CUSTOMER SERVICE WAGE VS RENT
Working and living abroad is a great experience.
Before you do, compare what is good for you!
When you are looking for a job abroad, it is good to understand a little bit how your wages compare to your monthly cost of living. Rent is a major aspect of your monthly expenses. We have heard people say that your rent should not be more than for example 30% of your wages. This would be nice, but this is not always true. Your situation is what you decide it to be. Therefore, we can only say: gather information and try to be sensible with your choices. In this article we look at how monthly rent and expenses relate to an average monthly wage in a customer service job.
Statistics can be deceiving, so let us first break down our method. Our data is based on 2019 averages.
Net CS Wage is the monthly average starter net expat wage for customer service (CS) positions. The wages are based our own experience working as recruiters, feedback from our candidates and indicative salary platforms. Wages are indicative and can be different for everybody. Also, wages will increase or decrease over time, because of demand, economic circumstances or seniority. We have not found any reports of gender or age gaps in customer service wages. Note, if you are not working in customer service: take the rent you pay, divide by your salary and multiply by 100% and get your personal percentage.
Rent is based on a 1-bedroom (20-25m2) apartment in the center of the capital. Usually, outside the city center (or in other cities) the rent for similar apartments is lower. This difference is important to understand. A lower rent means an increase of your monthly disposable income possibilities. In this case you accept some travel time and transportation cost in exchange for lower rent. And by the way, many employers are not located in the center. Renting close to work in the center is not always an obvious choice.
Rent % indicates how much of your Net CS Wage you will spent on monthly Rent.
This overview should be seen in a larger context. Namely, when you choose a job location many other factors play a role. The rent is indeed a large part of your monthly expenses, but you should also keep in mind other cost of living. In countries the cost of living are very different. If you choose a more expensive apartment and the cost of living are high, you end up with less financial possibilities. For a full comparison find our articles on Cost of Living or check websites such as Numbeo.com and Expatistan.com. Typically northern EU countries have higher cost of living than southern EU countries.
Other than monetary influence factors, you might also choose a location because you have friends or relatives there, you like the culture, food or weather, availability of good health care or you appreciate a country is well structured. For others the future outlook of professional growth may play a role. Or you may evaluate if you will succeed in a different management culture. Our choices involve many aspects or our personal and professional needs. For advise you can always contact us.
The EU 28 average shows that the average rent represents 66.7% of our monthly expenses. This is a large portion of your income. Keep in mind individual salaries may be different, and a higher or lower rent does not say much about the state of the apartment or other living conditions.
|Country||Net CS Wage||Rent||Rent %|
|€ 1310||€ 874||66.7%|
|€ 1755||€ 857||48.8%|
|€ 1833||€ 834||45.5%|
|€ 1000||€ 354||35.4%|
|€ 703||€ 428||60.9%|
|€ 888||€ 709||79.8%|
|€ 1550||€ 1272||82%|
|€ 961||€ 505||52.5%|
|€ 1477||€ 913||61.8%|
|€ 2117||€ 1158||54.7%|
|€ 1634||€ 865||52.9%|
|€ 844||€ 341||40.4%|
|€ 628||€ 482||76.8%|
|€ 2503||€ 1528||61%|
|€ 1801||€ 1638||91%|
|€ 1056||€ 1007||95.4%|
|€ 634||€ 383||60.4%|
|€ 446||€ 499||118.8%|
|€ 1832||€ 1523||83.1%|
|€ 2218||€ 1227||55.3%|
|€ 647||€ 562||86.9%|
|€ 748||€ 868||160.4%|
|€ 442||€ 382||86.4%|
|€ 819||€ 526||64.2%|
|€ 729||€ 586||80.4%|
|€ 1514||€ 893||59%|
|€ 2774||€ 914||32.9%|
|€ 1677||€ 1156||69%|
|€ 1457||€ 2050||140.7%|
Customer Service Wage versus Renting in Capital
Differences between countries are big. Some might even surprise you. And, bear in mind that your wage is probably not much different, but your rent depends on your choices. Overall, we see that with a customer service wage living alone in the center is not always the best option.
Top 5 HIGH wage
Top 5 LOW wage
Top 5 HIGH rent
Top 5 LOW rent
Top 5 HIGH rent %
Top 5 LOW rent %
In this overview we see Switzerland does very well with a high salary and a low rent as a percentage of the wages. For instance, runner-up Iceland sounds great, but the rent is high too. England and Ireland do not have a top 5 salary, but are listed in the top 5 high rent %. Romania has low wages, lower rent, but not a low Rent %, not an ideal situation. If we focus on where you would have the most disposable income after rent expenses – the last column – Switzerland, Bulgaria, Greece, Belgium and Austria stand out. So, in terms of a good rent deal vs income, these countries are good options.
The rent of an apartment is one thing. But, you also need to pay monthly utilities: electricity, water, gas, garbage and heating. The below indications are monthly averages, because in different seasons your cost can be higher or lower.
The amounts below are based on a 85m2 apartment in the capital of the country. It is not entirely possible to take a percentage of these cost for smaller size apartments, but you do get an idea.
|€ 157,15||€ 144,57||€ 132,54||€ 93,31|
|€ 130,48||€ 151,09||€ 158,68||€ 204,38|
|€ 96,52||€ 244,89||€ 138,11||€ 184,92|
|€ 172,98||€ 139,37||€ 155,92||€ 134,94|
|€ 161,46||€ 153,91||€ 177,29||€ 77,16|
|€ 174,50||€ 90,93||€ 145,47||€ 184,01|
|€ 188,61||€ 146,28||€ 94,28||€ 166,99|
Utilities per month for 85m2 apartment in the capital
Note that the overview Customer Service Wage versus Renting in Capital indicates prices for 20-25m2 apartments, where the Utilities per month for 85m2 apartment in the capital overview is indicative for 85m2 apartments. Generally speaking, the utility cost for a smaller apartment could be less. Our purpose is to illustrate utility cost are different in each country. With that, we always advise to ask your future landlord how much monthly cost you can expect.
A higher salary or a lower rent is not always the best situation. The Rent % of Net Wage is a better tool for comparison. Added to this, it is also good to look at the Consumer Price Index for each country. In our article Taxes in Europe we also look at these indices. So, the Rent % combined with the Consumer Price Index gives you the best idea, because you get a good idea also what you can do with your money after rent. In conclusion, we can say that for lower income jobs such as customer service positions you would be better off financially working in countries with lower cost of living. Your cost of living are complex, but we hope to have broken it down enough for you to get an idea of your options and what to look for. After all, we all need to find the right place!
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