X has one or more internships available that lasts between 4-6 months in the capital of another country. This means that I have to move there. They offered me a low salary that is 1/5 of my current salary and was told that it was not negotiable. The pay is so low that it is barely enough for rent.

I told the person that it will be difficult to live so that I do have a part-time job sideways to cope pay rent and have money left over for food. When I told them I need to have another part-time job. They said no, because the risk of being burned out is going to increase. First, they did not bother, but subsequent interview we talked again about the salary that increased the salary by 1/5 of the salary that I was offered. Despite this, it is low in order to live there.

  1. I looked at the Glass Door and saw that their trainees are paid $22/h in the US. If we compare this full-time job with the salary I was offered, I get 1/5 of the US wage.
  2. The company is in the stock market and traded at> $ 50.
  3. In 2016 the company >$1 billion in revenue.
  4. The job description states that they offer competitive salaries.

So why would I still be there? They offer me such a job so that it goes hand in hand with where I want to be the next 5 years.

What do you think I should do? They said non-negotiable, but increased slightly. They said they would get in touch before they would talk to their managers about the salary.

  • 7
    What the company pays in one country really has nothing to do with what they are willing to pay in another, so I'd encourage you not to bother with such comparisons. There are companies who have programmers in the US making over $100,000 US, while they have employees doing similar work oversees for wages that would be illegal in the US (less than minimum wage), but that doesn't mean they'd be willing to pay you the US salary in some other country. You can try to negotiate, take the hit and rely on family/savings, or turn them down. And remember: they didn't get rich writing checks to interns. – BrianH Apr 6 '17 at 1:30
  • 6
    Your question doesn't make clear why you NEED to take THIS internship. Are you particularly low on options, or is it that amazing a company? The reason could shape answers, especially since you imply that you already have a job. – Weckar E. Apr 6 '17 at 6:41
  • 1
    "The company is in the stock market and traded at> $ 50." : the stock price means nothing, you have to look at [stock price] * [number of stocks] for the figure to be relevant. – Thalantas Apr 6 '17 at 9:49
  • 3
    @Thalantas: even then, it's still not relevant to the job offer. What a company is worth, how much they make, etc has absolutely nothing to do with an employment offer unless we are talking about a position whose compensation is significantly driven by company valuation. – NotMe Apr 6 '17 at 14:15
  • 1
    Why are you even considering a position with 1/5 of your current pay? Unless there are some really compelling reasons for you to take the position, just move on. – dyeje Apr 7 '17 at 19:26

Some internships either don't pay at all or pay far too little. There will always be candidates who can afford this. For example, their parents may be funding them, so that they don't need to pay their own rent and food, nor save for the next year's schooling. Further, there will always be candidates who can't afford it, because they need to meet their expenses from their income.

Companies know that they are drawing from a smaller pool of candidates when they offer little or no pay. Famous companies that look good on your resume, or that might hire you after you perform well on an internship, can get away with this: enough good candidates will want to be there that the jobs will be filled with good interns. You see this in yourself: you really want to be there despite the atrocious salary.

I don't happen to feel these things are fair. A big multinational company should be able to pay everyone a living wage and not demand subsidies from those just starting out. Yet I supported one of my children who got a work term job 10,000 miles from home that would pay only enough to eat, and provided him a university residence room to live in. He was unable to save for the next school term, and needed cash top-ups from us to fund explorations and excursions in the far-away country. We did it because we felt it was terrific experience for him. The company wasn't exploitive, because the salary was in fact more than locals would have been paid for the work. I am sure you can imagine there are some parents who would support a child of theirs to enable them to take an internship with a prestigious company like the one you're considering.

I expect there is nothing you can do to raise the salary for this internship to a level that would support you without a family subsidy. If you have no way to make up the shortfall for 4-6 months, you probably just can't take this internship.

  • 1
    Another factor is that from the OP the internship will be international - many countries pay their employees less than the US (often because benefits are better) and interns even moreso. I know I had intern colleagues in Germany once when I was interning in the USA) and I made a considerable amount more than them. People there were generally ok with this, because college costs in Germany were considerably less than mine in the USA, which sort of evened things out. – enderland Apr 6 '17 at 2:47
  • 1
    Also keep in mind that a great many internships both in the US and abroad are technically illegal for one reason or another. As a foreign national you may have no recourse if this happens to bite you. – Weckar E. Apr 6 '17 at 6:42

If an employer is not concerned that you are able to eat and afford decent housing, then go to a different employer.

Here in the US fast food employers are much maligned for their low pay. However, they pay their employees hourly, at or more than the minimum wage, and accept that many of their employees will work multiple jobs.

This situation sounds much worse. You cannot hold a second job, you will be making less than minimum wage, and you will probably be working a lot of overtime.

In this case "No" is a complete sentence.

  • 2
    "However, they pay their employees hourly, at or more than the minimum wage, and accept that many of their employees will work multiple jobs." +1 a million times. As much as people rag on jobs like those (retail, etc.), those jobs are generally understanding that's it's likely not your "main job." – Robert Dundon Apr 6 '17 at 14:48

Red flag. The employer is telling you already you are not worth the money and you should be happy to work for them as it would look good on your resume, right? It would "open doors"? If it can't cover basic food and rent, and they say taking a second job would cause "burnout" -- run away from these freeloaders as far and as fast as you can. Your health and sanity, along with having a decent roof and food to eat, is absolutely necessary for you to keep and maintain.

  • +1 for mentioned the burnout comment from the prospective employer as a red flag. That reflects more on the employer's ethics than the actual pay offered. – Robert Dundon Apr 6 '17 at 14:49

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.