Are you looking to get rich but missed the Bitcoin bandwagon? Don’t worry, there will always be new Ponzi schemes coming out. But if you’re looking to put in some hard work, you should most certainly consider a few of the best paid jobs in China for foreigners. If the US was the place to go to realise your (financial) dreams 120 years ago, then China is that place today. Let’s have a look at some the best paid jobs for foreigners in China.
It’s only fair to assume that most people want a job will a high salary, a comfortably decent societal status and job security. Therefore, it also stands to argue that the better the job, the more difficult it is to obtain. The best paid jobs for foreigners in China are undoubtedly doctors and lawyers, but we haven’t all done 10 years at university and passed the Bar.
What constitutes a successful job changes in different cultural contexts. If you’re a certified shaman (if such a thing exists) in Peru, you might be doing okay. But if you’re rocking the shaman-card to get free drinks in New York City, chances are you’re more likely to see the inside of a padded cell than a beer on the house.
With this harsh reality-check in mind, let’s take a look at the situation here in China. And as you might have guessed, shamans are largely out of fashion — you won’t find many listings for them on eChinaJobs.
Salary Vs Reality
If you’ve already got a job in China but think you’re due for a pay rise, read this for some tips on negotiating salary. If you’re planning on coming to China to work or thinking of changing careers, however, there are two things you might want to consider:
1. The salary and benefits (if any)
2. Your chances of obtaining the job
As the norm goes, the higher the salary, the more difficult it is to get the job. That’s usually because the higher salary is typically related to certain requirements, such as a good or very specialized academic degree, years of previous work experience or an impressive portfolio.
But in China in 2018, you might be pleased to hear that these two variables are not always correlative. Some jobs require little to no education or previous work experience but still come with salaries that rival many qualified positions.
Take a look at this scattergraph, where I’ve plotted jobs based on their average salary (X-axis) against their perceived obtainability (from 0 to 100 on the Y-axis). Listed in the scatter plot are 50 types of jobs commonly found on eChinaJobs, and some exceptional outliers, i.e. Kobe Bryant. Most of the data for the X-axis is taken from the listed salaries on eChinaJobs. The data for the Y-axis is based on the listed requirements of each job.
The teaching ticket
When going through the site, I found that for every job other than English teaching, there were up to 10 English teaching jobs available. There’s a massive need for English teachers in China, which in turn means teaching jobs in China are relatively easy to obtain. The competition to hire good teachers also inflates the salaries. In short, China is a good place to be an English teacher.
The graph shows us there is not always a direct correlation between obtainability and salary when it comes to jobs in China. For example, a sales development manager, which is a job that requires specialties and experience, can earn less than a kindergarten teacher, a job that is relatively easy to obtain.
In fact, I found the average salary for foreigners working in China is around 20,000 RMB per month, regardless of job. Whether you think this is a high or a low salary probably depends on where you’re coming from, your educational background and your expectations in China. Do keep in mind, however, that the taxes in China and the cost of living are lower than in most developed countries.
Perhaps the best line of work for foreigners in China — jobs that are relatively easy to obtain and come with a competitive salary (even by international standards) — is specialised teaching in public schools or taking a position within the school management, as a curriculum designer, or even as a principal, for example. These jobs, of course, will require experience in the field, but you can earn this by starting out as a regular teacher.
The average salary for specialised teachers and education managers in China ranges between 35,000 – 45,000 RMB and often comes with some pretty attractive benefits, such as bonuses and rent-free apartments.
By further examining the advertised positions on eChinaJobs, some other trends became visible to me. In general, jobs that require foreign experience and knowledge of the Western market and its inherent mechanisms, and in extension good multilingual language proficiency, are in high demand and therefore come with higher salaries. There are plenty on offer, although their numbers naturally pale in comparison to English teaching roles.
Technical jobs, such as engineering, programming and general work in the technical field, however, are less in demand than they used to be. It stands to reason that China’s domestic workforce is just as skilled (perhaps even more so) in these roles. A Chinese worker may also settle for a lower salary than a foreigner, and hiring a Chinese person in a Chinese company in China is just so much easier than wading through the bureaucracy and red tape to employ someone from overseas.
If you want to jump right into a high-paying, high-status job in China and perhaps even get that mythical Chinese green card, then you should focus on honing your basketball skills (and become the next Kobe Bryant) or coming up with a very creative business idea.
But being a successful entrepreneur in China is no easier than it is in the West. There may be many more possibilities, especially for startups, but navigating the inextricable Chinese regulations, and the very real possibility that you’re throwing all your capital into a black hole with Chinese characteristics, should be a cause for you to think twice before taking the plunge. Unsuccessful entrepreneurs are viewed with little clemency in the self-made-man paradise of modern China.
What are your thoughts on high-paying jobs in China?
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