Paul Makepeace paulm at
Fri Dec 9 19:11:58 GMT 2011

On Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 14:11, Avleen Vig <avleen at> wrote:
> The true answer, of course, depends on your definition of "half".
> US salaries (use payroll expense) is much higher than in the UK.
> Where in London I would pay a programmer or sysadmin about £45k - £55k, in
> New York I would pay at least $125k - $150k (about £78k - £93k).
> This sounds really great!
> Until you realise that it's pretty much a wash.
> You'll pay far less for some things in the UK than in the US (eg, food
> seems to generally be a lot cheaper in the UK), and vice versa (petrol in
> the US is cheaper than pissing in your own toilet). Having grown up in
> London (and lived there recently) and lived in quite a few major metro
> areas in the US, I can quite confidently say that both pay levels result in
> similar quality of life. No-one is getting rich.
> Then there are taxes that both you and the employer have to pay (generally
> UK employers pay less than US employers or a similar amount I believe,
> whereas UK employees pay much more).
> US employers have to pay large healthcare costs for their employees, and
> other benefits like "commuter benefits" where they get you cheaper travel
> on public transport, etc. There are many more things too.

I'm surprised you think food cheaper is cheaper in UK, unless you're
comparing LIDL with Trader Joe's. Finding somewhere decent to eat
requires some thought in London; requires no thought at all anywhere
I've been in California (OR seems pretty good too)

Your other points seem to show US is cheaper/ends up more $ in your
pocket, which I'd agree with and come to the conclusion I'd come to is
as a developer you're massively better off financially in the US. (Of
course, irrelevant if you don't want to live there.)

Add in the fact that the US has a track record of phenomenal success
in the tech sector there's a non-infinitisimal chance of a monster
payout if you're in there early/are good at negotiating. The UK/Europe
is hamstrung by its rather depressing attitude of "gosh, if we're
REALLY lucky, we'll get bought by a US company!" Says it all, really.


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