Sept 26, 2017
Some say it’s simple economics, but whether that makes it right is another question.
A recent opinion piece criticizing the large pay gap between foreigners working in Vietnam and locals touches on an issue acknowledged by all but discussed by hardly anyone.
Some of this is down to productivity. It’s a well known fact that Singaporeans, Malaysians and Thais are on average much more productive than Vietnamese. And some jobs require highly skilled professionals that would be difficult to find in Vietnam.
Not all Vietnamese are inefficient/unskilled and not all foreigners are efficient/skilled. The question is, do we get to enjoy equal opportunities for the same job in Vietnam?
Native English teachers have one trait that is irreplaceable: accent.
Effective language teaching requires much more than an accent (pedagogy skills, grammar, writing…), not to mention that, arguably, there’s no longer such a thing as the ‘right’ English accent. Yet we see foreign English teachers with no teaching experience or qualifications getting paid much more than their experienced and accredited Vietnamese counterparts. And even in subjects like math in English, Vietnamese teachers who speak fluent English are likely to earn less.
The bias, according to some of our readers, spurs from Vietnamese parents’ racist preferences. Are Vietnamese considered (by Vietnamese and foreigners) second class citizens in their own country?