It is believed that the diversity of careers and the gap between urban and rural areas contribute to the difference in wage and salary in Vietnam. The average salary of a Vietnamese people is about 3.2 million dong (equivalent to US$150) monthly and this salary is different due to many factors. Like many place in the world, salary level in Vietnam is dissimilar across types of career. Undeniably, the high payment is seen in top professions of Mineral and Metallurgy with about 9.2 million dong per month. This payment is followed by salary in fields of Banking and Pharmacy with 7.6 million dong and 7 million dong per month respectively. Meanwhile, other careers in fields of Textile or Food Industry receive lower wages ranging around 2.5 million dong per month. There are also significant differences in positions in one field of career. For example, the wage for office staff such as secretaries is about 2 – 3 million dong per month, and expat salary in Vietnam for a CEO ranges from 17 million dong to 20 million dong per month. The figure sees a quite high gap between low-ranking and high-ranking positions.
In the contrary, income in Vietnam for foreigners is extremely high in comparison to that of Vietnamese people. Specifically, salary of a foreign general director of luxury hotels is from 10000-15000 USD per month (equal to 210 - 320 million dong per month) depending on scale of the company, and this salary is excluded taxable income. In addition, foreigners are supported with luxury villas, private cars, chauffeur, travel airfare, and so on. The heads of departments in the company are paid not less than US$5000 per month (more than 100 million dong per month). However, the Vietnam average income is also influenced by types of company. There is a difference between private and state-owned companies, joint-venture companies, and foreign-owned ones. Almost office-staff and employee of state-owned enterprises have low payment which is equivalent to about one third, one fifth, even one tenth of private officers’ wage in the same positions, especially in fields of education and medical care. Income of officers in some fields of banking, petroleum or energy might be higher, but still less than that in private companies.
Although the average salary in Vietnam is lower than other countries in the region, expats in Vietnam can live comfortably, even luxuriously in this country. Minimum wages is different from regions. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City belong to Region 1, while the most rural areas belong to Region 4. Region 2 and 3 include areas of medium and small cities and provinces. The minimum wage in Vietnam according to statistics in 2012 is described as follows:
Region 1: VND2,000,000 (US$96) including provinces of Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, and Dong Nai
Region 2: VND1,780,000 (US$85) including Hai Phong, Vinh Phu, Thai Nguyen, Khanh Hoa, Binh Phuoc, Tay NInh, Long An, Can Tho, and Ca Mau
Region 3: VND1,550,000 (US$74) including Bac Ninh, Hue, Lam Dong, Ben Tre, Kien Giang,…
Region 4: VND1,400,000 (US$67) including Nam Dinh, Cao Bang, Lao Cai, Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Tra Vinh, …
Over the years, wage in Vietnam has been improving. There are more expats coming to Vietnam to live and work. If you get a bachelor degree, you might earn about US$10,000 per year. With a master degree, this wage might be doubled. In addition, you will be offered free housing from your boss, and other benefits.