Expatriate geologists worldwide have been known to earn notoriously high salaries, when comparing their salaries to what local geologists doing the same jobs, would typically be earning. The main reason for this, is that in order for geologists to uproot and relocate to what is often the other side of the world; it has to be financially viable. There are many challenges that expatriates have to face, including being away from family and friends, cultural differences and language differences. They also have to make new friends and often feel isolated and lonely. Because of all these major upheavals that expatriates are faced with, companies generally have to offer them extremely competitive salaries in order to temp them away from home.
The current economic woes that the world has been plagued by in recent years, have created a situation where it is not uncommon for people to want to escape abroad where they think they will earn a huge salary and find a more affordable, less stressful way of life. What expatriates often do not take into consideration up front is that moving overseas is a very costly affair, and even though the salary offered may appear to be very competitive, people often find that they are actually taking a very big step backwards financially when they move overseas. There are so many costs that need to be taken into consideration, such as getting a home set up abroad, buying cars and furniture, schooling for children, and so the list goes on and on.
Something else that expatriates are often not aware of, is that the biggest reason that expatriates return home is financial failure. Many expatriates do not plan properly for their relocation and do not take the costs involved into consideration, and because of this a lot of them find themselves worse off financially than what they were back home.
I have noticed that according to the results of our recent salary survey that there seems to be a change in salary trends between what expatriate geologists in some regions in South America are currently earning, in comparison to local geologists. This may be because there has been a shift in recent years in some developing countries, where it is being seen that these developing countries are starting to emerge as expatriating countries, which is pushing up the salaries of local geologists. For this reason there appears to be a marked change in these regions in salary patterns between what local and expatriates are earning (by ramses). Because of the fast economic growth and generally higher inflation in some developing countries local salaries are increasing quickly. However in already developed countries, local salaries have not risen much and the growth in expatriate salaries may have been affected by this.
What is interesting to note is that according to our salary survey, that in some South American countries including Chile, local salaries have caught up to the extent that some local Geologists are earning as much if not more, than expatriate geologists working in the same region. One always has to be careful when comparing local and expatriate salaries, as one needs to take into consideration the various benefits that expatriates get such as free housing which local geologists will generally not qualify for. Expatriates typically have their accommodation costs paid for; they are also inclined to have various other benefits that locals do not get that need to be taken into consideration. However even when taking these benefits into consideration it seems that local geologists in some countries in South America are earning relatively competitive salaries to expatriates working in the region.
It has always been very difficult to establish what an average expatriate salary should be, because they vary tremendously from region to region. Some regions in Africa are said to boast some of the highest expatriate salaries, although South America has also been a region where expatriate salaries are high.
In Chile however, according to our salary survey, expatriate geologists are now earning slightly less than local geologists. According to the results of our salary survey, local geologists in Chile are earning on average a base pay of $74 780, and expatriate geologists are earning on average a base pay of $71 649. A local geologist manager in Chile is earning $148 409 whereas an expatriate geologist manager is earning $ 121 276.
I have noted that this trend seems to the same when it comes to salaries of local geologists in some of the other South American countries, as well. Should this trend continue, it may affect the expatriate market quite dramatically, as expatriates are going to be reluctant to move overseas to work in a country where they are earning less than others at their level.