directly but I think this will avoid a delay for moderation.

THIGV :

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=889200#4826924

See my post #16 for a link to a useful publication.  I would have linked directly but I think this will avoid a delay for moderation.

Here's that other post of yours.

I don't think the link will be automatically moderated.

Let's see...

THIGV :

Isn't there a pdf booklet by a firm called Adeco or something similar that lists salaries for both management and technical occupations in Vietnam?  Maybe someone can find that link.

Edit:  The firm is called Adecco, with a double "c".  Here is the latest booklet:  adecco. com. vn//uploads/Adecco-Vietnam-Salary-Guide-2020.pdf  You can use their general site to obtain other HR services.  (Not promoting them but the booklet is pretty good.)

THIGV :

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=889200#4826924

See my post #16 for a link to a useful publication.  I would have linked directly but I think this will avoid a delay for moderation.

Thank you very much! This is helpful.

Maybe change your question to:

"What's the best possible salary and benefits package I can get?"

Thank you. This is much better. I am being asked to put my thoughts together on what I would need to make this move considering an expat package thus asking around to gather facts.

colinoscapee :

Have they actually offered you anything, what bonuses,perks,travel costs,accomodation have they offered?

They have given me a verbal offer stating I will be given an expat package with housing allowance, car allowance, healthcare coverage for myself, wife and one kid, school fee allowance and travel allowance twice a year. Haven't put a $ value yet.

SK1386 :
colinoscapee :

Have they actually offered you anything, what bonuses,perks,travel costs,accomodation have they offered?

They have given me a verbal offer stating I will be given an expat package with housing allowance, car allowance, healthcare coverage for myself, wife and one kid, school fee allowance and travel allowance twice a year. Haven't put a $ value yet.

A verbal offer in Vietnam ?
Suggest you get it all in writing before you consider anything.

Indices :
SK1386 :
colinoscapee :

Have they actually offered you anything, what bonuses,perks,travel costs,accomodation have they offered?

They have given me a verbal offer stating I will be given an expat package with housing allowance, car allowance, healthcare coverage for myself, wife and one kid, school fee allowance and travel allowance twice a year. Haven't put a $ value yet.

A verbal offer in Vietnam ?
Suggest you get it all in writing before you consider anything.

Its from my current employer. I already did a short stint but now am being asked to consider taking a long assignment for 3-5 years.

SK1386 :
Indices :
SK1386 :


They have given me a verbal offer stating I will be given an expat package with housing allowance, car allowance, healthcare coverage for myself, wife and one kid, school fee allowance and travel allowance twice a year. Haven't put a $ value yet.

A verbal offer in Vietnam ?
Suggest you get it all in writing before you consider anything.

Its from my current employer. I already did a short stint but now am being asked to consider taking a long assignment for 3-5 years.

Then negotiating with a company you already work for should not be difficult. If they are making the proposal then let them come up with all the details and put the whole package together, something they must have done many times already if they operate worldwide and are obviously aware of what is required in Vietnam.

Indices :
SK1386 :
Indices :


A verbal offer in Vietnam ?
Suggest you get it all in writing before you consider anything.

Its from my current employer. I already did a short stint but now am being asked to consider taking a long assignment for 3-5 years.

Then negotiating with a company you already work for should not be difficult. If they are making the proposal then let them come up with all the details and put the whole package together, something they must have done many times already if they operate worldwide and are obviously aware of what is required in Vietnam.

I think this will happen but for the time being I have been asked to submit a proposal on what would it take to accept this opportunity within reason. I think cost of living isn't that bad but moving with a family would definitely require a similar standard of living and due to an overseas assignment, salary bump to accommodate change both in terms of role and country.

SK1386 :
Indices :
SK1386 :

Its from my current employer. I already did a short stint but now am being asked to consider taking a long assignment for 3-5 years.

Then negotiating with a company you already work for should not be difficult. If they are making the proposal then let them come up with all the details and put the whole package together, something they must have done many times already if they operate worldwide and are obviously aware of what is required in Vietnam.

I think this will happen but for the time being I have been asked to submit a proposal on what would it take to accept this opportunity within reason. I think cost of living isn't that bad but moving with a family would definitely require a similar standard of living and due to an overseas assignment, salary bump to accommodate change both in terms of role and country.

The term 'similar standard of living', if that is what you are aiming for, is an odd one when considering working here. Do either you or your wife speak Vietnamese ? I have no idea where you are moving from but to uproot wife and children to what will probably be an entirely different culture than what you are use too is certainly not without the obvious risks. Would it not be better to at least take a 6 month period here on your own first to assess everything, check out schools, way of life and learn the language basics first ? I am surprised your international company has not suggested it already if you are a key worker.

Indices :
SK1386 :
Indices :


Then negotiating with a company you already work for should not be difficult. If they are making the proposal then let them come up with all the details and put the whole package together, something they must have done many times already if they operate worldwide and are obviously aware of what is required in Vietnam.

I think this will happen but for the time being I have been asked to submit a proposal on what would it take to accept this opportunity within reason. I think cost of living isn't that bad but moving with a family would definitely require a similar standard of living and due to an overseas assignment, salary bump to accommodate change both in terms of role and country.

The term 'similar standard of living', if that is what you are aiming for, is an odd one when considering working here. Do either you or your wife speak Vietnamese ? I have no idea where you are moving from but to uproot wife and children to what will probably be an entirely different culture than what you are use too is certainly not without the obvious risks. Would it not be better to at least take a 6 month period here on your own first to assess everything, check out schools, way of life and learn the language basics first ? I am surprised your international company has not suggested it already if you are a key worker.

I lived in HCMC for about 4 months already. I personally liked it in HCMC and loved the culture and people. None of us speak Vietnamese so will be learning when we move. Our kid is an infant so uprooting her is not a concern but mainly my wife. Living here for 6 months with my wife would be nice but this opportunity may go away if I use this as a condition. BTW, moving from North America.

SK1386 :
Indices :
SK1386 :


I think this will happen but for the time being I have been asked to submit a proposal on what would it take to accept this opportunity within reason. I think cost of living isn't that bad but moving with a family would definitely require a similar standard of living and due to an overseas assignment, salary bump to accommodate change both in terms of role and country.

The term 'similar standard of living', if that is what you are aiming for, is an odd one when considering working here. Do either you or your wife speak Vietnamese ? I have no idea where you are moving from but to uproot wife and children to what will probably be an entirely different culture than what you are use too is certainly not without the obvious risks. Would it not be better to at least take a 6 month period here on your own first to assess everything, check out schools, way of life and learn the language basics first ? I am surprised your international company has not suggested it already if you are a key worker.

I lived in HCMC for about 4 months already. I personally liked it in HCMC and loved the culture and people. None of us speak Vietnamese so will be learning when we move. Our kid is an infant so uprooting her is not a concern but mainly my wife. Living here for 6 months with my wife would be nice but this opportunity may go away if I use this as a condition. BTW, moving from North America.

With respect, you did not 'live' here for a few months, you visited . . . and that is entirely different. Tolerating this place for a few years, especially for your wife, is no vacation. I would take a little more concern over your infant too, which will bring its own problems. I have lived here for many years and it certainly takes patience to say the least. Vietnam has its merits and pitfalls like everywhere else. It is certainly attractive as a 'visitor'. Committing to becoming a resident with a wife and child, no knowledge of the Vietnamese language ( that is very difficult to learn ) or for that matter day to day life with only a few months prior knowledge is a very risky undertaking. Have you talked to over with your HR people ?

Start high, they can go lower.

Start too low and you cant go higher.

Good luck.

SK1386 :
Indices :
SK1386 :

I think this will happen but for the time being I have been asked to submit a proposal on what would it take to accept this opportunity within reason. I think cost of living isn't that bad but moving with a family would definitely require a similar standard of living and due to an overseas assignment, salary bump to accommodate change both in terms of role and country.

The term 'similar standard of living', if that is what you are aiming for, is an odd one when considering working here. Do either you or your wife speak Vietnamese ? I have no idea where you are moving from but to uproot wife and children to what will probably be an entirely different culture than what you are use too is certainly not without the obvious risks. Would it not be better to at least take a 6 month period here on your own first to assess everything, check out schools, way of life and learn the language basics first ? I am surprised your international company has not suggested it already if you are a key worker.

I lived in HCMC for about 4 months already. I personally liked it in HCMC and loved the culture and people. None of us speak Vietnamese so will be learning when we move. Our kid is an infant so uprooting her is not a concern but mainly my wife. Living here for 6 months with my wife would be nice but this opportunity may go away if I use this as a condition. BTW, moving from North America.

This has got to be the strangest post ever right from the initial request from the poster.
So here we are, the job is for a GM with a multinational company you already work for, you have been here working previously for 4 months, so after 4 months here I would think most people certainly in the position you are in line for GM would already have a pretty good idea what an expat in that position would get as a package & not have to post for advise on an internet Forum.
I am retired from fairly senior management & would be embarrassed to feel I had to ask what you are asking in an open Forum.  :/

goodolboy :
SK1386 :
Indices :


The term 'similar standard of living', if that is what you are aiming for, is an odd one when considering working here. Do either you or your wife speak Vietnamese ? I have no idea where you are moving from but to uproot wife and children to what will probably be an entirely different culture than what you are use too is certainly not without the obvious risks. Would it not be better to at least take a 6 month period here on your own first to assess everything, check out schools, way of life and learn the language basics first ? I am surprised your international company has not suggested it already if you are a key worker.

I lived in HCMC for about 4 months already. I personally liked it in HCMC and loved the culture and people. None of us speak Vietnamese so will be learning when we move. Our kid is an infant so uprooting her is not a concern but mainly my wife. Living here for 6 months with my wife would be nice but this opportunity may go away if I use this as a condition. BTW, moving from North America.

This has got to be the strangest post ever right from the initial request from the poster.
So here we are, the job is for a GM with a multinational company you already work for, you have been here working previously for 4 months, so after 4 months here I would think most people certainly in the position you are in line for GM would already have a pretty good idea what an expat in that position would get as a package & not have to post for advise on an internet Forum.
I am retired from fairly senior management & would be embarrassed to feel I had to ask what you are asking in an open Forum.  :/

Fair enough, its your opinion so I wont argue. My situation is a bit different as when I came last, I wasn't a GM or had any idea on the range. All I am trying to do is gauge by asking others. I don't see why there should be any embarrassment associated. If I am unsure, no harm in asking as most companies in NA would not share salary ranges and I haven't been exposed to that level before so not sure what to expect. Thanks for your input, nonetheless.

SK1386 :
goodolboy :
SK1386 :


I lived in HCMC for about 4 months already. I personally liked it in HCMC and loved the culture and people. None of us speak Vietnamese so will be learning when we move. Our kid is an infant so uprooting her is not a concern but mainly my wife. Living here for 6 months with my wife would be nice but this opportunity may go away if I use this as a condition. BTW, moving from North America.

This has got to be the strangest post ever right from the initial request from the poster.
So here we are, the job is for a GM with a multinational company you already work for, you have been here working previously for 4 months, so after 4 months here I would think most people certainly in the position you are in line for GM would already have a pretty good idea what an expat in that position would get as a package & not have to post for advise on an internet Forum.
I am retired from fairly senior management & would be embarrassed to feel I had to ask what you are asking in an open Forum.  :/

Fair enough, its your opinion so I wont argue. My situation is a bit different as when I came last, I wasn't a GM or had any idea on the range. All I am trying to do is gauge by asking others. I don't see why there should be any embarrassment associated. If I am unsure, no harm in asking as most companies in NA would not share salary ranges and I haven't been exposed to that level before so not sure what to expect. Thanks for your input, nonetheless.

No offence intended sir, but painting everything as Rosy won't be of much help.

Many questions to better understand the situation:

Do you work in a similar capacity now?
As a GM will you have English speaking staff working for you here?
What happened with the current GM?
Are you considering moving here because you actually want to be here or just because of the job?
What happens in 3-5 years - is there a follow-on offer of a similar position back in the US?
Are they asking you to take the position or did you initiate the possibility of a move?
Will your wife be OK with the fact that she will be virtually isolated here - just her, you and the kid?  It's a big change and she will be home alone all day.
Where is the factory located?  If HCMC then in what district?  Determines where you would be living.

SK1386 :
goodolboy :
SK1386 :


I lived in HCMC for about 4 months already. I personally liked it in HCMC and loved the culture and people. None of us speak Vietnamese so will be learning when we move. Our kid is an infant so uprooting her is not a concern but mainly my wife. Living here for 6 months with my wife would be nice but this opportunity may go away if I use this as a condition. BTW, moving from North America.

This has got to be the strangest post ever right from the initial request from the poster.
So here we are, the job is for a GM with a multinational company you already work for, you have been here working previously for 4 months, so after 4 months here I would think most people certainly in the position you are in line for GM would already have a pretty good idea what an expat in that position would get as a package & not have to post for advise on an internet Forum.
I am retired from fairly senior management & would be embarrassed to feel I had to ask what you are asking in an open Forum.  :/

Fair enough, its your opinion so I wont argue. My situation is a bit different as when I came last, I wasn't a GM or had any idea on the range. All I am trying to do is gauge by asking others. I don't see why there should be any embarrassment associated. If I am unsure, no harm in asking as most companies in NA would not share salary ranges and I haven't been exposed to that level before so not sure what to expect. Thanks for your input, nonetheless.

First of all please believe me I am not trying to get into any argument with you, or belittle you in any way,
I have worked in many locations & countries all over the world for multinational oil & gas companies & been promoted within some these companies which meant I had to up sticks & move where the promotion position was located & I can honestly say[b] I have never ever been asked to state what remuneration I want, what benefits I want, what kind of car I want etc etc etc. All these things within a reputable multinational company are set in stone within the HR package of that company for the region the job is based.
I must be old school & completely out of touch I suppose but any Western multinational company that asks a promotion candidate within that company for the position of General Manager on a foreign assignment " oh & by the way what sort of package do you want us to give you"must be a pretty cowboy outfit if you ask me.   :/

Strictly conjecture here, but I suspect the US company either doesn't know what it costs to live here and are hoping that he guesses on the low side (he did allude to the low cost of living here) or they suspect he will under-sell himself for the opportunity.  That is why i asked the questions that I did.

We also don't know anything about the company here, how big it is, how well run or screwed up it is, what is the current management situation, at what level in management hierarchy does it transfer from English to Vietnamese.  I've seen some manufacturers here - and I've been into at least 30 in the last year with my current position - that have an English speaking figurehead (they generally don't get titles like President or Vice President but usually General Manager or Operations Manager and not Plant Manager) and one or two people below him that spoke English that really "ran things" and all the foreigner did was oversee the operation and report back to the home office that their interests are being taken care of and they are not being robbed blind.  He also hosted foreign visitors and customers that spoke English.  And then I know some on the opposite end of the spectrum that truly manage the business.

The figurehead guy that I know came from Ukraine.  Nice guy.  He makes right at $50K.  He told me himself.  But that's decent money for a guy from Ukraine.  If I was coming from the US to truly run the company, I mean run it, I wouldn't do it for less than $200K, maybe a little more counting all of the benefits.  I'm basing that on my own personal experience.

SteinNebraska :

Strictly conjecture here, but I suspect the US company either doesn't know what it costs to live here and are hoping that he guesses on the low side (he did allude to the low cost of living here) or they suspect he will under-sell himself for the opportunity.  That is why i asked the questions that I did.

We also don't know anything about the company here, how big it is, how well run or screwed up it is, what is the current management situation, at what level in management hierarchy does it transfer from English to Vietnamese.  I've seen some manufacturers here - and I've been into at least 30 in the last year with my current position - that have an English speaking figurehead (they generally don't get titles like President or Vice President but usually General Manager or Operations Manager and not Plant Manager) and one or two people below him that spoke English that really "ran things" and all the foreigner did was oversee the operation and report back to the home office that their interests are being taken care of and they are not being robbed blind.  He also hosted foreign visitors and customers that spoke English.  And then I know some on the opposite end of the spectrum that truly manage the business.

The figurehead guy that I know came from Ukraine.  Nice guy.  He makes right at $50K.  He told me himself.  But that's decent money for a guy from Ukraine.  If I was coming from the US to truly run the company, I mean run it, I wouldn't do it for less than $200K, maybe a little more counting all of the benefits.  I'm basing that on my own personal experience.

yup all relevant details exactly & they were good questions & points you make Stein & GM for say a big US multinational manufacturing company 200k usd would be an acceptable package. One thing though, he is talking about bringing a wife & kid here with full cover med ins, schooling etc. Not sure how much per term say going to the American School would be, bet its not cheap?

I left the child/school cost out of it.  He said it's an infant and it's a 3-5 year post so they will be going home by the time the child is in school. 

But you are correct, the cost is significant.  Around $15,000-$20,000 per year for international school.

Since someone brought up

goodolboy :

..what kind of car [you] want etc

you might consider asking for a car and driver.  Not sure you want to be negotiating traffic yourself.  Also a small Mercedes or a Toyota Camry would be considered a pretty nice ride in Vietnam because the pricing is so high but labor (the driver) is low.

SK1386 :
Indices :
SK1386 :

Its from my current employer. I already did a short stint but now am being asked to consider taking a long assignment for 3-5 years.

Then negotiating with a company you already work for should not be difficult. If they are making the proposal then let them come up with all the details and put the whole package together, something they must have done many times already if they operate worldwide and are obviously aware of what is required in Vietnam.

I think this will happen but for the time being I have been asked to submit a proposal on what would it take to accept this opportunity within reason. I think cost of living isn't that bad but moving with a family would definitely require a similar standard of living and due to an overseas assignment, salary bump to accommodate change both in terms of role and country.

Another reason I would personally want to avoid giving them a proposal concerning the prospective position: I would be giving them the information they need to begin searching for other candidates.

This company should be making you a concrete offer.

Until they do, perhaps you want to avoid giving them the impression that they have you on a hook.

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