If you’ve been thinking that now is a good time to test out expat life, one of the biggest things to consider is employment. Sure, there are more jobs than ever that allow for remote work these days, but there’s also the option of working in a different country. And with that comes different salary expectations. William-Russell, a company that provides expat insurance, created a calculator to give you an idea of what you could be making if you did your same job in a different country.
The calculator compares the average salaries of careers in the 38 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
Switzerland had the highest average salaries (and the highest cost of living) followed by the United States. Turkey had both the lowest average salary and the lowest cost of living.
To use the calculator, all you have to do is a pick a profession that you’re curious about, select whether you want the results listed in British pounds or American dollars, and then see the results.
Average for a journalist in the United States is listed as $54,000, for example, while it’s more than $118,000 in Switzerland. In Mexico, the average journalist earns a little more than $6,000 per year. Healthcare professions are an interesting example as well. Countries with private healthcare options have higher paid medical professionals (and, of course, higher cost to individuals). The average dentist in the US makes about $166,000 while in Germany that number is closer to $54,000.
Bartenders in the US make about $33,000 on average. That’s on the higher end for the countries listed, though Australia ($36,000), Denmark ($38,000), and Switzerland ($51,000) all have higher averages.
Of course, just because there are higher paying options in other countries doesn’t mean that you could get the same job. That depends on the visa requirements, timing, and whether there are even any jobs available that you qualify for. It’s relatively easy for US citizens to live and work the expat life in Costa Rica, while there are special programs for anyone interested in becoming an expat in Australia.
You also have to consider the cost of living. Some countries pay a lot more for jobs simply because it’s a lot more expensive to live there. Living in Zurich is even more expensive than living in San Francisco, for example. A lower average salary may actually go further than a higher one when you factor in living expenses.
William-Russell also calculated the least expensive countries to live in based on OECD data on price level indexes.
The least expensive countries to live in
- Czech Republic
- Costa Rica
Despite the many factors that influence the average salary and how much it costs to live in a country, the tool is an interesting look at what you could be making elsewhere.