Knowing how much to work for in China

100 yuan note from China

To be rich is glorious: Mao worship has taken a different tack in the 21st century.

The Problem: Knowing what a fair wage is for foreign teachers in China.

ForeignTeacherPay.com was created to solve a simple, but important, problem: it is difficult for English teachers to know how much they should work for in China. There is no real minimum wage for foreign teachers, and pay varies based upon factors as diverse as geographic location and (most worryingly) employer honesty.

When dealing with a new teacher, employers know that they are negotiating with someone with little knowledge of the hiring market, so it is not uncommon for schools to give lowball offers, just to see what the response will be. Unfortunately, these lowball offers frequently are accepted, with foreign teacher believing that “cost of living in China is low” and “Chinese teachers only earn US$200/month; you can live like a king on $500″. Of course, these statements aren’t necessarily untrue, but it burns to travel all the way to China to find you’re working at 80% (or less) of the salary of someone with similar qualification.

So, how can we make foreign teachers better informed of what the job market is actually paying?

The Solution: ForeignTeacherPay.com

I’ve created ForeignTeacherPay.com as a free and open resource for foreign teachers in China. The site allows teachers to anonymously report their salary, how much they have to work to earn the salary, and other, optional, details (student level; perks offered by the employer; the teacher’s own qualifications). Most of the form is optional; as long as you report how much you earn, how many hours you teach, and where you teach, you can fill out the survey.

I hope that English teachers can use the site as a way to negotiate the best possible salaries for themselves. The more people contribute to the site, the more useful it will be – please take a few minutes to fill out the survey!

2 comments… add one

  • Hey sir, looks like the data on the site is fleshing out well! How’s traffic been doing?

    • Traffic isn’t bad, especially considering that so far the site has only been publicized by word of mouth. Once the term is over and I have a bit of free time I’m going to get a bit of a publicity campaign put together.

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