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For starters a bit of background about sea turtles to give some context to the question:

The terms "sea turtle" (a pun on "hai gui") and "seaweed" (a pun on "hai dai") are homonyms for "return from abroad" and "return and wait for work" in Chinese respectively.


My question does not refer to the sea turtles, but to the expression salary premium in the following sentence:

Several studies show that sea turtles on average must now wait longer to find a less senior post at a smaller salary premium over local hires.

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  • It may be worth mentioning some more context. I may be the only one that was not aware of this meaning of sea turtles, but I doubt it :)
    – oerkelens
    May 8, 2014 at 7:25
  • @oerkelens the same world that auto-corrects your name to weekend perhaps?
    – Frank
    May 8, 2014 at 7:27
  • @Frank: no, actually, the expression means something, as I just found out.
    – oerkelens
    May 8, 2014 at 7:30
  • @oerkelens May I enquire what it means? Just seen your answer, never heard that before.
    – Frank
    May 8, 2014 at 7:32
  • I added a reference to my answer :) I never heard it before either.
    – oerkelens
    May 8, 2014 at 7:39

1 Answer 1

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A premium is something that is paid extra. In this sentence, the implication is that sea turtles (people returning to China, as far as I understand), used to get a higher salary than local people that had never left the country - for the same job.

What the sentence say is that now, the difference in salary between the locals and the sea turtles is getting smaller, the sea turtles do not find employment as quickly as they used to, and they are forced to accept less senior positions.

As an extra for those puzzled like me by the sea turtle reference:

The terms "sea turtle" (a pun on "hai gui") and "seaweed" (a pun on "hai dai") are homonyms for "return from abroad" and "return and wait for work" in Chinese respectively.

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  • very useful! And sea turtles are people who return to China. Because in Mandarin, the phrase "return across the sea" sounds similar to that animal's name- hai gui ( the same animals as sea turtles).
    – TIna
    May 8, 2014 at 7:43
  • 4
    Thanks -- you've tortoise all something we didn't know before.
    – Erik Kowal
    May 8, 2014 at 7:43
  • 2
    Do they all have nest eggs? May 8, 2014 at 8:04
  • @Edwin -- They're always hatching something.
    – Erik Kowal
    May 8, 2014 at 8:42
  • But sea turtles must be worth their salt. May 8, 2014 at 9:45

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