Every person who wishes to live or already stays in Colombia and wants to start working may want to know how workers get paid. They become anxious to know how much money a person working in Colombia makes. The knowledge of the average salary helps a person to start estimating the amount of money to use for their living. An expat may be interested in this information for prior and proper planning.
So, what is the average salary in Colombia? A person working in Colombia will earn an average salary of around $326 per month. The salaries range from $217, which is the minimum to $7106 as the maximum salary per month. These salaries are inclusive of transport, housing, and other benefits.
There is more to this information. Studies from the recent submitted salaries and reports in Colombia show that wages are on the rise. Salaries in 2019 have increased by 2% from 2018. The trend postulates a steady increase in pay in 2020 and in future years. So if you are an expat and still not decided to lengthen your stay in Colombia, please do so since the future is bright for you.
Average salary in Colombia
A person employed as a worker in Colombia earns an average salary of 1604 USD per month. This salary includes transport, housing, and other benefits received. Salaries vary according to the type of job and the company you work with.
The average minimum salary in Colombia is $217 per month, while the maximum pay is $7106 per month.
The following are some of the professions and how they pay.
Accounting and finance
If you plan to work with accounting and finance in Colombia, be prepared to earn an average of $1542 per month. The minimum salary for an employee in the finance and accounting sector is $705, while the maximum for the same is $3296 per month.
This will be different for each specific job. Examples are; an accountant’s average salary is $10221, and the account executive is $1503.
The average monthly salary for a person working in architecture is $1361 per month. The minimum payment is $1066, while the maximum is $1757 per month.
Based on the recent salary reports, the pay for architecture jobs is steadily increasing. In 2019, the salaries are 4% higher than those of 2018. This shows a continuous increase in salary, which differs from one industry to the other.
The average hourly wage for an architect in Colombia is $7.27 which means that the average person earns around the same value for every hour they work.
Real estate workers earn an average salary of $1765.69. Salaries differ from various real estate jobs. Salaries will range between $9672 per month, which is the minimum and a maximum of $2763. More than half of workers in real estate make less than $1712.72 while the other half makes more than that.
If you are working in real estate and the bigger cities like Bogota and Medellin, you will earn more than if you worked in smaller cities like Neiva in the country. A mortgage loan officer makes $2360 monthly.
If you work with telecommunication in Colombia, you will make an average of $1582 per month. You will not earn less than $987 as your salary, and the most you can make is $2566 each month.
These salaries will differ according to the specific job description of an individual, and you are of specialization. For instance, a telecommunication engineer makes an average salary of $1502, and a fiber optic technician makes $1512 on average monthly.
Health and medical
Any person working in the health and medical profession makes an average of $2234 per month. This group includes doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and all are paid differently as per their area of specialization.
The minimum you can earn working in this field in Colombia is$ 691, while the maximum is $7106 per month on average. Health and medical jobs pay the most as compared to all other jobs with a 39% difference in their salaries.
A dentist earns an average of $3679, which is different from a dietitian who makes $3550 monthly.
Average household income
The average Colombian household earns $287. Most Colombian households, 45.5% live below the poverty line. People in Colombia are said to be poor if their monthly income is less than $143 and meant to be destitute when they make less than $61. Most don’t have health insurance and mainly live on credit to sustain the living standards in the cities.
Colombia ranks above the average in health status but below average in housing, education, jobs and earnings, and environmental quality.
The minimum wage in Colombia
Colombia has a mandate by the government for the minimum wages paid to employees. No worker is paid less than the mandatory minimum rate of pay. There is a penalty given by the government for employers who fail to meet the required minimum wage.
The daily minimum wage is $0.76 and the minimum wage per hour is $1.01. On 1 January 2019, Colombia’s minimum payment per month increased by 6% to $242.30. The transportation allowance also increased by 10% to $28.39. Employees who earn less than twice the minimum wage per month receive transportation allowance. Transportation subsidy for employees is a legally mandated minimum and comes before the minimum wage.
The minimum wage and transportation allowance have put the overall minimum monthly income of a Colombian worker at $296. This enables workers to pay loans to secure their mortgages.
The negotiations to set the minimum wage are always complicated. The wages must aim to maintain the income of the workers and also to prevent a negative impact on the employment of other 2.5 million workers, and pensioners get the minimum.
The low minimum wage is one of the main obstacles to the development of Colombia. This is according to Christopher Pissarides, who has studied and talked about the Colombian economy. The main challenge is in the labour market. To cope with this problem, there is a recommendation for a reduction of the disastrously high minimum wage.
A problem that would arise from a reduction in the minimum wage is the effect it will have on informality. This may result in the prevalence of irregular forms of payment, either by commission or piecework, because of high labour informality in Colombia. Informality also makes workers to be hired by the day or by the hour, which gets practised in Colombia.
Average salary in Bogota
Bogota is Columbia’s capital city and the industrial and economic centre of the country. It ranks as a beta-level city by the World Cities Group and Network. As of 2019, the average salary is approximately $310 , which is very low when compared to $5975 earned in Luxembourg, which is the highest average salary in the world. The minimum wage in Bogota is $257 as of 1 January 2019. Both the average wage and the minimum salary are meagre, but the cost of living is very economical. This makes it economical for your budget.
The salary you make varies depending on your profession, the company you work for, and where you locate yourself. The highest-paid businesses in Bogota are accounting, consulting, and professional services are paying 438.88 USD per year. Marketing, product, and communications professionals are among the lowest-paying jobs in Bogota at $67.30. Finance control and strategy pay $ 427, executive management, and change paying at $301, and sales and business development give $162.
70% of the working population in Bogota earn less than $438.88 per month. It is generally a challenge to make more than $292 per month if you are employed by a Colombian. There is only an exception if you have more qualifications and experience in your field, or you are working in the oil and gas industry or finance.
Expats in Bogota who are not tax residents are taxed 35% of their salaries. You become a legal tax resident once you have completed 183 days of the tax year living there.
There are jobs which allow you to work remotely and pay in euros or dollars and many expatriates consider doing these jobs instead. To teach English, you make $7.31 to $8.78 per hour. As a translator, the pay is $0.015 to $0.059 per word.
Cost of living in Colombia
Most expatriates who are self-funded and fixed-income retirees get by beautiful in Colombia on a budget of around $0.29 to $7.3 per month. This is less than what they spent in their home countries. It also includes rent, food, entertainment, household expenses (property tax, utilities, insurance). This means that the cost of living in Colombia is low and manageable.
In housing, real estate prices vary depending on the city you choose to live and the type of neighbourhood. Apartment rental prices in big cities like Medellin and Bogota closely align with their zone because utility costs and taxes also differ by territory. A zone 6 house has the highest rates while a zone 1 has super cheap utilities, most probably a slum. Most workers I Colombia find their comfort in zones 4 or 5. A zone 6 house can cost $0.10–$ 0.15 a month for furnished apartments.
The price of food is crazy low. You can get a full meal for well under 5. This is not even the price for the fastest foods in some countries. Fresh fruits and vegetables are found in almost every market and found at pocket-friendly costs. For example, you can get a big cup of chopped papaya or mango for less than a dollar.
Transportation within the cities you live in is very economical. There is a metro system in which you pay about $0.75 , and it is payable using credit. There are some buses which offer transport at reduced prices too. Taxis and uber cost as low as 7 to 8, and you can go miles in any direction in the bigger cities. For smaller cities, it is even cheaper. You can pay an average of $0.0029 – $0.004 a week for uber or taxi, which is an average of $0.0035 to $0.0056 a day.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.