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I'm currently working for a Norwegian company in Oslo. As a result I am being paid in a salary which converted back to Euros makes me appear to my friends back in Ireland to be filthy rich.

And indeed I sort of am. Sure. Most of my salary is lost on $2000 rent, $10 beers and the like, but the percentage of my salary I save is about the same as I would be saving back home and x% of a lot is much more than x% of a little.

A change seems to be in order however. My company wants to transfer me to another country which is to Ireland what Ireland is to Norway. That is it is still a decent modern country but with a substantially lower cost of living.

Career wise this move makes a lot of sense for me and I am completely fine personally with the move. I do miss sunlight.

However the big concern is the pay... Given the lower cost of living it goes without saying that I will be seeing a wage drop, even though this technically will be a diagonal promotion my current salary over there would really be according to glassdoor very senior management level.

How can I best handle negotiations to ensure that this drop is kept to a minimum and that I can maintain a decent quality of life whilst still saving a reasonable amount of money?

How can the fact that I have not had a pay raise in recent years (pretty standard in Norway due to the already high costs) be brought into play for this?

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  • Is this a secondment or are you effectively changing employers you need to get hold of the company procedure son his as they vary widely eg I was looking at a job in "kuala lumpur" and that was on full expat terms and I have worked for companies that had EHP Extra Hazard Pay dependant on country Angola was 200% I recall – Neuromancer Oct 14 '17 at 20:04
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    @Dukeling none of those other answers apply at all – Neuromancer Oct 14 '17 at 20:05
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    @Neuromancer The first step to negotiation is knowing what is a reasonable salary. A lot of the same points apply when negotiating a salary on a promotion - both involve staying at the company. The arguments available to use when asking for a raise is similar to what you can use in negotiating a salary for a new position. – Dukeling Oct 14 '17 at 21:16
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    Don't count your chickens before they hatch...It seems like almost every time I use the phrase "it goes without saying..." I end up being surprised. Wait for them to "say" before jumping to conclusions. – AffableAmbler Oct 14 '17 at 22:56
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There is a key point you are not mentioning: Are you being relocated permanently to a local contract of that country? Is that the reason they are lowering your wages?

I would flat out reject such a thing.

When you move internationally there are a couple of things you need to understand:

  1. You bring a lot of value to the company.
  2. People willing to relocate to a foreign country with the right experience (internal to the company) are very hard to find.

Therefore, when moving to a different country you are looking always to improve your current conditions. If you are based in Norway it doesn’t matter at all you are Irish and that you are saving quite a lot of EUR when converting your NOK. You need to see your move as temporal and never lose net salary. What if you are returning to Norway in some years and couldn’t save a penny because of the difference in salaries? That would not be acceptable.

I’ve been moved by my employers twice, once from Spain to Germany, with a considerable bump in salary compensation due to differences in cost of living and another from Germany to France where the cost of living was in my favor (the city I moved to in France was cheaper than Germany) but never lost any money and still I got advantages.

Never lose money when moving internationally within one company.

If they want to pay local salaries, then they should just hire local people.

  • European laws are not the American ones. International transfers can’t easily (if at all) be forced to employees – eballes Oct 14 '17 at 22:44
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    Still Europe. We have rights as employees :) – eballes Oct 14 '17 at 22:47
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    Many of the laws are harmonized between European countries (not just EU countries, also). Of course there are differences. For example in Finland your employer is well within rights to make you move to another city due to work. If you refuse, they are allowed to fire you. But I'm not sure if this applies for moves to foreign countries (it is very rare). – Juha Untinen Oct 15 '17 at 10:11
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Given the lower cost of living it goes without saying that I will be seeing a wage drop

I don't know if the relevant laws allow you to refuse a transfer, or allow lowering your wages. I'll assume you do know, and that you will go along with the transfer, then answer the questions you actually asked.

I'll let others weigh in on "rights of refusal".

How can I best handle negotiations to ensure that this drop is kept to a minimum and that I can maintain a decent quality of life whilst still saving a reasonable amount of money?

Learn and understand how the cost of living in your new locale compares to your current locale.

Do a search for "international cost of living calculator" and use some of the results to help in this comparison. That will give you an idea of what it will cost to maintain your decent quality of life. You also want to consider local laws regarding benefits in your new locale. Standard benefits might be better or worse.

Additionally, look on your company's career site to see if they are posting for positions similar to yours, and what they might be offering.

You might also contact others in your company who live in the new locale and learn what they are making, and what the local cost of living might be.

Likely your company will be doing the same using their own data. When you get an offer, you can then go into the negotiation with some sense of what you will want to receive in your new locale.

How can the fact that I have not had a pay raise in recent years (pretty standard in Norway due to the already high costs) be brought into play for this?

Once you know what a level move to the new locale will entail as far as salary, increase it by whatever percent of raise you feel you should get.

Also remember that things other than salary can be negotiated. Moving expenses, additional time off, stock options, etc - all might be part of a negotiation.

In negotiations, knowledge and leverage are key. You can get the knowledge as I have described above. Your value to the company and your willingness to walk away from an offer that is less than you desire will determine your leverage.

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    If you are being moved by the company to another country there is no point in losing money. If destination is more expensive, they should compensate for that. If not then you keep your salary and you get other perks (e.g. housing, travel back home, moving allowance etc.). If they want to move you into a local low-paid contract you just don’t move... the only reason I see for such a thing is if you are a national for that country and really wants to go back. The company wants you there for a reason (internal know how, transfer of knowledge, etc.) and should pay you for that. – eballes Oct 14 '17 at 21:16
  • It doesn’t look OP knows how international transfers within companies work. Even if he’s eager to move he should not make a fool of himself. Normally he shall keep his Norwegian contract. In general wages of employees can’t be easily reduced (union and labor laws forbid that). If he moves to a local contract that’s a cheeky move by the company and he should reject the transfer. Fortunately in Europe, the rejection of such a thing wouldn’t mean the dismissal of the employee. You need to understand that leaving your country and change to a foreign contract entails many changes (e.g. pension) – eballes Oct 14 '17 at 23:03
  • I think there’s a whole lot of different expectations between the US point of view and the European in this particular case – eballes Oct 14 '17 at 23:05

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