After living in Suzhou for over two years, one of the frequent questions people ask me is: “How much can I make working in China?” The following information may give you some insights to your present career, both at your home country and your host country.
According to the Hewitt’s Expatriate (2007-12-05 Shanghai), China Hire and Returnee Compensation and Benefits Study 2007 conducted by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources services company, the study revealed that 55% of participating organizations plan to increase the number of expatriates they employ in 2008, up from 53% last year.
The study also showed that Western expatriates are no longer the largest expatriate group in China, representing only 21.4 % of all expatriates this year, compared with 24.8% and 30.7% in 2006 and in 2005. Instead companies are increasingly recruiting China-hired foreigners and PRC returnees. The former represents 41.3% of all expatriates today.
According to Suzhou News, Shortage of Talent Pushes up Salaries in China (July 19, 2008),
Employers on the Chinese mainland are facing the highest salary inflation in Asia due to the country’s rising demand for professionals, according to a human resources report released in Shanghai. Hudson Recruitment, a Nasdaq-listed headhunting firm, asked more than 2,600 multinational organizations on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore about their hiring intentions over the next three months. Of the 708 respondents from the mainland, only 8 percent of employers said they could negotiate lower salaries for new managerial hires, the lowest proportion in Asia. In Singapore, about 10 percent said they were able to negotiate. The figure was 11 percent in Japan and 13 percent in Hong Kong.
Here is a salary survey for Chinese new graduates in Suzhou for 2007 (Suzhou News , English edition, July 21, 2008). (rmb per month, 1 USD = about 7 rmb)
Diploma High Middle Low Average
Masters 4,455 2,747 1,857 2,909
Bachelor 3,880 2,000 1,409 2,122
Junior College 3,580 1,705 1,247 1,891
Technical 2,295 1,497 1,069 1,537
Expatriate eacher Salaries in China
Example: Teacher Salary (in USD) at International School in Shanghai:
Years of experience BA entry MA entry
0 35,732 40,650
1 36,977 42,053
2 38,226 43,451
3 39,442 44,786
4 40,650 46,106
5 42,053 47,426
Obviously, there is a huge gap between an expat salary and a local salary. The reason is simple: “Supply and Demand” If the expat’s skill inventory is in demand in China, he will be offered an attractive, competitive expat package more than what he would have made in his home country.