The average salary in China in 2022, across the entire job-market, is about 7,400 RMB – or just under USD 1,200 per month. This is considerably lower in most developed nations and explains how the living costs are kept comparatively low.
The median salary, however, is almost USD 5,000 a month which does hint at the fact that about half the population can’t even break the average-salary mark. A huge percentage, on the other hand, earns astronomical salaries.
China’s average salary discrepancies are not surprising, given the tiered city system, the sheer number of employable adults and the vast array of both skilled and unskilled jobs, in both the public and private sector. Every year, China manages to create over 12 million jobs in its (very many) bustling cities.
By comparison, the ESL teaching sector is well-paid, explained by the huge drive in demand over the last two years. Even the least-paid teacher in the remotest city, will manage to make the average salary in China. The majority earn much more than that.
What’s more, foreign teachers are in a much better bargaining position that the average Chinese employee. Whist almost all sectors should see an 8-10% salary increase every year, many do not. ESL teachers, on the other hand, can renegotiate their existing teaching contract, or gain better-paid employment with another school, as soon as their current employment contract expires.
For this reason, it is also important to not commit to long-term contracts with any school in China. A 12-month contract is the norm but, sometimes, a school might push for a 2-year contract. This is obviously not to your (financial) benefit.