International Pay Scale
The Compensation Task Force (CTF) announced that beginning September 1st, 2015, all international field instructor pay scales would be adjusted to annual exchange rates. These wages are re-evaluated every January 1st. It was reaffirming to see the CTF’s solution fall in line with the drafted solutions written by the NIA as well as both Chilean and Indian Instructors. Please refer to the CTF Update for more specifics.
What happens when the dollar weakens?
With every great plan, there are downsides. In this situation, it is important to remember how the strength of today’s dollar plays into this. This solution was driven by strong feedback from faculty and is based on the unacceptable discrepancy between wages in some areas. This solution means a significant change in wages (upwards) for many staff starting September 1st, based on the local currency being so weak in comparison. However, at some point the US dollar will weaken again. It might be next year or 10 years from now. When it weakens, those paid in a different currency will see an associated pay cut in local currencies. By faculty strongly advocating for this solution and ultimately getting this solution, we're accepting a situation where at some point in the future, some staff might see a year on year 10-30% pay cut. When drafting potential solutions for the CTF to consider, most international instructors acknowledged this possibility and accepted the inherent risks as an inevitable part of working for a dynamic organization, such as NOLS. The NIA and CTF hope to raise the awareness for this possibility down the line.
NIA members have been concerned with the disparity in pay rates at different NOLS campuses around the world. Put simply, the same instructor, working at the same level (e.g. PL), has been paid differently depending on where their course takes place. NOLS policies, exchange rates, and differing national labor laws all play into this. In some countries local instructors are paid more than their American counterparts. We understand the need to pay faculty in some countries at a higher pay scale, and have supported this as an early and forward-thinking step toward higher compensation for all. However, in other instances (India, Chile, and occasionally Canada) local instructors have historically been paid less than they would have been had their course taken place in the United States. Some locations were seeing a 40% difference when working in their home country.
International Compensation Survey Results
In the hopes of supporting our fellow instructors as well as gathering clear, hard data for the CTF, the NIA set out to investigate how this system could be made more equitable. A survey was created that gathered a broad range of opinions that we feel accurately represent affected staff on this issue. The results were shared with the CTF and the EDT.
37 instructors participated in this survey. While this is a low number, we believe that it was representative of the majority of international staff adversely affected.
• 10 (out of 480) American Instructors responded (added here only for the sake of comparison)International Pay Scale Resources
International Pay Scale Facts Summary
What’s NextThe CTF will now shift its attention to some of the in-town wage issues and the impact of inflation on compensation increases. They will communicate next when they have something to report; the NIA will continue to post updates as they become available.