SCMP Saturday, December 16, 2000

Top salaries tempt staff to leave home


Teachers at Hong Kong International School (HKIS) receive the best pay and benefits package in Hong Kong, according to figures circulated among the management of international schools.
At HKIS, teachers at the top of the scale receive basic salaries of $53,435 a month, and housing and other allowances worth at least another $45,000 a month. They also enjoy free tuition for an unlimited number of their own children.
The Chinese International School pays teachers up to $55,125 a month plus responsibility allowances between $1,744 and $8,713, and a 20 per cent gratuity. Since 1998, it has been phasing out overseas packages previously enjoyed by a minority of teachers.
At the German Swiss International School, salaries range from $39,345 to $41,670, with housing allowances ranging from $16,000 to $25,000 a month.
HKIS aimed to recruit teachers from the top 10 per cent in the world, said Chuck Dull, the school's head, and it was prepared to pay the necessary benefits to entice them to Hong Kong. "We are not turning out widgets. We are dealing with the development of children and young adults. We need a tenured, stable faculty," he said. Its housing and free tuition allowances contributed to this.
But headmaster of the Chinese International School, Alex Horsley, said overseas packages were not necessary to attract quality staff given the pay offered and good working conditions in Hong Kong. "The average salary for a teacher in the US is the equivalent of $25,860 a month. We have no problem recruiting. It is extremely rare for us to lose a teacher to another Hong Kong school."
The Delia School of Canada and the Canadian International School are among the international schools that do not provide housing allowances or overseas package benefits.