Salary gaps for Heads of International Schools
Salary gaps for Heads of International Schools
Salary gaps for Heads of International Schools
Kate Taverner headshot
Alejandra Neyra CIS Data Analyst and BI Manager


Blog by Kate Taverner. Data analysis and methodology by Alejandra Neyra.



The salary gap between male and female heads of international schools is 8,500 USD.

The salary gap between those heads of school who identify as white and non-white is 17,000 USD.

The salary gap between local and international hires is 33,000 USD.

These are three of the salary gaps we identified in the 2020 CIS Heads of School Salary & Benefits Report. Each year, we ‘take the pulse’ of our community in relation to the salaries and benefits of heads of international schools worldwide. The 2020 report was generated by information provided by more than 250 heads of school across our global membership as well as schools from CIS partner associations including AASSA, COBIS, BSME, and EARCOS. The report presents a valuable annual indication of any movement year-on-year when it comes to salaries and benefits over a number of variables.

Our variables include level of education, years of experience, experience as a head, duration in role, gender, ethnicity, and contract category (international vs local hiring).

As you read the variables, do you have a set of assumptions in mind for what the data would tell you? See how they match up to the findings below.


Here are three more things we learned from the wealth of data in the 2020 report:

International School Heads salary gaps summary
  1. Men earn more than women. The average annual net salary with outliers for males is USD 131k and USD 116k for females. 69% of school heads that participated in this survey are male.
  2. Heads of school who identify as non-white earn on average less. This salary gap is consistent at all levels of leadership experience.
  3. Heads who are hired internationally (rather than locally, regardless of whether they are native or expats in the local region) and have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees have higher average salaries than locally-hired heads with the same degrees. There is little difference between international and local hires with Doctorate degrees. 


CIS members! Dive into the data with us during a two-part webinar series

In Part 1 (5 May 2021) of a two-part webinar series, we explored ‘what’ the data from a 2020 survey told us about gaps in the salaries and benefits of international school leaders related to gender, ethnicity, and source of hire (local vs. international). We then explored ‘how’ international school leaders can use the data in Part 2 (19 May 2021) to shape more equitable remuneration packages in their school communities. We invited heads, directors and board members to Part 1 and extended the invite for Part 2 to heads, deputies, principals, division leaders, those interested in leadership positions as we explore ways to use the data when negotiating salary and benefits.

Watch on-demand

CIS school members can log into the CIS Community portal and visit the webinar library to watch the webinar recordings.



Salary gaps for Heads of International Schools
  • Diversity (I-DEA)
  • Research & data
Salary gaps for Heads of International Schools