salaries in vietnam
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Salaries in Vietnam: Best Sectors, Locations, Taxes, and more

Photo credit: pxhere

What is the Average Salary in Vietnam?

According to the latest statistics (2020), the median monthly salary in Vietnam is 4.2 million VND per month (source) or approximately $200 USD/month.

In order to contextualize the average salary in Vietnam ($200 USD/month), one must factor-in the following caveats:

Salaries for ESL Teachers in Vietnam

ESL teachers in Vietnam are usually paid an hourly-rate between $13 USD/hr to $23 USD/hr. There is usually a housing allowance and a free flight home, in addition to other perks and benefits, especially among the more reputable teaching institutions like ILA.

ESL teachers usually only work 20-30 hours in-class, resulting in a monthly salary between $1800 USD to $2500 (which is much higher than even senior-level salaries within domestic industries– see below ). Some large institutions may demand their teachers work up to 48 hours (i.e. a 6 day work-week), but they typically pay a lower hourly rate of ~$15 USD/hr.

ESL Teachers are not compensated for preparation time, so a teacher’s actual work-week is much greater than their job description’s stated number of in-class hours.

Many ESL teachers do private tutoring on the side, which can be more lucrative than in-class teaching.

Where to find ESL jobs in Vietnam?

The Vietnamese love facebook, and a lot of jobs are posted on Facebook groups, such as Hanoi English Teaching Jobs or English Teaching Jobs in Vietnam.

Other websites include VietnamWorks and Dave’s ESL Cafe.

What is a Good Salary in Vietnam? – By Field and Experience

How much is a “good salary” is in Vietnam? — It varies by seniority and the sector of employment. According to a 2019 survey by the popular job-seeking website VietnamWorks.com, the best paying sectors were the following, which we’ve stratified by sector and experience.

For new graduates and junior associates, the top-paying sectors with with the highest average monthly salaries were:

  • Construction: 5.75 – 10 million VND ($256 – $444 USD)
  • Information technology: 6 – 9 million VND ($267 – $400 USD)
  • Engineering: 6 – 8 million VND ($267 – $356 USD)
  • Electrical work: 5.7 – 8.5 million VND ($253 – $378 USD)
  • Sales: 4-7 million VND ($178 – $311 USD)

For mid-career and experienced professionals (>2 year experience):

  • Information technology: 9.5 – 20 million VND ($422 – $889 USD)
  • Finance: 7.2 – 15.75 million VND ($320 – $700 USD)
  • Construction: 10 – 15 million VND ($444 – $667 USD)
  • Marketing: 8 – 15 million VND ($356 – $667 USD)

More recently, the machine learning and artificial intelligence field has posted starting salaries as high as 45 million VND/month (>$2000 USD). Some top-tier companies like VinGroup also pay their mid-experience staff in excess of 70 million VND/month, which is known to be many multiples of the sector-norm, in order to attract the country’s top-talent and encourage fierce internal competition.

For supervisory roles and middle-management:

  • Information technology: 15 – 27.5 million VND ($667 – $1222 USD)

Senior management and department heads:

  • 25% surveyed had over 70 million VND ($3111 USD)
  • Finance: 25 – 70 million VND ($1111 – $3111 USD)
  • Administration / Secretarial: 20 million VND ($900 USD)

Note: The above USD figures were calculated assuming an exchange rate of 22500 VND to 1 USD.

Which city pays the highest salaries in Vietnam?

The median salary is highest in Ho Chi Minh City at ~10 million VND/month (~$440 USD/month). This is unsurprising, given the larger concentration of high-value technology and finance companies in the city. Thereafter, Hanoi and Đà Nẵng have the next highest salaries.

Otherwise, the range of salaries closely follows the cost of living and minimum wages. In Vietnam, there is tiered-system with four zones to demarcate regions with high costs of living and higher minimum salaries, from those with lower expenses and minimum wages. The four zones are:

  • Zone 1 – Large muncipalities with the highest living costs. Only 6 cities are in this category: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu, and the bustling port-city of Hải Phòng. Minimum salary: 4.42 million VND/month (~$196 USD)
  • Zone 2 – Medium cities like Đà Nẵng, Ninh Bình, and Nha Trang, and suburbs of Zone 1. Minimum salary: 3.92 million VND/month (~$174 USD)
  • Zone 3 – Small cities (Tuy Hòa) and towns and outskirts. Minimum salary: 3.43 million VND/month (~$152 USD)
  • Zone 4 – remote mountain areas/country/agricultural outside of cities. Minimum salary: 3.07 million VND/month (~$136 USD)

The full-list of minimum-wage zones by province, municipality and district can be seen in the following table (click to expand):

Province

City/County/District

Wage Zone

Hà Nội

– Counties: Ba Đình, Bắc Từ Liêm, Cầu Giấy, Đống Đa,  Hà Đông, Hai Bà Trưng, Hoàn Kiếm, Hoàng Mai, Long Biên, Nam Từ Liêm, Tây Hồ, Thanh Xuân.

– Districts: Gia Lâm, Đông Anh, Sóc Sơn, Thanh Trì,  Thường Tín, Hoài Đức, Thạch Thất, Quốc Oai, Thanh Oai, Mê Linh, Chương Mỹ

– Townships: Sơn Tây

I

– Districts: Ba Vì, Đan Phượng, Phú Xuyên, Phúc Thọ, Ứng Hòa, Mỹ Đức

II

Hải Phòng

– Counties: Dương Kinh, Hồng Bàng, Hải An, Đồ Sơn, Ngô Quyền, Lê Chân, Kiến An

– Districts: Thủy Nguyên, An Dương, An Lão, Vĩnh Bảo, Tiên Lãng, Cát Hải, Kiến Thụy

I

– District Bạch Long Vĩ

II

Hồ Chí Minh

– Quận 1, Quận 2, Quận 3, Quận 4, Quận 5, Quận 6, Quận 7, Quận 8, Quận 9, Quận 10, Quận 11, Quận 12, Bình Thạnh, Tân Phú, Tân Bình, Bình Tân, Phú Nhuận, Gò Vấp, Thủ Đức

– Districts: Củ Chi, Hóc Môn, Bình Chánh, Nhà Bè

I

– District Cần Giờ

II

Đồng Nai

– Municipalities: Biên Hòa

– Municipalities: Long Khánh

– Districts: Nhơn Trạch, Long Thành, Vĩnh Cửu, Trảng Bom

I

– Districts: Định Quán, Xuân Lộc, Thống Nhất

II

– Districts: Cẩm Mỹ, Tân Phú

III

Bình Dương

– Municipalities: Thủ Dầu Một

– Các thị xã Thuận An, Dĩ An, Bến Cát, Tân Uyên

– Districts: Bàu Bàng, Bắc Tân Uyên, Dầu Tiếng, Phú Giáo

I

Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu

– Municipalities: Vũng Tàu

– Township Phú Mỹ

I

– Municipalities: Bà Rịa

II

– Districts: Long Điền, Đất Đỏ, Xuyên Mộc, Châu Đức, Côn Đảo

III

Hải Dương

– Municipalities: Hải Dương

II

– Township Chí Linh

– Districts: Cẩm Giàng, Nam Sách, Kim Thành, Kinh Môn, Gia Lộc, Bình Giang, Tứ Kỳ

III

– Districts: Thanh Hà, Thanh Miện, Ninh Giang

IV

Hưng Yên

– Municipalities: Hưng Yên

– Township Mỹ Hào

– Districts: Văn Lâm, Văn Giang, Yên Mỹ

II

– Districts: ân Thi, Khoái Châu, Kim Động, Phù Cừ, Tiên Lữ

III

Vĩnh Phúc

– Các thành phố Vĩnh Yên, Phúc Yên

– Districts: Bình Xuyên, Yên Lạc

II

– Districts: Vĩnh Tường, Tam Đảo, Tam Dương, Lập Thạch, Sông Lô

III

Bắc Ninh

– Municipalities: Bắc Ninh

– Township Từ Sơn

– Districts: Quế Võ, Tiên Du, Yên Phong, Thuận Thành, Gia Bình, Lương Tài

II

Quảng Ninh

– Các thành phố Hạ Long, Cẩm Phả, Uông Bí, Móng Cái

II

– Các thị xã Quảng Yên, Đông Triều

– District Hoành Bồ

III

– Các huyên Vân Đồn, Đầm Hà, Cô Tô, Tiên Yên, Hải Hà, Bình Liêu, Ba Chẽ

IV

Thái Nguyên

– Các thành phố Thái Nguyên, Sông Công

– Township Phổ Yên

II

– Districts: Phú Bình, Phú Lương, Đồng Hỷ, Đại Từ

III

– Districts: Định Hóa, Võ Nhai

IV

Phú Thọ

– Municipalities: Việt Trì

II

– Township Phú Thọ

– Districts: Phù Ninh, Lâm Thao, Thanh Ba, Tam Nông

III

– Districts: Cẩm Khê, Đoan Hùng, Hạ Hòa, Tân Sơn, Thanh Sơn, Thanh Thủy, Yên Lập

IV

Lào Cai

– Municipalities: Lào Cai

II

– Districts: Bảo Thắng, Sa pa

III

– Districts: Bảo Yên, Bát Xát, Bắc Hà, Mường Khương, Si Ma Cai, Văn Bàn

IV

Nam Định

– Municipalities: Nam Định

– District Mỹ Lộc

II

– Districts: Giao Thủy, Hải Hậu, Nam Trực, Nghĩa Hưng, Trực Ninh, Vụ Bản, Xuân Trường, Ý Yên

III

Ninh Bình

– Municipalities: Ninh Bình

II

– Municipalities: Tam Điệp

– Districts: Gia Viễn, Yên Khánh, Hoa Lư

III

– Districts: Nho Quan, Kim Sơn, Yên Mô

IV

Thừa Thiên Huế

– Municipalities: Huế

II

– Các thị xã Hương Thủy, Hương Trà

– Districts: Phú Lộc, Phong Điền, Quảng Điền, Phú Vang

III

– Districts: A Lưới, Nam Đông

IV

Quảng Nam

– Municipalities: Hội An, Tam kỳ

II

– Township Điện Bàn

– Districts: Đại Lộc, Duy Xuyên, Núi Thành, Quế Sơn, Phú Ninh, Thăng Bình

III

– Districts: Bắc Hà My, Nam Trà My, Phước Sơn, Tiên Phước, Hiệp Đức, Nông Sơn, Đông Giang, Nam Giang, Tây Giang.

IV

Đà Nẵng

– Counties: Hải châu, Sơn Trà, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Thanh Khê, Liên Chiểu, Cẩm Lệ

– Districts: Hòa Vang, huyện đảo Hoàng Sa

II

Khánh Hòa

– Municipalities: Nha Trang, Cam Ranh 

II

– Township Ninh Hòa

– Districts: Cam Lâm, Diên Khánh, Vạn Ninh

III

– Districts: Khánh Vinh, Khánh Sơn, huyện đảo Trường Sa

IV

Lâm Đồng

– Municipalities: Đà Lạt, Bảo Lộc

II

– Districts: Đức Trọng, Di linh

III

– Districts: Lạc Dương, Đơn Dương, Lâm Hà, Bảo Lâm, Đạ Huoai, Đạ Tẻh, Cát Tiên, Đam Rông

IV

Bình Thuận

– Municipalities: Phan Thiết

II

– Township La Gi

– Districts: Hàm Thuận Bắc, Hàm Thuận Nam

III

– Districts: Đức Linh, Tánh Linh, Tuy Phong, Phú Quý, Hàm Tân, Bắc Bình

IV

Tây Ninh

– Municipalities: Tây Ninh

– Districts: Trảng Bàng, Gò Dầu

II

– Districts: Tân Biên, Tân Châu, Dương Minh Châu, Châu Thành, Hòa Thành, Bến Cầu

III

Bình Phước

– Municipalities: Đồng Xoài

– District Chơn Thành

– District Đồng Phú

II

– Các thị xã Phước Long, Bình Long

– Districts: Hớn Quản, Lộc Ninh, Phú Riềng

III

– Districts: Bù Đăng, Bù Đốp, Bù Gia Mập

IV

Long An

– Municipalities: Tân An

– Districts: Đức Hòa, Bến Lức, Thủ Thừa, Cần Đước, Cần Giuộc

II

– Township Kiến Tường

– Districts: Đức Huệ, Châu Thành, Tân Trụ, Thạnh Hóa

III

– Districts: Vĩnh Hưng, Mộc Hóa, Tân Thạnh, Tân Hưng

IV

Tiền Giang

– Municipalities: Mỹ Tho

– District Châu Thành

II

– Các thị xã Gò Công, Cai Lậy

– Districts: Chợ Gạo,  Tân Phước

III

– Districts: Cái Bè, Cai Lậy, Gò Công Tây, Gò Công Đông, Tân Phú Đông.

IV

Cần Thơ

– Counties Ninh Kiều, Bình Thủy, Cái Răng, ô Môn, Thốt Nốt

II

– Districts: Phong Điền, Cờ Đỏ, Thớt Lai, Vĩnh Thạnh

III

Kiên Giang

– Các thành phố Rạch Giá, Hà Tiên

– District Phú Quốc

II

– Districts: Kiên Lương, Kiên Hải, Châu Thành

III

– Districts: An Biên, An Minh, Rồng Riềng, Gò Quao, Hòn Đất, U Minh Thượng, Tân Hiệp, Vĩnh Thuận, Giang Thành

IV

An Giang

– Các thành phố Long Xuyên, Châu Đốc

II

– Township Tân Châu

– Districts: Châu Phú, Châu Thành, Thoại Sơn

III

– Districts: Phú Tân, Tri Tôn, Tịnh Biên, Chợ Mới, An Phú

IV

Trà Vinh

– Municipalities: Trà Vinh

II

– Township Duyên Hải

III

– Districts: Châu Thành, Cầu Ngang, Duyên Hải, Trà Cú,  Tiểu Cần,  Cầu Kè,  Càng Long

IV

Cà Mau

– Municipalities: Cà Mau

II

– Districts: Năm Căn, Cái Nước, U Minh, Trần Văn Thời

III

– Districts: Đầm Dơi, Ngọc Hiển, Thới Bình, Phú Tân

IV

 Bến Tre

Municipalities: Bến Tre

District Châu Thành

II

Districts: Ba Tri, Bình Đại, Mỏ Cày Nam

III

Districts: Chợ Lách, Giồng Trôm, Mỏ Cày Bắc, Thạnh Phú

IV

Bắc Giang

– Municipalities: Bắc Giang

– Districts: Việt Yên, Yên Dũng, Hiệp Hòa, Tân Yên, Lạng Giang

III

– Districts: Yên Thế, Lục Ngạn, Sơn Động, Lục Nam

IV

Hà Nam

– Municipalities: Phủ Lý

– District Duy Tiên, Kim Bảng

III

– Districts: Lý Nhân, Bình Lục, Thanh Liêm

IV

Hòa Bình

– Municipalities: Hòa Bình

– District Lương Sơn

III

– Districts: Cao Phong, Kỳ Sơn, Kim Bôi, Lạc Sơn, Lạc Thủy, Mai Châu, Tân Lạc, Yên Thủy, Đà Bắc

IV

Thanh Hóa

– Municipalities: Thanh Hóa, Sầm Sơn

– Township Bỉm Sơn

– Districts: Tĩnh Gia, Đông Sơn, Quảng Xương

III

– Districts: Bá Thước, Cẩm Thủy, Hà Trung, Hậu Lộc, Hoằng Hóa, Lang Chánh, Mường Lát, Nga Sơn, Ngọc Lặc, Như Thanh, Như Xuân, Nông Cống, Quan Hóa, Quan Sơn, Thạch Thành, Thiệu Hóa, Thọ Xuân, Thường Xuân, Triệu Sơn, Vĩnh Lộc, Yên Định

IV

Hà Tĩnh

– Municipalities: Hà Tĩnh

– Township Kỳ Anh

III

– Township Hồng Lĩnh

– Districts: Cẩm Xuyên, Can Lộc, Đức Thọ, Hương Khê, Hương Sơn, Kỳ Anh, Nghi Xuân, Thạch Hà, Vũ Quang, Lộc Hà

IV

Phú Yên

– Municipalities: Tuy Hòa

– Township Sông Cầu và huyện Đông Hòa

III

– Districts: Phú Hòa, Tuy An, Sông Hinh, Đồng Xuân, Tây Hòa, Sơn Hòa

IV

Ninh Thuận

– Municipalities: Phan Rang – Tháp Chàm

– District Ninh Hải, Thuận Bắc

III

– Districts: Bác ái, Ninh Phước, Ninh Sơn, Thuận Nam

IV

Kon Tum

– Thành Phố Kom Tum

– District Đăk Hà

III

– District  Đăk Tô, Đăk Glei, Ia H’Drai, Kon Plông, Kon Rẫy, Ngọc Hồi, Sa Thầy, Tu Mơ Rông

IV

Vĩnh Long

– Municipalities: Vĩnh Long

– Township Bình Minh

– District Long Hồ

III

– Districts: Bình Tân, Mang Thít, Tam Bình, Trà ôn, Vũng Liêm

IV

Hậu Giang

– Municipalities: Vị Thanh

– Township Ngã Bảy

– Districts: Châu Thành, Châu Thành A

III

– Township Long Mỹ

– Districts: Vị Thủy, Long Mỹ, Phụng Hiệp

IV

Bạc Liêu

– Thành Phố Bạc Liêu

– Township Giá Rai

III

– Districts: Hồng Dân, Hòa Bình, Phước Long, Vĩnh Lợi, Đông Hải

IV

Sóc Trăng

– Municipalities: Sóc Trăng

– Các thị xã Vĩnh Châu, Ngã Năm

III

– Districts: Mỹ Tú, Long Phú, Thạnh Trị , Mỹ Xuyên , Châu Thành, Trần Đề, Kế Sách, Cù lao Dung

IV

Bắc Kạn

– Municipalities: Bắc Kạn

III

– Districts: Pác Nặm, Ba Bể, Ngân Sơn, Bạch Thông, Chợ Đồn, Chợ Mới, Na Rì

IV

Cao Bằng

– Municipalities: Cao Bằng

III

– Districts: Trùng Khánh, Hà Quảng, Bảo Lạc, Bảo Lâm, Hạ Lang, Hòa An, Nguyên Bình, Phục Hòa, Thạch An, Trà Lĩnh, Thông Nông, Quảng Uyên

IV

Đắk Lắk

– Municipalities: Buôn Mê Thuột

III

– Township Buôn Hồ

– Districts: Buôn Đôn,  Cư Kuin, Cư M’Gar, Ea Kar, Ea Súp, Krông Ana, Ea H’leo, Krông Bông,  Krông Búk, Krông Năng,  Krông Pắc, Lắk, M’Drắk

IV

Đắk Nông

– Township Gia Nghĩa

– Districts: Cư Jút, Đắk Glong, Đắk Mil, Đắk R’lấp, Đắk Song, Krông Nô, Tuy Đức

IV

Điện Biên

– Municipalities: Điện Biên Phủ

III

– Township Mường Lay

– Districts: Điện Biên, Điện Biên Đông, Mường Ảng, Mường Chà, Mường Nhé, Tủa Chùa, Tuần Giáo, Nậm Pồ

IV

Đồng Tháp

– Municipalities: Cao Lãnh

– Municipalities: Sa Đéc

III

– Township Hồng Ngự

– District  Cao Lãnh, Châu Thành, Hồng Ngự, Lai Vung, Lấp Vò, Tam Nông, Tân Hồng, Thanh Bình, Tháp Mười.

IV

Gia Lai

– Municipalities: Pleiku

III

– Township An Khê, thị xã Ayun Pa

– Districts: Chư Păh, Chư Prông, Chư Sê, Đắk Đoa, Chư Pưh, Phú Thiện, Mang Yang, Krông Pa, Kông Chro, K’Bang, Ia Pa, Ia Grai, Đức Cơ, Đak Pơ

IV

Hà Giang

Municipalities: Hà Giang

III

– Districts: Bắc Mê, Bắc Quang, Đồng Văn, Hoàng Su Phì, Mèo Vạc, Quản Bạ, Quang Bình, Vị Xuyên, Xín Mần, Yên Minh

IV

Lai Châu

– Municipalities: Lai Châu

III

– Districts: Mường Tè, Phong Thổ,  Sìn Hồ, Tam Đường,  Than Uyên,  Tân Uyên,  Nậm Nhùn

IV

Lạng Sơn

– Municipalities: Lạng Sơn

III

– Districts: Bắc Sơn, Bình Gia, Cao Lộc, Chi Lăng, Đình Lập, Hữu Lũng, Lộc Bình, Tràng Định, Văn Lãng, Văn Quan

IV

Quảng Bình

– Municipalities: Đồng Hới

II

– Township Ba Đồn.

– Districts: Lệ Thủy, Quảng Ninh, Bố Trạch, Quảng Trạch.

III

– Districts: Minh Hóa, Tuyên Hóa

IV

Nghệ An

– Municipalities: Vinh

– Township Cửa Lò

– Districts: Nghi Lộc, Hưng Nguyên

III

– Các thị xã Hoàng Mai, Thái Hòa

– Districts: Anh Sơn, Con Cuông, Diễn Châu, Đô Lương, Quỳ Châu, Kỳ Sơn, Nam Đàn, Nghĩa Đàn, Quế Phong, Quỳ Hợp, Quỳnh Lưu, Tân Kỳ, Thanh Chương, Tương Dương, Yên Thành

IV

Quảng Trị

– Municipalities: Đông Hà

III

– Township Quảng Trị

– Districts: Cam Lộ, Cồn Cỏ, Đak Rông, Gio Linh, Hải Lăng, Hướng Hóa, Triệu Phong, Vĩnh Linh

IV

Sơn La

– Municipalities: Sơn La

III

– Districts: Quỳnh Nhai, Mường La, Thuận Châu, Phù Yên, Bắc Yên, Mai Sơn, Sông Mã, Yên Châu, Mộc Châu, Sốp Cộp, Vân Hồ

IV

Thái Bình

– Municipalities: Thái Bình

III

– Districts: Đông Hưng, Hưng Hà, Kiến Xương, Quỳnh Phụ, Thái Thụy, Tiền Hải, Vũ Thư

IV

Tuyên Quang

– Municipalities: Tuyên Quang

III

– Districts: Chiêm Hóa, Hàm Yên, Lâm Bình, Na Hang, Sơn Dương, Yên Sơn

IV

Yên Bái

– Municipality  Yên Bái

III

– Township Nghĩa Lộ

– Districts: Lục Yên, Mù Cang Chải, Trạm Tấu, Trấn Yên, Văn Chấn, Văn Yên, Yên Bình

IV

Bình Định

– Municipalities: Quy Nhơn

III

– Township An Nhơn

– Districts: Hoài Nhơn, An Lão, Phù Cát, Phù Mỹ, Tuy Phước, Tây Sơn, Vân Canh, Vĩnh Thạnh, Hoài ân

IV

Quãng Ngãi

– Municipality: Quảng Ngãi

– Districts: Bình Sơn, Sơn Tịnh

III

– Districts: Ba Tơ, Đức Phổ, Minh Long, Mộ Đức, Lý Sơn, Tư Nghĩa, Trà Bồng, Tây Trà, Sơn Tây, Sơn Hà, Nghĩa Hàynh

IV

Table’s original source.

What is Considered a High Income in Vietnam?

For young persons who must rent an aparemtn or mortgage a home, a high-income is considered anything above 50 million VND/month (~$2220 USD/month), which places someone within the 2nd-largest tax-bracket. A majority of workers who occupy senior-leadership positions and department heads can expect to make such a salary.

Work Hours in Vietnam

The standard work-week in Vietnam is 48 hours/week, or 6 days a week, after which over-time kicks-in. In Vietnam, it normal to work Saturdays, and it is relatively rare to get two full-days off a week. In some nice workplaces, employees get every-other Saturday off, or only have to work 4 hours on Saturday, but these are rare outside of Western companies/NGOs or highly-competitive domestic fields.

The Vietnamese government is considering reducing the official work-week to just 40 hours/week. However, large companies like Nike are lobbying against the change.

Compared to the West, Vietnamese employees are much more likely to be contacted outside of working-hours to do small things for employers or just field minor communications. You can read more about the differences in work-culture and work-climate between Vietnam and the West in our post dedicated to the topic: Vietnamese Work Culture.

Tet Bonus Pay – Vietnamese Get Paid for 13 Months

In order to annualize a Vietnamese monthly salary, you must factor-in the one-month of extra salary that employees receive as a bonus for Tet, the Lunar New Year Festival. Some high-paying jobs provide two or three months of extra salary! This is why jobs can be advertised as “13 months of pay”.

This is ostensibly a “bonus”, but almost everyone gets it regardless of performance — Vietnamese people depend on it to fulfill their obligations during the Lunar New Year celebration. This is very much unlike the West, where such bonuses are increasingly only for top-paying jobs, or are discretionary and/or performance-based.

One exception is for new employees: they do not get a full Tet-bonus, but get a pro-rated bonus based on the length of time they have been at the company.

Worker Benefits in Vietnam

Employee benefits are not as generous as in Western countries: there is no mature system of 401K contributions/superannuation, nor do employees typically receive shares or get stock-options. However, Vietnamese jobs usually do include a long maternity-leave, extra private health insurance, life insurance, and perhaps retirement benefits to top-up the government-provisioned benefits.

Other common benefits, like dental-care and basic health services, are provided to everyone as part of the socialized government-run system. To pay for these services, Vietnamese employees get dedcted 10.5% of their gross salary (not including tax — see below), while employers pay and additional 21.5%.

Government workers get the most benefits — some even get free things like new condominiums! However, they get paid less on average than private-sector workers.

Many Vietnamese work-places provide free home-cooked meals! We’re not talking about leviathan tech companies like Google, but small 10-40 person operations, usually depending on whether the workplace is a retrofitted house with a proper kitchen. Such a seemingly luxurious benefit is possible because the price of food and hiring a part-time cook is very cheap — probably less than the cost of office-coffee in Canada!

Income Taxes in Vietnam

Vietnam has a progressive system of income tax whereby the percentage of tax deducted from income increases as one’s salary increases, according to the following brackets:

Income Bracket (VND/month) Tax Rate Max Tax Deducted (VND/month) Cumulative Tax Deducted (VND/month)
up to 5,000,0005%250,000250,000
5,000,001- 10,000,00010%500,000750000
10,000,001 – 18,000,00015%1,200,0001,950,000
18,000,001 – 32,000,00020%2,800,0004,750,000
32,000,001 – 52,000,00025%5,000,0009,750,000
52,000,001 – 80,000,00030%8,400,00018,150,000
>80,000,00135% >>8,400,000

The above table displays the gross tax-rate. The final deduction includes offsets such as: a 11 million VND/month personal deduction, and extra deductions for children.

In USD terms, Vietnamese will hit the top tax-rate of 35% with approximately $3,500 USD/month of income.

The above table does not include deductions for government benefits and insurance, such as: 1.5% for health insurance (maximum of 28.9 million VND; 8% for social insurance to (max 28.9 million VND); and 1% for unemployment insurance (max 88 million VND).

Many foreigners receive tax-preferential gifts like housing, education and flight allowances. These benefits incentivize ESL companies to offer such benefits in lieu of monetary compensation.

Late Pay in Vietnam

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to be paid late in Vietnam. Worse, some employers resort to skipping payments altogether, especially if a company is going out of business or they are angry at an employee.

Another illegal and common tactic is for employers to withhold an employee’s pay-cheque as a bargaining chip to compel the employee to do something. For example, when an employee wants to quit, and the employer may threaten not to pay them for last month’s wages if they don’t continue working.

It’s not something we’ve personally experienced, but it happens all too often.

How do Vietnamese Salaries Compares to Chinese Salaries?

Stat: The wages in Vietnam are between 48% to 75% cheaper than in China, between comparable regions.

As more international companies seek to diversity away from the increasingly difficult business environment in China, many are looking to Vietnam as an alternative for thei base of manufacturing (see our list of popular brands that have much or most of their manufacturing in Vietnam).

A key attractor is Vietnam’s highly skilled and intelligent workforce — but also the wage differential between Vietnam and China.

How do Vietnamese wages compare to China? Since the 2020/21 boast in Chinese minimum wages (source), the range in Chinese provincial minimum wages are RMB 2,590 (~$400 USD/month) in Tier 1 municipalities like Shanghai and Beijing, to RMB 1,340 (~$212 USD per month) in the cheapest places like Yunnan, Hunan and Anhui. These Chinese wages equate to a 1.55 to 2x multiple compared to respective wage-tiers in Vietnam.

The Dezan Shira consultancy group makes an illustrative comparison between two port- and manufacturing-regions of Vietnam and China: Quảng Ninh vs Guangdong. In China’s Guangdong, the 2022 minimum monthly wages are RMB 1,620 to 2,300 ($254 to $362 USD); whereas in Quảng Ninh, the minimum wages range from ~$152 USD to $174 USD, or a factor of 0.6 to 0.48 (source).

Why Are Salaries So Low in Vietnam?

There are three main reasons why Vietnamese salaries are much lower than other advanced Asian countries: i) the great economic “catch-up” since the Doi Moi reforms; ii) no mortgages for older generations; and iii) reliance on “informal charges”.

i) Doi Moi Reforms

Since the late 1990s, after the Doi Moi transition to a free-market economy, Vietnam’s GDP grown rapidly compared to its Asian neighbours. The faster growth is a consequence of an economic “catch-up”: a return-to-normal after a stagnant no-growth period under the former command-and-control system prior to 1986. The catch-up has meant that, having re-ignited its free-market system from low-levels, the current salaries are much depressed compared to Asian countries who didn’t stymie their economy with command-and-control collectivization.

ii) No Mortgages; Low Expanses

Many of Vietnam’s the older generation of workers were able to survive and prosper on low salaries, thanks to a low-cost of living — especially having the luxury of home-ownership without mortgages. Instead of having to finance a house, they were given houses from the Vietnamese government. This happened during the conclusion of the collectivist “Subsidy Era”, prior to which there was no such thing as private property.

Land reforms meant that building-occupants at the end of the Subsidy Era were grandfathered-in as household owners — but without the burden of a mortgage. This contrasts with today’s younger generation of Vietnamese, who must purchase new properties at market-rates and pay high mortgage rates.

iii) Informal Wages

“Informal charge” is a euphemism for any monetary benefit extracted from customers/clients in the normal conduct of business, but is not part of the official advertised price and/or fees, like tips and gifts. In the past, it was a cliche that many occupations could only be sustained by such informal charges, thereby depressing free-market salaries.

Presently, there is promising year-by-year reduction in informal charges throughout Vietnam, as documented by the Provincial Competitiveness Index. The Index measures the ease of starting and conducting business in Vietnam’s 63 provinces. Regional leaders are incentivized to rank high on the PCI in order to attract foreign investment, which means increasing the transparency of fees and prices.

Resources to Learn About Salaries and Tax in Vietnam

  • Acclime blog and podcast – good insights on tax and accounting, from the prespective of a business-formation consultant.
  • KPMG provides digital-handbook about Vietnam’s taxation, labour laws, and more
  • PCI blog – the Provincial Competitiveness Index ranks Vietnam’s provinces according to the ease of starting and conducting business in each province. The PCI blog is valuable to learn about news and reforms pertaining to business and labour
  • Vietnam Briefing – – A consultancy for FDI within Asian, Vietnam Briefing provides valuable news and insights into the economy and labours news in Vietnam.

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