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Salary question - mecanical engineer 2007/10/27 23:56
Hi there,
My company just asked me to go to Tokyo for them (3 years). I am German, mechanical engineer, more than 10 years work experience. Job would be being a project manager, that means visit our customers in the automotive industry, discuss technical and logistic matters, write reports and deal with the head office in Germany and production sites in Europe/Asia and explain the customer demands to them. Lots of business trips to Korea, China and Europe would be required. Currently I am a testing engineer in the German head office and have been working with Japanese customers for 4 years. My current pay is within the usual South German (Bavaria) pay scale (ERA 10).
What would be a reasonable pay for me in Tokyo? There is a company policy for that, but the chapter concerning pay is very soft. System is that they tell you the comparable salary for this job in Germany after taxes and so on, subtract savings and multiply with a COLA factor. Problem is that there is nearly no comparable job like that in Germany. And the Japanese guys in the office cant do the job because they have no deep insight in our products not the connection to the key persons of our head office. I have the feeling that our company policy just wants to combine the worst of Germany and Japan (means low German salary with long Japanese working hours). Still waiting for a proposal from our HR office.
My own idea is that I should make the same as one of the Japanese guys in our office + maybe 20K30%. But in German companies it is a no-no to talk about salary. HR dept would never tell me that Mr. X in Japan makes this and that money and get very angry if I even ask. What now is a reasonable demand? Another idea is that our company pays the apartment, and I would have around 4000 Euro/month net income (=650.000 Yen), including all (overtime, transport and so on).
What is your idea? Not enough, too much..? Thanks for help E
by Nils  

salary 2007/10/28 14:11
10years of experience + multilingual and project manager ranks high (maybe Bucho class?) in your office in japan for sure. if you are consulting as well then maybe much more...

500,000yen to 800,000yen or maybe 1,000,000yen is possibility

i mite be sick stereotyped ignorant but have image of european white collas are well paid ,so im not sure if salary of 500,000yen/month are enuf or not fo you. living cost of Tokyo is very high. altho the housing cost and transpotation is paid perks,if you eat out alot in tokyo will totals up high bill.

if i had 500K a month,my life will become glorious :)
by hodad rate this post as useful

... 2007/10/28 18:32
The company is paying for the apartment, then that amount is plenty for you to live on comfortably, and it's net amount, correct? Net of taxes and social security, etc?
The only thing I wonder about is if it's OK that the amount includes overtime and transportation... considering that it sounds like you will be
doing quite a bit of traveling (traveling to meet your customers, I suppose, possibly including some entertaining/dinner with guests, etc., etc.), you don't mind having all that included in the salary? If you mean only the daily commute between your apartment and office when you say "transporation," then it's OK.

By the way, I don't think there are many people here who are familiar with the German salaty scale :)
by AK rate this post as useful

Salary 2007/10/28 21:54
Hello, thank you for the answers so far.
About the salary of engineers in Germany (I wont go into detail of the payscale which is the result of negociations between workers union (IGM) and German metal industrie): starting salary is about 40.000 Euro before taxes, after 8..10 years around 55.000 Euro. If you can't get a job like a team leader or department leader, you will stay in this range until retirement. There is no big bonus system (in my company it was 1200 Euro this year). Tax and health insurance and other things are up to 50% from your salary for singles. There is nearly no room for negociations for a normal job (I and others tried), companies would prefer to let you go before they pay you 100 Euro more. In larger cities like Stuttgart and Munich the salary might be a little bit higher. However, I have some colleagues who started their career at BMW at Munich and changed to my company after some years because the cost of living there (rent, house prices) left them with less money than in this more rural area here.
by Nils rate this post as useful

Salary 2007/10/28 22:09
Well it is my wish that my company cares for the appartment. My rent here in Germany is 550 Euro including heating and maintenance fee (2 bedroom). If I move to another place for the job I expect my company to pay for the extra costs. And the 4000 Euros net is also my proposal. With transportation cost I mean the cost of going to work and back. Sure the company should pay for business trips. Concerning the entertainment, japanese automotive producer "A" has a strict policy, the employees are not allowed to accept any presents. I was surprised to hear that myself. It is different at japanese automotive producer producer "B" :-).
by Nils rate this post as useful

Income 2007/10/29 03:19
Some of the answer depends on how much they need you there and how much you want to go. If they are desperate for you I would say you should ask for 1,200,000 yen per month plus housing. I don't think that sounds like too much for a person with your background and experience. If there are lots of people capable of handling this job, but you are excited about going then you might ask for 1,000,000 yen per month, plus housing.

Ask for 1,200,000--hope for 1,000,000

Ask for 1,000,000--hope for 850,000.

Luckily, the Japanese don't usually expect foreigners to work the hours they do.

by Happee rate this post as useful

Salary question - mecanical engineer 2007/10/29 09:44

Whether you have a family join you in Japan & which area you will be living are all factors to keep in mind. Generally on an expat assignment the company pay for your accommodation, schooling (if you have children & for Japanese language lessons) & at least 1 flight home a year. The company usually also cover your traveling costs to work and home separate from your salary. For utilities you can work on a general cost of about 10% of your apartment lease amount.
by Mary rate this post as useful

4000.- Euro 2007/10/29 13:49
Hello Nils,
I am also a german engineer who who has been dispatched to Japan for 18 months now.
In my case I kept my original salary from Germany and the japanese subsidiary took care for the living costs.
Additionaly I have to pay here my income tax and living tax. About 20% of the original income.
Living costs for the Tokyo Area area are very high (much higher than Munich). Transport, eating, clothes, and going out are however comparable to Germany.
After you solve your salary issue, I recommend to clarify the holiday issue. In my case holidays exist almost only on the calendar. Overworking can be also an issue since it is a common practice here.

by Rakuda rate this post as useful

Proposal from HR department 2007/11/20 01:55
OK finally i got my salary proposal. It is net (after taxes and so on) 2900 Euro (13,25 times/year), appartment free. They expect me to work 40++ hours, overtime not paied, if I have to travel on weekends not paied, no bonus, nothing else. My salary here in Germany/small town is (based on 35 hours/week) including sometimes overtime and small bonus around 2700 Euro net. (I am single so I pay high taxes). My appartment here is (without utility costs) 400 Euro, so they expect me to go to Japan for net 600 Euro more. I really would have liked to go but...that proposal is really a joke.

Sayonara Japan and thank you for your support.

by Nils rate this post as useful

proposal 2007/11/20 13:11
Why don't you make a counter proposal??

Say you will go only IF they will pay you 4000Euro/month with the same conditions, or some other suitable figure.
by Sandy rate this post as useful

Counter proposure 2007/11/20 15:43
Yes, I thought about that. But they insist that the expat salary has been calculated by the renomated Mercer agency www.mercer.com (which is based on standart figures concerning housing allowance, spendable income and so on) and company policies don't allow to change that (based on a german salary). They said they will think about compensation my loss because I can't pay into german tax-free private pension funds (worth about 200 Euro/month) but thats all. I know that the guy I was supposed to replace gets more because at that time the company policy was different. Well I have one week to decide ... maybe I will tell them next monday that 3500 net + 200 as compensation for the pension fund loss is the bottom line.

by Nils rate this post as useful

Try 2007/11/20 16:40
You might as well try, as you have nothing to lose.

If you normally run a car in Germany, you can you ask them to pay for some other "allowance".
e.g. To run a car in Japan?? (even if you don't get a car)

by Sandy rate this post as useful

Hallo Niels 2007/11/20 17:01
Hi Niels,

I was reading the thread. Money is important, but it is not all. The opportunity to come and live in Japan is priceless. Think also about your rsum with 3 years experience in Japan. Your value in the market might get higher with that poit only. I read daily posts about people who dream to come here for different reason but can not. I mean it's not the paradise here but I bet you will get an experience for your live also. And rememeber it will be only for three years.
by Rakuda rate this post as useful

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