Author Topic: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?  (Read 11866 times)

MayDay

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How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« on: December 06, 2014, 05:12:55 AM »
Edit: if you love work travel, this question is not for you! I want feedback from the perspective of reluctant travelers.

H saw a job that's a good fit, but it requires 30% international travel. He dislikes travel and currently doesn't travel at all. He also thinks the 30% might be an underestimate.  We have little kids who he wants to see every night.

How much of a salary premium would you want for unpleasant travel?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 05:32:44 AM by MayDay »

shadowmoss

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2014, 05:16:47 AM »
There are lots of factors.  There are people like me who would take a pay cut to get a job with travel.  Also, most places let you have the miles/hotel stay points for your own use.  I did work a place many years ago that took all the points for the company, though.  There is usually a per diem for food, so that can cut some daily expenses.

I can see how a person with small children at home wouldn't want to travel.  My suggestion is to look for a different job.

MayDay

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2014, 05:30:55 AM »
I know some people like to travel, I'm specifically looking for opinions from those who don't want to travel. I'll edit the OP accordingly.

His current employer is going through layoffs so he is willing to consider things like this as long as the salary compensates. 

Rural

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2014, 05:44:56 AM »
I'd think it would take a lot, and most employers should know that travel refers compensation. It definitely gives him leverage.

Gray Matter

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2014, 05:45:21 AM »
Hi MayDay - This is a tough one.  Travel is grueling, it's time you can't get back with your kids, the physical and psychological toll of jet lag and sleep deprivation is significant, and the transitions are hard.  DH is always tired and crabby when he comes home, and he needs to decompress, even as we're all jumping on him because we want time with him.  Also, his hours when at home are kind of crappy, with 6 am conference calls and 9 pm conference calls, because he's often talking to people around the globe and needs to accommodate time differences.

If someone finds that kind of work invigorating, and the pay is good enough, and the spouse doesn't mind single-parenting for stretches of time, it could be worth it.  But if anyone is reluctant...probably not a good option.

That said, if he's concerned about getting laid off and doesn't think he could find something close to home relatively quickly, it might be worth taking for now.  It could be a stepping stone to something else in a few years, and that kind of international experience is attractive to many employers (larger corporations, usually).  I think the pay should be significantly higher, a minimum of 50% higher and double or triple what he's making now wouldn't be out of line.  (But that depends on field, what he's making now, how competitive the market is, and if he has any leverage.)

goodlife

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2014, 06:27:55 AM »
I would want a 100% premium, at least. And I generally like traveling and have traveled across continents for work many many times. But business travel is not like leisure travel. Even though I don't hate business traveling, it does get on my nerves ever so often...and increasingly so. 30% is so not enough of a premium in my opinion. Spending time with my kids would be way more important to me (and I don't even have kids). If they doubled my salary and doubling my salary would get me significantly closer to an important goal within a set time frame (2 years max) (FI...pay of house...pay of debt...etc), then I would consider. Otherwise, I wouldn't. 

Albert

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2014, 07:07:08 AM »
Can he ask for extra time off? In our company people who have to travel this much (including weekends) are given 2 extra weeks of vacation.

MayDay

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2014, 07:22:00 AM »
Travel to India and Asia, so probably fairly awful.

It's a zero to 30% premium. We thought it should be 50% at least and I'm glad we aren't off base.

bacchi

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2014, 10:26:55 AM »
I somewhat recently turned down an 80% travel position (within US).

Pay was the same as no-travel but stock grants added 35%. If I flew on a weekend, I'd get $250 compensation.

I don't fly out of a hub (Atlanta, DC, Dallas, etc.) and trying to get to some mid-market city on Monday morning meant flying out Sunday evening. I flew home from the interview and didn't get home until 1AM because a flight was delayed. Knowing that's how it would be most of the time, I turned it down, and I like travel. I just don't like being exhausted all of the time.


rmendpara

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2014, 12:35:12 PM »
Generally when travel is involved, it's part of the job.

Consultants travel, business auditors travel, bankers travel when working on a project, etc.

It's part of the job that you have to evaluate with industry/location/experience level pay. Most employers don't pay a bigger bonus or other explicit amounts to compensate for travel.

My background is in consulting and finance, so in the past and even now, travel is part of the expectation in my role. I'm competing for the position with some people who love to travel, others who are indifferent, and a few who dislike it (but are willing to put up with it for one reason or another). So, whether I like or dislike it actually does not matter. It's really for me to decide.

One exception to this would be if I was told XX% travel and it ended up being significantly higher, in which case I would definitely ask for more compensation or I'd have to re-evaluate whether I wanted to continue.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 12:40:40 PM by rmendpara »

MayDay

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2014, 12:43:07 PM »
This is engineering, some jobs have travel, some don't. It's not an integral part of the basic functions (process design) ofcthe job, it just depends on where the projects are. International projects tend to be bigger and pay more.

MDM

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2014, 01:05:40 PM »
1) More money and less time with the family now, in return for likely earlier ability to FIRE.
2) Less money and more time with the family now, in return for likely later ability to FIRE.

I chose option #2.  In my case the "more money" was the hypothetical "better future earnings due to being a 'better' employee" that others have implied.  One can, however, make a case either way.  E.g., if the definition of "less" was "zero due to being fired," option #1 would look attractive.

pagoconcheques

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2014, 01:14:25 PM »
The time zones are a killer as you'll be worthless for a solid half-day every time you return home.  Also, all the hours on those long flights have a sneaky way of coming out of your personal time as opposed to working hours.  That time tends to just evaporate and you never get compensated for it and never get it back. 

I suggest a measured approach to this.  Accept the international travel and do it for a while, say 3-6 months.  If it doesn't work out, be on the lookout for a different employer.  One problem with doing high-travel work for a long time is that one somehow gets pegged as a traveler and other employers will be interested in you mostly because you are willing to travel, so if you're going to jump ship don't wait too long.

Tyler

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2014, 01:49:41 PM »
I had engineering jobs with extensive overseas travel (~30%, sometimes more) for several years.  FWIW, I enjoyed it for the first few months but it completely wore me out and I'm not sure I'd do it any more at any price.

A few good points have already been brought up, and here are some of my thoughts:

1) It's not like the overseas trips are the only times you speak to these vendors.  In these types of jobs, regular evening conference calls are the norm.  Your workday essentially never ends. 

2) International travel often requires that you fly on your weekends.  Places like China also work on Saturdays.  And I often missed out on holidays while overseas.  So your work week essentially never ends.

3) If the task is important enough that the company is willing to fly you around the world to expedite it, completing your task quickly becomes more important than anything else.  Imagine feeling stuck in a foreign country for weeks with no hope to see your family until the job is done. 

4) While traveling in Asia, I'd spend all day in a factory and all night on Skype talking with people back home.  Basically a 24-hour workday.  I had a few completely sleepless nights in order to accomplish #3 in order to earn the right to board a flight home. 

5) Flying that much really sucks.  The more I did it, the worse it got.  I've experienced everything from aborted takeoffs and landings to people screaming as the plane was hitting horrible turbulence over the arctic circle.  Flying today makes me very anxious.

On the positive side, a travel job exposed me to a lot of cool things and was a fantastic feature on my resume that landed me several jobs after that (although it takes work not being typecast as the guy who needs to go on every trip).  I'd do it again for that reason, but would plan on capping the experience at a year.  After that, the return on your sacrifice decreases quickly. 

Finally, in my experience people hiring for these jobs don't expect to pay a premium.  They tend to target young people with no kids who will enjoy it up until they either burn out or start a family.  These jobs often have high turnover and they plan for it. 

« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 01:55:32 PM by Tyler »

Villanelle

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2014, 03:58:30 PM »
For me, it would also depend on whether those were a lot of short trips, or less frequent occasional trips.  Less flying, for me, would be much better, but for you guys, maybe being gone 2 weeks straight and not seeing the kids would be worse than being gone  for only a few days at a time, much more often. 

Just something else to think about when weighing your options. 

Lia-Aimee

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2014, 04:18:11 PM »
Keep in mind that it's not just the salary raise or bonus that he gets for travel; there may be considerable cost savings associated with travel. (Of course, there may be significant expenses as well.)

My work involves 100% travel (4 days a week, compressed work week style.)  For this, I get a 10% uptick on the gross salary that I would be making in my home city.  This 10% is meant to also compensation for travel to-from the airport (instead of submitting an expense report or using a taxi chit.)  I can quite conveniently take public transit to and from the airport, so this money is mine to keep.  I also get 4 days a week worth of free food, free laundry, and free gym access.  Between the uptick, free food and free gym, I'm estimating that's an extra $15000 a year.

In your case, I'd  be wary of additional childcare costs that might pop up with him being gone so much.

MayDay

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2014, 06:20:02 PM »
Thanks everyone.  Good discussion.  None of the points are super surprising, but it's given us a lot of things to think about.  I think ultimately if the layoffs affect us, it will happen in the next two weeks.  The travel job likely won't be filled by then (it was just posted) so H will wait to find out about layoffs before applying.   


pbkmaine

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Re: How much extra $$$ for a job with lots of travel?
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2014, 09:54:31 PM »
I think it depends on how good a sleeper you are. I have had colleagues who could sleep anywhere. They get on a plane and are out like a light, even sitting in coach, and get to their destination raring to go. I need 8 hours quiet and flat, so travel is very hard for me. I can't sleep on a plane, a train or in a car. (This does make me a great driver, though.) The list of hotels I really like and can sleep well in is small. I have traveled a LOT for work. I tolerated it because I loved my job otherwise and it paid very well. But the travel was, in the end, a big reason for me to retire early. And though I know I will get on a plane again, I would be very happy not to.