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language link vs BKC
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canucktechie



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 343
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I just had a look at rabota.ru. A Computer programmer, which is what I used to be, gets paid around $1000/month on average. I don't know if that is before or after taxes.

Now a 2nd year teacher at BKC gets $625 a month plus free housing worth about $250 a month. There's also a metro pass worth $10 a month. That adds up to $885 a month after taxes.

BKC also pays a flight allowance of $800 annually, and visa support and consular fees which add up to about $400. So that's another $100/month.

So in a nutshell an English teacher gets the SAME overall renumeration as a qualified computer programmer. And believe me, it's a much easier job - I've done both of them.

Oh and by the way, the IT postings on rabota.ru all specify age ranges, which is illegal where I come from. BKC does not practice age discrimination.

Now I'm sure there are positions in business admin or what have you that pay more, but since I'm not qualified for that kind of work, it's a moot question, isn't it?

And of course you can make more money teaching privates, which is what a lot of people do, and I might well do myself.
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Phillip Donnelly



Joined: 24 Mar 2004
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to be pedantic, but I feel bound to correct a couple of minor corrections re Canucktechieís entry and BKC-IH rates of pay.
Firstly, the flight allowance is 500 dollars normally but 650 for non-Europeans.
Secondly, consular fees vary from country to country and even with each country it varies depending on how much notice you give them (in the UK it tends to be 150 pounds, I believe). Apart from the consular fees, you also need a letter of invitation. Through Visa House, for example, it would be 295 USD for the letter of invitation, plus 60 dollars for UPS if you need to send it abroad. On top of this, there is the registration fee. However, the registration market is quite unstable at the moment. If the landlord does it, it's not expensive, but if you do it through the agency, it could be another 100USD. So, the total visa cost paid by BKC-IH is 610 dollars.
Canucktechie also forgot to mention the end of contract bonus (50 dollars a month). Finally, the accommodation allowance is 210 (from September). However, I agree with Canucktechie that you probably couldnít find accommodation on your own for under 250 per month.
So, letís take another look at the figures:

Visa cost 650 (Approximately)
Flight allowance 500
Bonus 450 (for a typical 9-month contract)
Metro 10
Accomodation 210


That adds up to 1820 dollars. This figure needs to be divided by 9 and not 12, as 9 months is the typical contract length. So, thatís 200 dollars per month plus the monthly salary of 625-750 (depending on qualifications and experience) for a second contract teacher (75 dollars less for a first-contract teacher). This gives us a total monthly salary of 825 to 950.
I agree with Canucktechie that Russians are not generally well paid (even professionals) and a salary of nearly a thousand dollars a month in real terms in probably above average here.
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waxwing



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 719
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly, I'd say that I largely concur with the above two posts, but I have a little to add ... as usual Smile
Firstly, I believe the offers on rabota.ru are gross (before tax). The income tax rate is 13% I believe (at least for a Russian citizen).
I agree with the finger in the air quote of $1000/month for a qualified professional. Of course that is incredibly vague, but still.

Thirdly, I'd like to pick up Phillip's calculation - it seems to me to be misleading to compare a salary for a teacher including flight and visa costs with a local's salary. Locals don't have any such overhead. I'm not arguing about whether the school has any moral responsibility to foot this bill, only about whether the comparison is meaningful - I don't think it is. But I suppose it doesn't make such a huge difference.
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canucktechie



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 343
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it seems to me to be misleading to compare a salary for a teacher including flight and visa costs with a local's salary

Yes, but the point is if I wanted to work in the Russian IT industry, I would incur these costs. Not to mention having to speak fluent Russian.
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waxwing



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 719
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, well, if you want to make that comparison (and I, too, have thought about it - like you, I used to work in IT), then I'm afraid it's a no-brainer, because even if you are prepared to work at the same rates as the local, and are prepared to pay for flights, your employer will have a big headache with paperwork, money and time to sort out your legal working status.

Except with very high-powered management positions, it isn't worth considering a foreigner generally. Of course there will always be 'corners' in the market where you could conceivably squeeze yourself in.
I've seen a few interesting discussions about those issues on the 'expat.ru' forum.

I simply wanted to compare the spending power of an EFL teacher with a typical Russian professional. Extending that discussion further, I have a feeling (from various discussions with people) that people here tend to own their own apartments rather than rent them. I guess this all goes back to what happend in the wake of perestroika .. hmm I might ask people about that and get back to you. Any thoughts?
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Communist Smurf



Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 330
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a question for you two former IT guys. Did you obtain a work permit for these jobs? I read somewhere that in order to obtain a work permit in Russia, you need to prove, as a foreigner, that a Russian cannot do the same job that you're applying for. Meaning, Russians can't teach English as well as an Englishmen, or be a tour-guide for English-speakers. I don't know how closely they stick to this rule.

I imagine it's a tough job market in Russia...? Non-Russians being programmers in Russia. Aren't Russian programmers supposed to be the best?

I read about this in a book called "Live and work in Russia and CIS" or something like that.

I only ask because I'm curious.
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zaneth



Joined: 31 Mar 2004
Posts: 545
Location: Between Russia and Germany

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think their IT experience was at home.

Yes, many have their own apartments. They also often have a summer garden cabin in the family, and usually a grandmother who provides vegetables and jam and other such things.

I don't think I know anybody who receives all of their salary open and fully taxed, or who has only one job. Or who talks openly about what they do for a living. The standard "what do you do?" question in the States is a non-starter here. I think it's difficult to know what people are actually making. What they'll admit to and what they're actually getting are different.

I felt guilty for a while about making a "better than average" salary. But now I know that lots and lots of Russians are doing better than me. I'm just the poor squirly foreigner.

The $1,000 air figure sounds about right to me. And yes, they're working harder for that than I am for my paltry sum. And the ones in Moscow are putting up with a lower standard of living (by my measures).

There are also a lot of professionals who have to commute long distances for decent jobs. Like weekly commutes.
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canucktechie



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 343
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The IT job market here is a lot better than back home. And the reason is very simple - the jobs that are disappearing in the US, Canada, etc. are going to low-wage places like India, Russia, etc.

I don't know what paperwork would be needed for a foreigner to work in IT here but I would expect like everything else here it would be difficult.

In fact I would extend this to any professional position, except for "expat" positions working for Western companies in Moscow. These are the places where foreigners are making good money.
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waxwing



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 719
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, this has been a pretty interesting thread Smile

canuck, I agree with the first sentence in your last post.

But I think we should mention another side to it - this is largely just opinion, but let's see if people agree:
I think that the IT outsourcing boom has been very much focussed on India .. China may well have picked up some, along with other Asian countries, but China's economic boom is largely manufacturing-based, as I understand. Russia has also made progress in this area, but it has big disadvantages compared to India: 1. the language barrier 2. costs are generally higher in Russia than India (having spent several months in both countries I can kind of vouch for that) and 3. Russia has a most unfortunate reputation for severe corruption and lawlessness (India isn't free of it, of course, I mean comparatively).
Probably Russia does win out over India in the very highly intellectual aspects of technology. It does have a reputation for very highly skilled programmers.
As an example, Intel have a huge development centre in Nizhny Novgorod. They have recently had a big recruitment drive, but their job adverts very specifically state that their positions are only open to those who have the legal right to live and work in Russia - which basically means residence, I guess.

And that brings me around to CS's question about working legality. I'll tell you that my visa has 'dyelovaya' as its 'Tsel' (i.e. the purpose of the visit is business) - which presumably means I'm not working 100% legally. But I know I am paying tax (I won't say any more because that's not fair on my employers).

I think service areas like 'IT' are still a weak area in Russia. Russia's economy has a severe lack of diversity, and depends hugely on the flow of natural resources.
Companies like Cz, Pol etc. do a lot better because of European ties (especially now), and legislation, and the general perception that they are not so hideously difficult to do business in.
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yossibz



Joined: 02 Jun 2004
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:11 pm    Post subject: BKC Reply with quote

I worked for BKC for 5 months.

I had intended to stay for at least 9 months, but the split shifts and on-site commuting by metro/minibus just did me in. I was leaving my apartment at 7 AM and getting back between 7PM and 10:30PM, and was exhausted most of the time. There is no getting around this part of the job, but I don't think BKC is any worse in this regard than similar schools. However, the longer people worked for them, the more choice they had about hours and locations.

The company provides apartments, which vary a great deal. Mine was a dump, but in all fairness to BKC, I never asked to change to something better. Several teachers I knew were re-located to better flats, and the school seemed quite obliging about it.

The visa process for Russia is pretty harrowing, and not cheap. It also didn't end after I got there. The authorities kept my passport for over a month (although a week or 2 was the case for most people). BKC took care of all the paperwork, and dealt with the bureaucracy. They also reimbursed most of the visa expenses.

One thing the school was very good about was pay. I don't think the pay packets were ever more than 2 days late, and usually they were right on time. Also, there is a bonus paid if you stay the full 9 months. Even though I only worked 5 months, BKC gave me a pro-rated bonus, which they didn't have to do.

Because of BKC's size, they get some interesting clients (I worked on-site at a big oil company and the Mosfilm movie studios). They also run a summer camp, where you're encouraged to teach for at least 2 weeks. Some teachers loved it, others hated it. The kids were not at all motivated during the camp, unlike in the after-school classes in Moscow, where they were quite eager to learn.

Hope this helps.
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moosechick



Joined: 25 May 2004
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes it does. Very Happy that was exactly the kind of stuff I needed to know. Cheers.
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