School compensation packages

Do international schools pay well? Search Associates ANZ cardboard boxes containing household items in preparation for moving out

There are numerous reasons why some educators consider a move to an international school.

Some teachers are attracted to a stint overseas for adventure and travel opportunities. Others look forward to growing professionally or experiencing a different culture. Finances may not be the primary concern.

For some teachers the possibility of getting ahead financially – anything from saving up for a deposit on a house to clearing student loans is a definite hook when thinking of teaching in an international school.

How do schools attract teachers?

Do international schools pay well? Search Associates ANZ image of a person putting a coin into a piggybank

International schools need to attract great teachers. These teachers are expected to hit the ground running whilst experiencing a variety of relocating challenges. They are also required to leave their home country and their support networks of friends and families. In order to give up so much, teaching candidates need to feel adequately compensated when they arrive in their new international home. The more difficult the lifestyle in general, the more compensation will be offered to teachers.

Schools that are not able to offer financial compensation commensurate with their situation are not able to attract the type of teacher the school and families are looking for.

What is a salary scale?

The international schools working with Search Associates will almost certainly have a salary scale. Where teachers begin on this scale is dependent on things such as years of experience and university qualifications. These scales will often allow teachers to experience significant pay rises for each year they work at the school. In addition to other benefits offered, there are also opportunities for teachers to take on extra responsibilities in order to increase their salaries. These opportunities may include taking on middle-management roles, running a major after-school activity, organising school trips, etc.

What currency will I be paid in?

All the salaries on the Search Associates database are listed in US Dollars, regardless of the currency in which they are paid in order to standardize and compare them. This doesn’t mean that you will be paid in US dollars though. The method of payment will also be listed along with information on whether it is easy or not to convert to another currency.

Example statement by a school:

These salaries are NOT paid in US Dollars. They are paid in $X. Currency fluctuations may mean that the US dollar figures may be higher or lower at any point during the contract period than the figures indicated here. The school has indicated that this currency is easily convertible to US Dollars or Commonwealth Currencies.

How current is the information on the Search Associates database?

Annual Salary expectations are updated yearly by the schools. The salary is displayed pre-tax and excludes the value of benefits (also listed) and the value of any variable bonus the school may offer.

Annual Savings expectations are also listed to help teachers understand approximately how much money people can “SAVE” yearly while still maintaining a comfortable standard of living, (including some travel over Christmas, spring, and summer holidays). The “benchmark figure” is for a teacher who has a BA and 8 years of experience. (In the case of couples, schools are asked to indicate joint savings potential.) Schools are told not to consider out-of-country expenses, such as mortgages, college tuitions, etc.

Do international schools pay well? Search Associates ANZ image of a person to person cash transaction taking place

These are listed by the following categories

  • Single teacher
  • Couple (both teaching) with 2 children
  • Teaching intern
  • Single teacher with one dependant

Also usually stated is whether local employment opportunities exist for non-teaching partners.

Note: sometimes schools undersell the above figures to err on the side of caution, but sometimes local-hire secretaries insert the details and err on the high side! Your specific salary/benefits information should always be confirmed in writing by the school to you as they offer you a job, i.e. prior to you accepting an offer.

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