Thursday, October 6, 2011

Moving Abroad: Is It Worth It?

It's just the first article in a series of comparing standards of living from point of view of IT professionals. The series primarily intended for software developers living in Estonia — a very small country in the north-eastern part of European Union.

Estonia is beautiful. As any other country in the world. But some people living here keep thinking about moving to other countries. Including me. For different reasons described here.

It simply makes no sense to compare standards of living in different countries based on salary ranges solely. Taxes are different, price levels are different. However, cost of living indexed net salary is quite good for draft comparison.

Numbeo can be used to roughly compare standards of living. It provides Cost of Living Index of many cities and whole countries. Price level in New York is taken for 100%.

Most experiences Java developers in Estonia earn somewhere from €1,550 to €3,000 a month gross. That is from €1,200 to €2,300 a month net. Here is a really good salary calculator for Estonia.

Java developer salaries for other countries are taken from Monster. Online net salary calculators are used for Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.

Charts represent the same information visually. The first one shows how gross salaries are different.

The next charts shows net salaries. And bars there are less different than in the first chart, because taxes are usually higher in countries with higher salaries.

And the last chart shows cost of living indexed net salaries. Here all countries look about the same.

Moving from Estonia doesn't give more money in most cases. But there are many other reasons. So, it's not worth moving from Estonia for bigger money. Unless you need something else.