The pay gap in Latin America is over $90K for nationals and expatriates

With material provided by Sue Kihn

The average annual pay for expatriate exploration manager working in Colombia is US$170,000 per year, while the same job for locals pays $76,100.

Data was compiled in CostMine's 2014 International Compensation Guidelines for Mining Exploration.exploration manager pay gap costmine latin america two

Only in Chile was the pay trend reversed. The average annual salary for nationals was $133,800 compared to $130,500 for expatriates.

Exploration manager pay for expatriates was the highest in Venezuela at $176,400. In Ecuador and Suriname the pay was $143,300 and $124,300 respectively. There was no wage data for nationals.

Jennifer Leinart, Mining Intelligence analyst and vice president of CostMine, says there are more to labour costs than just the wage paid to workers.

"The cost of a company operating overseas can be substantial, especially if the country lacks infrastructure or a regulatory framework. That can depress wages paid to locals and drive up the salary paid to expatriates," says Leinart.

"In addition, other expatriate expenses as relocation, housing and schools for families can substantially increase the overall costs.  On the other hand, getting people with the appropriate expertise in a limited pool of local candidates often makes sense.  Large wage gaps will often create tension, and, ultimately, the goal of any company should be to train and build the skills of local employees to minimize expatriate employment."


If you are working in South America as an exploration manager, you can help us decide whether your salary is in line with what it should be. Complete the 2018 CostMine survey. Contact Krista at [email protected] for more information.

Creative Commons image of pay parking sign courtesy of Ape K