Moving to Bogotá
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Nov 24, 2012 10:56 AM Last Post By: CheersTerry
Nov 13, 2012 2:11 AM
Moving to BogotáHi Everyone,
I'm an American and Mexican citizen who has his heart set on moving to Bogotá this upcoming May. I'll be graduating from an American university with a degree in International Affairs of Latin America concentrating in International Economics and would love to find work as an entry level (political) consultant. I have a few questions on how exactly to go about making this move and if anyone can answer any of these that would be great!
1) Is it feasible to get contracted by a consulting firm as a recently graduated foreigner who would require a work visa?
If no, what kind of work should I be looking for?
2) What salary can I expect as an American/Mexican expat?
3) When is the best time to begin applying if I would like to start work at the end of May? I know it varies by country, in Mexico recruitment tends to begin in March.
4) Should I submit my application material in Spanish or English?
5) Does anyone know of any Colombian based firms? I'm assuming they would be more likely to hire me opposed to an American branch in Bogotá.
I really am open to any and all suggestions. If anyone knows of any firms or international organizations that I should apply to given my academic background please feel free to share them. Thank you so much in advance.
Nov 13, 2012 12:30 PM
11) "Is it feasible" is very a general question... If you meant "is it possible", then yes, it is possible but the chances of finding a good paying job or any job in Colombia as a foreigner are slim to none... It gets worse if you are neither a native speaker of Spanish nor do you speak it proficiently. Colombia does not have a shortage of brilliant Colombian minds that are very hardworking.
2) Entry level? Depending where you get hired and by whom... Next May, it can be 590.100 pesos per month working full time 48 hours a week or more... and it can be 1.500.000 pesos per month. I would bet more on 590.100 if you ever find a job.
3) No opinion.
4) Spanish... and both if you are a native speaker of Spanish and applying for a bi-lingual position.
5) Colombian based firms? Over 99% of firms in Colombia are Colombian based unless you want to contact Carlos Slim directly.
By the way, did you pick Bogotá out of a rabbit's hat and just decided you wanted to move there next May? or did you make some serious and thorough research and meticulous planning including numerous previous visits?
My advice is to never ever "just move" to another country let alone a third world country like Colombia.
Invest in several trips over a period of several years at different times of the year, and invest in getting to know the people, the culture, the music, the laws, the immigration process, the way of life, the cost of living, lodging, ways to save money, the history, the geography, nightlife, sightseeing, health care, health insurance, the good, the bad, the wonderful and the irritating, and where exactly you want to live in the country very well... before you decide to move.
Nov 14, 2012 11:49 AM
2I think michaelkennedy misread, there's no way you get paid the minimal wage (590.000) having such degree and working in a field related to your career. Even call centers or banks hiring students/recently graduated people from college pay more.
I'm a recently graduated anthropologist from a Colombian university (unemployed at the moment :() but pretty much all of my recently graduated colleagues earn around 1.200.000-3.000.000 COP.
Nov 14, 2012 2:58 PM
3Navarro, thanks for your input.
With all due respect, my opinion is that you are wrong. I also seriously doubt that your recently graduated COLOMBIAN colleagues can earn 3.000.000 COP in any entry level employment in Colombia. This would be a very rare exception in Colombia considering that a doctor with so many years of experiene may be paid as low as 4.000.000 COP or less
To help you understand that I did not misread. Please answer the following questions responsively:
1. Are you Colombian? I think so...
2. Did you graduate from a Colombian University and do not need a sponsor nor a work visa? I think so...
3 Are you employed? No...
4. Do you know when you will become employed? No...
5. Are you "100% guaranteed" to find work "in Bogotá"? No... many Colombians are not....
6. Are you "100% guaranteed" to find work "in a field related to your university degree"? No... many Colombians are not...
7. How long are you willing to remain unemployed without accepting any job that can earn you some income?
If you read the questions and answer them responsively, you will understand that what I said in No. 2 of my previous post is accurate and that I did not misread. It is not a secret that "las empresas aprovechan de los extranjeros que no tienen permiso de trabajo, cuando pueden"
Nov 15, 2012 10:08 AM
2. Well, I think the main reason I haven't got a job is the lack of sponsors ("palancas"?). I was too naive back in college and I didn't participated enough of extracurricular activities/didn't make much "contacts" that would allow me now to find a job more easily. I don't know what's OP's situation on that subject, tho'.
5. No, but as an anthropologist you aren't expecting to work here anyway. As a political consultant, Bogotá is probably the place.
7. Well, you're right, I could use a job in a non-related field while I get one in a related field. But I have the support of my parents too, so the urge isn't that big. The truth is that, when I was an student and tried to get a non-qualified job to earn some money "pa' las gaseosas", they always said to me I was overqualified, I had to lie and say I had only highschool to get one.
" I also seriously doubt that your recently graduated COLOMBIAN colleagues can earn 3.000.000 COP in any entry level employment in Colombia."
You're probably right, I was talking just anecdotally, of the people I know. But it's true, most of them earn around 1.500.000-2000.000 COP, and anthropology it's said to be one of the worst paid careers in the country...
All in all, I'm guessing OP wouldn't accept a non-qualified job (I wouldn't accept it at all in his circumstances) and he's looking for something better, and, as a native English speaker and, probably, bilingual person, he has an advantage on a few job fields over the locals...
Sorry for bad English.
Nov 15, 2012 10:45 AM
5No problem... Your English is understood.
a. You seem to understand in part.. but you need to focus more to understand everything I said.
b. Every personal fact you gave confirms that all that I said was accurate.
c. Imagine, if you, a Colombian, are having such a hard time to find a good job... let me change that... to find ANY paying job in Colombia... what do you think are the chances of a foreigner with no Colombian palanca (and we do not know if he has the family support you have, so his urge may be very different from yours) in finding a good payng job in Colombia that will pay him, as a foreign entry level employee aka papaya, 3.000.000 COP or even 1.500.000 COP?... slim to none... right? right!...
d. Of course, assuming that he is bi-lingual and proficient in Spanish, and assuming he was very lucky and he finds that rare job in Colombia as a "foreign" political consultant (who most likely knows very little about the very complicated Colombia geopolitics), and assuming he gets a good salary, that would be the rare exception not the rule... and don't forget the many assumpions we made to get him there...
Nov 16, 2012 3:31 AM
6I am a manager in a top 200 commercial company in Colombia with operations all over the country and I pay between 1,500,000 COP and 2,000,000 for out of school technicians and between 2,500,000 and 3,500,000 for out of school professionals. So Navarro is not to far from away from reality. It does vary between large and small companies a bit and also between larger and smaller cities. Unemployment is a problem, but so is finding the right skilled people. We do not hire through "palancas" as most private companies that I know don´t either, different story at the public sector. I pay a lot of money to my HR department to find the best and they do their job which is not easy many times, especially on the technical side which is in high demmand. If Miguel searches for the right sector and companies he could land a very good job, sponsoring visas is an easy thing if you find the right person. I have sponsored a few including Cubans, Venezuelans and Ecuadorians.
Nov 16, 2012 6:26 AM
7Diego, thank you for sharing.
Correct me if I am wrong, but you just confirmed everything that I stated above.
Assuming you are credible, and I believe you are, Miguel would be lucky to work for a company like yours in Colombia and receive an entry level salary of 3.500.000 pesos. However, and without spin, that would be the rare exception not the rule in Colombia. Do you agree?
Now, put your money where your mouth is and let's make a match here so I can collect my commission of one month from you. :)
Are you going to interview and, if qualified, offer 3.500.000 pesos a month salary to a Mexican-American (not a Colombian) out of school professional, who may or may not speak Spanish profeciently, who will be graduating from an American university with a degree in International Affairs of Latin America concentrating in International Economics?
Let us see your response.
If yes, post your company website and your contact information so that Miguel can contact you and send you his résumé.
I wish you both a win-win situation.
Nov 16, 2012 3:20 PM
8I agree with you 90%, michaelkennedy, Colombia is one of the countries with highest unemployment rates in the Americas, political science is one of the worst paid careers and so on. I was just pointing out something that is not central to the discussion (but anyway), that is, that I doubt OP would get a job earning minimal wage here. First of all, because I doubt he would or should accept it, certainly all of my colleagues wouldn't accept a job that pays less than, say, 1.200.000 COP (and most of them are in need), they would consider it totally wrong and an a way to degrade the profession. Also because I doubt someone is gonna hire a Gringo with political science degree for warehouse work or something like that (which are the kind of jobs that pay the minimal wage in Bogotá).
Diego67, gibe job plos ;D.
Edited by: Navarro
Nov 16, 2012 6:16 PM
9OK, Navarro... We are making a progress... You already admit to agreeing with me 90%. However, all my points are accurate. Re-read my posts more carefully... and you will agree 100%.
There are many parameters, many assumptions and many unkonwn factors... and Miguel may be offered a job, assuming HE IS ABLE TO FIND A JOB (many Colombians, like you, cannot... and are unemployed), for 590.100 pesos per month or he "may" find a job for $1.500.000 per month.... Isn't that what I said? $1.200.000 is in that range.
Unless, of course, he gets lucky enough to be employed by our generous dude Diego who may offer him 3.500.000 per month, which would be a very rare exception to the rule... and Miguel would be so lucky if he gets hired for 3.500.000 per month.
I agree with you though, Diego should "gibe you a yob" for 3.500.000 pesos so I can collect a higher commission from him...
Nov 19, 2012 11:17 AM
10I just wanted to thank you all for your advice and input. I look forward to my job hunt in Bogotá and can't wait to start getting my CV out there.
Nov 19, 2012 1:16 PM
11You're welcome... I wish you the best.
I am still waiting for Diego to put his money where his mouth is and post his company name and contact information. I am sure he was honest.
If he employs you for 3.500.000 and I sincerely wish he does, make sure tha you two let me know so I can collect my one month commission from him... :)
Nov 19, 2012 5:31 PM
Nov 19, 2012 7:43 PM
13Navarro, sorry but my field does not hire anthropologists. Good luck with your search.
Michael, I do not go around publishing my company´s website after the kind of smart *** answers you have published here. Colombia does have a high unemployment but so do most european nations and that is not directly proportional with the kind of salaries people are paid. Telling Miguel that he will earn the same minimum wage I pay those who clean my office is insulting to him and ignorant to say the least. Miguel might not be earning the same level of salaries that he would earn in Europe or North America when he starts but if his CV shows strengths not found in other applicants many companies would be interested in him. That can only be known after seeing his CV, so your prejugdement is also very not exactly very intelligent from a professional standpoint.
If you were involved just a little bit with corporate Colombia you would probably know that Mercer has stablished that Colombian professionals are some of the best paid in the region and top corporates are the second best paid in Latin America.
Any how, my company will remain a mystery for you, Miguel and me are now in private contact and no, I will not pay you for a job you have definitelly failed to do, as if it was open to you the potential that Miguel might have would have been discouraged by your ignorant reply.
Nov 21, 2012 9:51 PM
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