How to Ask for a Raise When Working in China

How to Ask for a Raise When Working in China
Aug 27, 2019 By Degen Hill ,

Figuring out when and how to ask for a raise when working in China can be intimidating and confusing. How much do you ask for? When’s the best time to ask? Are there other things you should request besides money? In this article I aim to cover everything you need to know about asking for a raise when working in China.

How to ask for a raise when working in China

When to ask

Typically, you’ll want to ask for a raise a few months before your contract expires. This allows time for your request to be processed through the appropriate channels, including higher-ups and HR, and also gives your company time to draw up a new contract.

Most of the time, your direct superior won’t have control over your salary, and any request that you make to him/her will need to be approved by other departments. Giving your boss enough time to process your request is a sign of respect and can only help you in your cause.

What to ask for

Simply saying “I’d like a raise” is a foolish move because it takes away your negotiating power and comes across as entitled. Instead, figure out exactly what you’re worth in the form of a number, and present that to your boss.

For some jobs, this can be calculated based on tangible figures, such as how many clients you brought in, how many new followers you obtained for the company’s social media accounts, or how many projects you completed. Based on these metrics, you might be able to figure out your worth.

For other jobs, 10 percent of your monthly salary is a justifiable amount to ask for. So, if you’re making RMB20,000 a month, you’re asking for another RMB 2,000 more per month. However, be prepared to negotiate if your boss comes back at you with a lower percentage. After all, Chinese companies are looking to make a profit and they wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t try to negotiate you down.

Remember that you can ask for other things besides money. Depending on your situation, you could ask to work from home once a week or for more paid vacation days. You could also ask for a monthly allowance for your travel, housing costs or to spend in company canteen. Or, if it's a startup, you could request a small percent of the company.

A salary increase is, of course, the most popular form of a raise in China, but if you start to think outside the box, there are a number of other things your company can provide that will go a long way to improving your finances and/or quality of life.

How to ask

This depends on how well you know your boss. Do they prefer e-mails? Are they casual enough that you could ask through WeChat? Or is a face-to-face conversation the best approach?

Each method has its own benefit, but for most Chinese bosses, I’d recommend writing down your request and handing it to them in person. This gives you a chance to talk with them face-to-face, but also provides them with a hard copy (which Chinese people love). As the hard copy will also serve as a reminder, it should include the date submitted and the date your contract will expire.

However, demanding more money simply because you want it probably won’t get you very far when asking for a raise in China. Instead, write out a list of things you’ve achieved while working for the company or qualities that set you apart from your colleagues.

This might include taking on extra responsibilities, like being in charge of your department’s work schedule, or things that go beyond your job title, such as helping your colleagues improve their English. Having a detailed list of the benefits you bring to the company will help your boss better appreciate your worth.

Be prepared for rejection

Maybe your company’s budget is a bit tight right now. Maybe you don’t deserve a raise. Maybe your boss doesn’t appreciate you. No matter the reason, be ready for rejection and don’t melt down in the office if you get one. Startups aren’t likely to give out raises, so don’t expect one there, but many companies in China, particularly schools and language centers, are prepared to offer a raise when you re-sign your contract.

If your request does get rejected, it’s important to be honest with yourself before quitting or deciding it’s time to change jobs. Did you really deserve that raise? What did you contribute in the past year to justify a pay increase? Basically, is it you, or is your company just being stingy?

Asking for a raise when working in China can be a scary process. But, if you figure out the best approach, the ideal time, list your accomplishments, and have a fixed number in mind, you’re much more likely to get what you want. Good luck!

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This is impressing

Apr 11, 2020 06:26 Report Abuse


This is really amazing

Dec 15, 2019 02:24 Report Abuse



Oct 12, 2019 20:51 Report Abuse


you will get raised once they load you too much

Sep 04, 2019 15:58 Report Abuse


We had two Americans ask the owner of the school for a raise in salary because when they arrived they found out that they would have to work at a different campus but in the same city. The owner gave them each a 1000 RMB raise. After a couple of months they did a runner from the school but before they left they told the other teachers about the extra 1000 RMB that they were receiving. They showed the other teachers their bank statements in order to prove it. The other teachers were furious and demanded answers from the owner. They all left. I stayed because it had nothing to do with me. The moral of the story is that you can get more money if you ask but keep it to yourself. Even though we were all doing the same work, the owner did pay these two more money but it didn't have anything to do with the rest of us.

Aug 28, 2019 14:50 Report Abuse


Most jobs everyone gets paid a bit different. I never worked at a job where everyone was paid the same. When you first get hired you usually negotiate your salary unless you're doing some shit job like McDonald's. So if your good at negotiating you get paid more and if you take what they offer you, well that's on you. That's why interviewers ask " what's your expected salary" you need to be prepared for that question. I always give them a fair offer for them and after a month or probation period then we can renegotiate. Never let an employer dictate your pay, Especially in China since most of the time you have the upper hand when it comes to foreigner jobs, that is if you are good at your job and can back it up.

Aug 29, 2019 20:49 Report Abuse