More and more, nurses in developing countries are packing their bags and heading to other countries. Why are they leaving? Studies have pointed out factors underlying the nursing exodus. In the Philippines, primary factors include inadequate workplace environment, lack of essential facilities and equipment and inadequate compensation and benefits. Other countries have also suffered severe economic crisis and the government had to downsize and can no longer provide additional employment.
Nurses also complain of a lack of recognition which leads to dissatisfaction and frustration at work. Nurses who stay and work for their countries don’t get recognition for their efforts and sacrifices. Under such horrible conditions, even family and loved ones, patriotism and the chance to contribute to the local system are not enough to make them stay and remain in the local health scene.
The United States and the United Kingdom seem to be the most popular target locations for migrant nurses. In the US, nurses are either paid by the hour with an annual take home income of about $54,000, or paid monthly receiving an annual income of $65,000. Rates are also higher for nurses who work on graveyard shifts and even higher for shifts during weekends. In the United Kingdom, newly registered nurses have starting base salary of £17,000 while experienced nurses receive a minimum base salary of £29,000. Just like other jobs, more experience commands higher pay.
Base salary in these countries is quite high but Saudi Arabia which is almost entirely dependent on expatriate nurses, seems to be gaining ground. Saudi Arabia has battled a nursing shortage for a long time now and relies on migrant nurses to staff their hospitals. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia does not produce its own nurses. Saudi women seem not so bent on taking up nursing in College. Some say that the problem lies in the culture. Whatever the reason, Saudi Arabia is the one of the top choices for nurses to go to for work.
Even registered nurses in the United States and the United Kingdom are opting to go to Saudi Arabia. Nursing salaries in Saudi Arabia is as competitive as these two countries. But what attracts nurses from developed countries to work here is not only the salary but the many benefits and incentives they offer each qualified applicant. Plus the cost of living is not that high compared to the United Kingdom and the US. Prices of commodities in Saudi Arabia are generally cheaper leaving you with more savings.
Aside from the base salary of $30,000 to $35,000 annually, qualified nursing applicants also receive a generous 5 to 8 weeks of vacation leave, free flights and round trip ticket to your country of origin, generous holidays and sick leaves, attractive living conditions with rental allowance from the hospital, medical or health insurance and bonus incentive upon completion of contract. Nursing salaries in Saudi Arabia are even more attractive not only because of these benefits but given the fact that what you earn and take home to your family is tax free.