Who are AIRINC's International Surveyors and How do you become one?

    Sep 06, 2017 @ 08:00 AM / by Gerald Abbey



    AIRINC's Cost of Living Survey Team

    Jotting down the price of peanut butter at a supermarket in Rome, Italy. Waiting in line at a utility company in New Delhi, India, to get electric rates. Meeting a realtor in Caracas, Venezuela, to discuss expatriate rental inflation. Arriving in Port Gentil, Gabon, and realizing your luggage is missing.

    These are the typical routines and challenges associated with the job of the Pricing Surveyors at AIRINC, who travel the world collecting pricing data used to determine comparative living costs for expatriates. This data is analyzed continuously and is expressed through various mobility products, such as our Assignment Cost Estimator (ACE), Host Pay Calculator (HPC), Salary Evaluation Tool (SET), International Housing Guide (IHG), International Tax Guide (ITG), Short-term assignment calculator,  Hardship Evaluations, and much more.


    What is it like after 6 years as a cost of living surveyor?

    Highly-organized, Professional Data Researchers 

    Many people dream of having a job that includes some international travel. AIRINC surveyors get more than “some” - they spend about half of the year on the road. While they get the opportunity to travel to far-flung locations like Stanley, Falkland IslandsPort Vila, Vanuatu, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Lusaka, Zambia, they are in these locations for only three to five days at a time and must therefore plan their days carefully so that they are able to gather the data required.

    Despite the grueling schedules, AIRINC surveyors delight in their opportunities to travel worldwide. They are a diverse group, but they share the common denominators of love for international travel, curiosity about different cultures, independent spirit, and cultural adaptability. They also possess varying foreign language proficiencies, and a facility with and affinity for the analytical component of their work.

    The current staff of surveyors has visited an average of forty countries. More senior surveyors have visited over sixty countries. Given the fact that these surveyors are on the road up to four times a year, you can imagine that this type of work would be very disruptive to their personal lives. For these intrepid and energetic workers, however, the opportunity to travel wherever companies send their expatriates far outweighs the short-term personal sacrifices associated with this globetrotting.

    Want to stay on top of global trends? Join AIRSHARE

    Returning Home

    After weeks on the road, even the most exotic locations become less exciting to these perpetual travelers, and the desire to return home and settle into more predictable routines grows stronger. When asked what they miss the most while they are on survey, many surveyors mentioned clean tap water and the ability to prepare their own meals (especially salads). Being able to do laundry on a frequent basis was also missed. Less expected were responses like having access to a sewing machine, eating favorite dishes from home – at home, and watching their local sports games on TV. And the number one response for what everyone missed most? Sleeping in their own beds, a very relatable and understandable desire for all.


    A wheelchair section marked off at baggage claim at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, onsite in February 2016


    Would you like to join our International Survey Team? 

    The surveyor position requires quarterly travel of approximately 4-6 weeks at a time. Most trips are international, although there may be domestic assignments as well. Surveyors collect cost of living data on site as well as by phone and internet. Prices are collected from retail outlets that represent expatriates’ spending preferences. The position also involves conducting interviews with real estate agents and collecting utility rates to assess the housing market for each location assigned. At times, surveyors may be required to meet with clients and potentially expatriates and/or expatriate spouses while on location.

    Upon returning from survey, the surveyor is responsible for conducting both quantitative and qualitative analysis of both goods & services and housing data collected during the survey and answering additional questions as needed from Data Department staff. Other responsibilities include researching pattern of living questionnaires and participating in other research projects as assigned.


    • Bachelor’s Degree required with 1 – 2 years previous work experience preferred
    • Fluency in a foreign language is 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



    For consideration, please submit a cover letter and resume to mlemmons@air-inc.com.


    Click below if you'd like to learn more about AIRINC and what we do:


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

    Gerald Abbey

    Written by Gerald Abbey