Since I'm nearing the end of my PhD, I was thinking of starting my job applications soon. On a whim, I did some mental calculations on whether it'd be better to work in Malaysia or the UK. My rough calculations said that it was better to work in Malaysia. Since this was against the normal belief, I thought that I'd put things in a spreadsheet and work it out in more detail. If you have a google account, you can see the formulas in the spreadsheet here.
- I don't claim that it's 100% accurate. These are the best numbers that I could find. If you have something better, email me the information.
- This is merely looking at things from a pure money point of view. When making a decision on where to work, you have to consider a lot of other things (e.g. weather, food, people).
- Granted, I have not taken into account every single detail, like mobile bills, internet bills, girl/boyfriend bills and what nots. You can factor these other costs in as well.
- Western countries have an extremely high tax rate. This is because they have very few tax bands, typically 4. So, you very quickly hit the top tax bands. They also typically have a national and local tax rate. As a result, the take home pay is much less than the gross pay.
- Working in Malaysia isn't a totally bad thing. The amount that I can save up is more than I could if I worked elsewhere (besides Singapore).
- Time to go find a job in Singapore and save up the cash in Malaysia! However, the CPF problem is a sticky issue especially since the employee contribution is particularly high.
Some notes about the values on the spreadsheet:
- Where I have been unable to find reliable information, or when the field may not be applicable, I have left the cell blank. If you find the information, please let me know and I'll include it.
- The salaries will of course vary depending on job. The numbers shown are based on a reasonable post-doc academic position. If you're working in the private sector, it would be higher. If you lack a graduate degree, it'll probably be less.
- Tax rates and pensions are generally extracted directly from the government websites or relevant wikipedia pages. Where local taxes may vary widely, I have generally picked a rate that is average or flat.
- Expenses vary from person to person. However, I tried to restrict it to a reasonably average lifestyle. It reflects rent of an apartment (2-person sharing), plus an average car (1.5L engine). The cost of food should be comparable everywhere. The entertainment assumes simple things like going to the cinema, buying some DVDs. If you go clubbing, expect the expenses to go through the roof. Likewise, if you walk or cycle or take public transport, adjust it accordingly.
- Bank interest rates were extracted from, the world's local bank, HSBC in each country for 12 month timed deposits or equivalent. There are of course, better ways to grow your money.
UPDATE: Consider the spreadsheet as a fluid document. It will be updated periodically as I find out more information.