Aims, who lives in London, was surprised to get an offer of 10,000 RMB per month before tax in Shanghai.
I’ve been offered a marketing position with a foreign company in shanghai, but was shocked to hear that the salary is only 10,000RMB before tax, plus a 1000RMB monthly accommodation allowance.
To me this seems ridiculous, and something not worth even considering, as it’s less than I earn working part-time, just 10hours per week, here in London.
What are your thoughts? Would I be able to live comfortably on this? Would there be enough money to have a social life outside of work? What kind of accommodation would I find for 1000RMB/month? Would it be nice?
Any comments will be HUGELY appreciated! I only have a limited amount of time before I have to make a decision and sign a contract!
Here is my answer.
Aims, to me, it is not a surprise. The average salary for newly graduated student (from not so famous university) drops to 3000 – 4000 RMB per month (before tax) this year. It was much higher before (6000 RMB?), but it is not rare for some university students to get offer of only 2000 RMB. The top students from computer science from top university (Jiaotong or Fudan) can expect higher, but 6000 RMB is already high. Don’t get me wrong. I do know some friends who get 300,000 – 500,000 RMB annual salary immediately after graduating from university, but it is just the exception.
I am not sure about what the level of the position you mentioned. You should expect more than fresh graduate, but that is the range. 10,000 RMB is a reasonable salary in Shanghai. The fact is, labor is cheap in China. Don’t expect to get as much as you get in London.
There are always exceptions though. Many foreign companies relocate senior managers to Shanghai to start the business. This person is so unique that it is impossible for the company to find a replacement in local job market. In this case, his/her salary should be the U.S. or European salary + a percentage of increase to compensate the relation. So the life is nice, really nice. There are many expats here so correct me if I am wrong.
It seems in your case, the marketing position is not that unique and the company can easily find someone more than happy to take the job in local market. You cannot expect big advantage over the local candidate just because you are coming from abroad.
I can understand it seems ridiculous for you to make the move, but it is reality. When people enjoy the cheap China goods, they should have the expectation for lower salary here.
The other side of the coin is, though, the food is cheap and most daily stuff is of 1/4 price of that in Seattle – this is just my guess and there is always exceptions. House is not cheap. You cannot rent any place with only 1000 RMB. I guess 1500 RMB for a place far from downtown Shanghai but with subway is possible.
So consider twice. I believe you may already make the choice not to take the offer. But do think twice. I believe the experience in Shanghai will help you a lot in your career in the long run – if you want to seek for future opportunities in Asia. It is interesting experience. The conclusion is, you can leave pretty well in Shanghai with the salary, if you won’t expect the absolutely same kind of life you have in London.