Working in Vietnam

Salary and working hours

Salaries in Vietnam are among the lowest in the whole Asia-Pacific region. Nevertheless, you can live well on an average expat salary, as locals tend to earn far less, and benefit from some extras.

The wages are generally low in Vietnam, but there are strong differences between regions and industries. Minimum wages are divided into four different regions. Region 1 consists of the centres of Hanoi and HCMC, and the most rural areas are represented as region 4.

In 2012, the monthly minimum wages were as follows:

  • Region 1: VND2,000,000 (US$96)
  • Region 2: VND1,780,000 (US$85)
  • Region 3: VND1,550,000 (US$74)
  • Region 4: VND1,400,000 (US$67)

Wages have steadily increased over the last few years, and 2012 was the first year with equal minimum wages for international and local companies. Prior to 2012, wages were higher for employees in international companies.

With a bachelor’s degree, you can expect to earn around US$10,000 a year, and with a master’s degree, the number about doubles. Also, never underestimate the worth of employee benefits, as many companies offer, for example, free housing.

Employee benefits are typical for governmental universities when you work as a teacher. Private institutes may pay more (US$6-US$15 per hour, compared to US$5-US$10 at governmental organisations), but it is unlikely you will get free housing or other benefits with a private institute.

Usual working hours are from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with at least a one-hour break for lunch. People have the right to one free day a week, and an additional 12 days of vacation during one year. By law, the maximum work hours permitted is 48 hours per week.

There are at least nine holidays a year, including local and official ones. There can be more, depending on the region where you are working. If one of these days is a Sunday, the day off will be moved to Monday.

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: