Friday, February 02, 2007

Average wage falls .6%

Again. Consumer spending has also fallen. However, Abe, the head of Keiranden, and the LDP want to eliminate overtime pay for most, raise the consumption tax, and the BOJ want to perhaps raise interest rates. Income taxes have already been increased and another round of increases takes effect in May.The Japanese government was notorious for killing recovers in the late 90s and will likely do it again.

It's funny how some people who come to Japan to teach English become so estatic over the ¥250,000 (about $2000) per month salary at places like NOVA. This salary has not changed since at least the 1980s. It went up a little during the bubble years and even during the late 90s-early 2001 or so was increasing somewhat. At least the salary advertised in the paper was, one never knows if employees actually received that much or what it required to get it. Now it seems to be dropping again. Berlitz restructured theirs yet again before I left, increasing the hours one had to work (as I recall. I forget the exact details. Ask Berlitz, I am sure they will be honest about it. ahahaha) to get the 250,000 yen. The part-time contract dropped from 170,000 per month to 150,000. A big pay cut. Some places hire people at 220,000 per month. Others hire part-time employees at 2,500 or less per hour--the old standard used to be 3,000. I even see some which call themselves business English schools (beware, many are just eikaiwa and worse) looking for instructors for 3-3500 per hour when the base pay for this used to be 4000. Do you think the school lowers the price it charges students? Has Berlitz?

But I occasionally read some people who flop into Japan on a world wide backpack/dope smoke tour who think they are OVERPAID. They know what they are worth, but imagine trying to raise a family in New York City on $2000 per month. Can be done, but nobody but a fool would say it is a lot of money.

Most places are also very cheap on pay increases. Berlitz was always delaying or manipulating pay raises. Even when they would decide to pay the promised increase, if you left the company before a certain date, you would not get the raise that you earned for the previous years work. I doubt that they are alone. Generally the raise was something like 10-20 yen (8-16 cents) per hour, so small as to be nearly insignificant.

The max in this field is about 4-4.5 million yen per year. And to get that means one has to bust his/her ass and is very likely working as a corporate trainer or at a very good (and expensive) school. You ain't gonna get rich doing it. Stay for a few years and your salary will fall behind the average for a college educated worker in Japan. And you will certainly be behind someone in the same field in a major city in the US. (Well, maybe excepting the eikaiwa stuff. That doesn't pay well anywhere.)

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