For those of you who have been around China long enough, salaries (for expats) were probably near the bottom of the list for reasons to spend your year here. Just 7 years ago, first year salaries were around ¥6,000 - ¥12,000 with housing, transport and other benefits negotiable for first year teachers. This number would fluctuate depending on city size and where you were from.
To add, most English schools were often rag tag apartment rooms with a few major leaders in the budding language industry. And although this left lots of flexibility for entrepreneurial teachers to make extra on top of salaries, there were many others falling between the cracks in an unregulated market.
Just a quick search online will give you nightmares at night.
Fast forward to 2021.
The foreign language industry is now under careful scrutiny from government bodies, client/student contracts are heavily limited while demand has exploded with an estimated industry worth of around 45-55 billion dollars today in China.
The recent baby boom plus a modernized economy has brought over international interest along with potential niche industries if you can play ball with Beijing and have the appropriate paperwork to teach things like acting, basketball, dance, martial arts, yoga classes etc.
Where does that leave teaching salaries?
We looked at the 3 biggest web sources for teaching jobs in China plus spoke to a few recruiters on teaching salaries for first year teachers.
Salaries for first year teachers as of February 2021 ranged between ¥13,000-27,000 ($2000-4161.85 USD) with higher salaries favoring large scale language centers and international schools in tier 1 and 2 cities.
Before signing on that dotted line though, make sure you read the fine print on Covid cancellations, make up classes and bonus procedures as many teachers have been hit hard with zero compensation while cities are on lockdown.
So should you teach in China? If you're already here will you adjust your negotiation tactics to match current trends?
Those are questions that we'll keep on the back burner for now.
What we do promise is that language centers are hurting for foreign staff as the country has halted most expats from coming in; making it very difficult for new bright-eyed teachers to establish themselves.