Is this the most interesting job in the world?

    Feb 10, 2020 @ 07:50 PM / by Gerald Abbey

    RUSSIA, Moscow - 5 - KL. - mainjpg

    Views from a recent survey in Moscow, Russia. Photo taken by AIRINC Surveyor Kathy Lam.

    Now Hiring: International Cost-of-Living Surveyor in Cambridge, MA

    If it's not the most interesting job in the world, it's certainly one of them. AIRINC Cost-of-Living Surveyors travel all over the world for roughly six months of the year to collect pricing data.

    On the surface, this is the dream job for anyone that thrives on challenging global travel – the kind that takes grit and determination to grind through as you move cities on a seemingly daily basis. Instead of touring from site to site though, you move from store to store and source to source in each location, collecting data to populate a market basket of goods, services, housing, and hardship data


    AIRINC's International Cost-of-Living Surveyors: In their own words

    While it's easy to talk about how fascinating a job is, I find it's always better to show it through experiences. Below are some of those unique survey moments as described by our current team:


    Dushanbe, Tajikistan:

    “One real estate agent in Dushanbe, Tajikistan invited me to her sister’s wedding. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to experience such an interesting cultural event. It did not disappoint. The bride changed her dress seven or eight times over the course of the day, and there were indoor pyrotechnics!”

    Dubai, U.A.E:

    “I was surveying for Food at Home prices in the Dubai Carrefour when I noticed crowds gathering around one man. He turned out to be the coach of Croatia National Football team Zlatko Dalić (Croatia had just placed second in the World Cup). I got to meet him, and his autographed picture is on my desk.”

    Rajahmundry, India:

    “It was lunch time, and I started carefully eating my Thali at a small restaurant with communal tables and no silverware in Rajahmundry, India, by picking up small amounts of a creamy rice dish with two fingers. The men next to me started laughing. They said, ‘You can’t be dainty with your food here; you need to use your hand like a spoon, all fingers. And you’re supposed to eat that sweet rice last –  it’s dessert.' We had a good laugh and I got a lesson in eating Thali.”


    This job is not for the faint of heart

    The schedule is grueling and requires an elite level of organization to collect all the data needed on-site. When on-site, it's important to be adaptable to the local conditions in order to maximize your efficiency in navigating a city. And when departing or arriving in a new city, it's important to maintain a healthy level of resilience in the face of change, because trains and planes don't always stick to the schedule and spending hours at some of the best and worst global airports is going to happen.

    As one of our long-term surveyors put it, time management is a major key to success in this role. "Persistence of character" is another key element, as stated by Andrew Morollo after surveying his 200th unique global city.

    While surveyor Zenab Tavakoli's recent post provides visual insight into life from the road, it is far different from experiencing it for yourself. Our team is trained both in the office and on the road before taking on an independent survey, but no amount of training can adequately prepare someone that is not already capable of handling sudden change and adversity in the midst of completing their on-site assignment


    Apply today! 

    If you are someone that can confidently say that you are not only travel-ready, but are also one of the most determined, capable, intelligent, savvy, and efficient people out there, then we invite you to apply now:


    More details below:


    Cambridge, MA, U.S.A.


    • Bachelor’s Degree required with 1 – 2 years previous work experience preferred
    • Fluency in a foreign language (Russian or Arabic strongly preferred)
    • Must be highly motivated and able to work independently
    • Must have strong communication and quantitative skills
    • Previous travel experience is preferred
    • Ideal candidate is a problem solver, is organized, and enjoys working with numbers


    The International Cost-of-Living Surveyor position involves quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, and quarterly travel of approximately 4-6 weeks at a time. Cost-of-Living Surveyors travel independently to assigned cities across the globe including Asia, Africa, Caribbean, North & South America, Europe and The Middle East to collect a wide range of specific expatriate cost of living and housing data in each city visited.

    Most trips are international, although there may be domestic assignments as well. Time is spent between quarters in the Cambridge, MA head office processing and analyzing the collected data, conducting remote research, and assisting with Data Department projects.


    Who is AIRINC?

    For over 60 years, we’ve provided 1000+ clients with the high quality data, cutting-edge technology, and thought-leading advice needed to help organizations of all sizes more effectively deploy talent worldwide. Get to know the AIRINC team and mission, and find out how we can listen to understand your goals, partner to develop a tailored solution, and deliver lasting business results.



    Astana, KAZAKHSTAN as seen during an on-site AIRINC survey-1Related:

    Why do we visit hundreds of cities each year?


    Topics: Cost of Living, Cost of Living Surveys, Cost of living data, Surveyor Spotlight, Insights and Experience, Careers

    Gerald Abbey

    Written by Gerald Abbey