Monthly Pay vs. Annual Pay

I’m sure many people have seen such fields in job application forms. Sometimes, it’s either “Expected Monthly Pay” or “Expected Annual Pay.” Sometimes, it’s both. I’ve never understood the purpose of having to fill in both because, “duh… just multiply my expected monthly pay by 12 yourself!” Or so I thought.

As it turns out, annual pay is not necessarily monthly pay x 12.

Here’s how it goes: Your monthly pay is, as you understood, what you are paid every month. That’s not a problem for most people. The problem is, what is your annual pay? The annual pay actually includes all bonuses. Which means, if you are expecting to be paid $1000 a month, and you do not expect to receive any bonuses, then your expected annual pay will be $12000. But, if you expect to have, say, at least 2 months worth of bonus every year, then your expected annual pay will be $14000 (while the expected monthly pay still remains at $1000). While in Singapore, bonuses are practically non-existent, it is a big deal in many companies here in Japan. Some companies pay 2 to 4 months bonuses every year (or maybe even more). But while such bonuses are only heard of in government agencies, statutory boards, and banks back home, it is relatively common in Japan. So, don’t go multiplying your expected monthly pay by 12.

Note, however, there are exceptions to some companies. Before I joined the current company I’m with, the boss didn’t ask for my expected monthly pay but only annual pay. I told him X yen, and he took it that the amount does not include bonuses yet. So when you are discussing your salary package, be sure about the basis upon which it is being discussed.

On a separate note, I’ve left the translation company and joined a totally unrelated industry which would see me back in Singapore for at least a few years.


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