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jollyjeffers

Comparing UK and US salaries

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Afternoon all, Not that I'm looking to jump ship to another job right now, but I do like to keep an eye on what else is around. Whilst there are more than enough good technology jobs for me here in the UK if I do any poking around I often bump into various companies based in the USA that are offering interesting positions... I wouldn't choose a job purely on the salary but it is one of the few facts that a lot of avertisements include such that I got wondering about how a UK and US salary compares. Importantly you can't just do a currency conversion as the cost of living is going to be different. What little I know of life on the other side of the pond it seems generally cheaper than here in the UK. If an entry level salary for a graduate at a big company is £21,000 - £28,000 (just based off my own recent experience as well as my friend's salaries - grad salaries are artifically inflated though) what would the equivalent be in the USA? Based on the exchange rate it'd be $41,850 - $55,800. I couldn't find any good sources of information online, but this site (US version) seems to put the actual take-home after taxes to be marginally higher in the US for a numerically equivalent salary. But that doesn't include anything w.r.t. house prices, bills and other general living costs... I'm posting here because I'm sure there are plenty of people who've either come up with the same question or who know enough about living costs (etc..) in respective countries [smile] EDIT: Just to clarify... If my living costs in a nice part of London are around £800/month and anything else is 'fun money' what would I need for a similar deal state-side? TiA, Jack

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This really depends on where you live in the US. Cost of living varies alot, even within the same state. In general, but not always, living in/near a city is more expensive than living in a more rural area.

In fact, even stuff like food and clothing can vary. Where I used to live, food and clothing weren't taxed, and were generally cheaper. Where I live now, food is more expensive and is taxed (and I'm so used to no tax on food, that when I'm checking out and the extra 10usd or so is added to the price I just about go nuts...)

Also check vehicle laws where you live. Some states require "emission checks" or some nonsense every year, which can cost quite a lot.

None of these things are super expensive, but they all add up to a big chunk of money when you sit down with a calculator....

I don't know a reliable place for cost-of-living statistics, but you might want the check the US Department of Labor or something...

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Thanks for the reply.

I figured it'd vary where in the country you lived/worked - same thing here (North UK is usually cheaper than South East UK). From articles and listings I've read the obvious one is Seattle as theres no shortage of tech companies over there. California also seems to get mentioned regularly as do New York and Washington (although the latter I'm not sure if they meant the state or the city).

Quote:
None of these things are super expensive, but they all add up to a big chunk of money when you sit down with a calculator....
Yeah, I know the feeling [headshake]... I suppose the whole point of this thread is to work out how big that 'chunk of money' really is, and work backwards from there to a salary...


Quote:
you might want the check the US Department of Labor or something...
Good idea, thanks!

It seems to have a fair number of statistics about cost of living, consumer price index and so on - but I'm not sufficiently economically minded (economics is the only subject I actually failed at school [lol]) to make sense of them. From what I see it's only useful for comparisons internally and you can't really draw any international comparisons.

Cheers,
Jack

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Quote:
Original post by jollyjeffers
[...]If an entry level salary for a graduate at a big company is £21,000 - £28,000 (just based off my own recent experience as well as my friend's salaries - grad salaries are artifically inflated though) what would the equivalent be in the USA? Based on the exchange rate it'd be $41,850 - $55,800.[..]
You can find information on national averages at this Bureau of Labor Statistics page. As you can see on this other BLS Page about my specific area, some parts of the country are significantly below the national average.

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Don't forget healthcare. While we might complain constantly about the state of the NHS in this country, it's easy to take free healthcare for granted and forget that doctors' time and medical procedures and drugs etc. actually cost money. Sometimes quite a lot of money.

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Original post by Extrarius
You can find information on national averages at this Bureau of Labor Statistics page.
Interesting summary, but that pretty much matches what I already knew - numerically the salaries aren't too different. I was looking at the game developers survey for 2006 that put programmers at $55k-120k with a mean of $88k (off the top of my head).

The bit I can't figure out is that if I were living in, for example, Seattle with a nice enough flat or small house and earning $55,000 would I be richer or poorer than living in London on £28,000? After all the boring stuff was out of the way, which situation would have more spending money...


Quote:
While we might complain constantly about the state of the NHS in this country
We complain? Never...

Well in my part of the world some people don't complain too much as they're making a tidy profit off the back of the NHS [rolleyes]

Quote:
it's easy to take free healthcare for granted and forget that doctors' time and medical procedures and drugs etc. actually cost money. Sometimes quite a lot of money.
Yup, I suppose that is important to factor in. Yet another statistic that I don't have [lol]

Cheers,
Jack

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The 41k - 55k is spot-on for my region for a college grad. I'd say that the 55k figure is even a little high, as most grads will probably start in the mid forties. However, the cost of living here is very reasonable. A single guy can own a house and live pretty well out here on that salary.

With a salary of 45k in someplace like San Francisco you'd probably have to have roommates and do all of your shopping at Wal-mart just to make ends meet.

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Quote:
Original post by smr
I'd say that the 55k figure is even a little high, as most grads will probably start in the mid forties.
Yeah, the £28k/$55k figure is the high end here - the only tech grads I know on higher are working in the city, but that's always silly money.

Quote:
Original post by smr
A single guy can own a house and live pretty well out here on that salary.

With a salary of 45k in someplace like San Francisco you'd probably have to have roommates and do all of your shopping at Wal-mart just to make ends meet.
Sounds roughly equivalent to over here; maybe there isn't so much difference between the two...

Cheers,
Jack

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I am doing a CompSci + Eng degree in UK and have one year left. I am currently working a year in industry in Westminster, London at about ~£20k base salary. If I returned there when I graduate it will probably be about ~£26-30k

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