How high are our chances to score a decent job in Taipei?


#1

Dear Members of the forum,

my wife and I (30 and 26 years old) would like to move to Taipei next spring / summer. We both work at the moment as independent marketing consultants in Berlin. We also both have job experience (3+ and 2+ years) and studied / worked in Barcelona and London before.

I speak English, German and Mandarin (I have a BA in Chinese Studies), my wife speaks Japanese and Russian in addition to English. We both have Masters in Business, Marketing etc.

We have couple questions and if you guys can help us that would be fantastic:

  • What is the best time to write job applications? (We heard after 春节 is best)

  • How hard will it be for us to get decent Marketing positions? (Manager for me and at least executive/coordinator/specialist for my wife)

  • The average salary for a Taipei Marketing Manager according to salaryexplorer.com is 120 000+ TWD, how realistic is that? How much can expats like us expect?

  • How much should we save up for moving, hotels, renting a flat, deposit etc.?

  • Is it hard to find a nice and cosy 1-room flat in Taipei (doesn’t have to be super central)

  • Any other advice you guys can give us?

We really want to move to Taiwan and we would be willing to teach German or English in the beginning just to get the ARC, but we don’t want to work for peanuts either. We are open to networking and making new friends so don’t be shy.

Best regards,
David & Luba


#2

The law requires you to have the “right” passport to teach a foreign language, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decides which countries qualify for which languages. There are exceptions, but the simple answer is if you’re German you can’t teach English, and so on.

Oh, and for a language teacher to refuse peanuts would be quite daring. These days, most teachers settle for just the shells!


#3

Btw, you should consider working holiday visas as a way to get to know the conditions in Taiwan without making a long term commitment. Search for the thread about them. The current list of countries participating in the scheme can be found on BOCA’s website. You need to apply while you’re still “young”, which means 30 or 35 depending on the country.

With a WHV you don’t need a work permit, and you don’t need an ARC (except for Brits who automatically qualify in order to get NHI).


#4

Very unlikely anyone is going to pay you close to that money. How good do you think your mandarin really is? Have you used it in a business setting. People are pretty impatient. Can you write a business proposal in Chinese?

Why Taipei? The job market is not exactly booming and long term there arent that many options. Have you considered HK. There are more options for high level management jobs for foreigners there.

Reckon you will be looking at between 60-80k a month.


#5

It’s very challenging for a foreigner to show up in Taiwan and get a job other than teaching English especially considering that your employer also needs to obtain a work permit for foreigners.


#6

If you speak Mandarin and have the skills, there are high paying jobs in China ( if thats your thing).


#7

That number is possible but the main body of interviewees is likely those who’ve been on their jobs for forever and are currently like 55+. For a 30 yo, Taiwan is like the ultimate career dead-end.


#8

Thanks for the info yyy.

I don’t really care if I would teach German or English to be honest.
I have worked in London before and I can nail a TOEFL or IELTS with 90+% with ease, trust me. I will respect the laws of Taiwan in my search for a job though.
Going on a summer job visa for us is not really an option since we are two working professionals and we don’t really want to pay rent back in Berlin while exploring Taipei, but we will look into that program anyway thanks again!


#9

Hi Orange, thank you for your response. To answer your question yes I have used my Mandarin in a business setting before. I have set up and managed a 微信公众丁页号 for German companies, been to expos, passed job interview tests from native Chinese speakers etc. I would put myself at HSK Level 4-5 roughly, depending on how rusty I am at the moment.

Obviously working in a full on Chinese speaking environment is always challenging the first month or so but I CAN write letters, read etc if I know the topic. I also offer Chinese Marketing as a part of my service portfolio here in Germany, so I know the Asian channels as well…

I COULD write a business proposal but I wouldn’t since that is normally the job of a sales manager or director. I want to work in Marketing after all. HK is also on my list of potential locations. I don’t really want to go to a tier 1 mainland city like Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen…too many foreigners…too much polution. Maybe Chengdu, Chongqing or Tianjin…

Can you also explain what you are basing your 60-80k prediction on? Do you know people who work in Marketing in Taipei? If yes, is it a local or foreign company?


#10

@tango42: Not much new information here to be honest.


#11

Hi Gain, interesting. What are you basing this statement on? Have you worked in HR? Do you know people in marketing? And what exactly do you mean, that only super old-high skilled execs apply for the proper paid positions or that as a 30 year old who wants to climb the corporate ladder I should stay away from Taiwan in general (I don’t necessarily fit that description)?


#12

Unless you’re teaching at a school or university, teaching at cram schools here is a black hole. I do not need to go into too much detail since there’s plenty of threads you can look up here in the forums. You are working professionals with plausible credentials, I’m sure if you try hard enough, you don’t have to be willing to teach.

Sorry for the novel, I hope it was helpful!


#13

Dear David,

Sorry wasn’t being obtuse, just want you to be realistic about job prospects here. I have 5 years of sales and marketing experience in Taiwan.

As noted, you will need to learn traditional characters and Taiwanese usage. Taiwanese dont use Wechat and nobody knows what the HSK is. For Mandarin to really be a selling point, you need to be able to sit in meetings, interview clients, translate from Chinese to English etc. As long as you feel ok with that.

This place isnt really like Shanghai, Singapore or HK. There are not really a lot of expat jobs and companies have neither the pay structure or company culture to accompany a lot of foreigners. 80 K would be considered high. There isnt much difference between local or foreign companies here. If you get sent over by an overseas company, then things are different.

Also, a lot of companies here specialize in b2b and components. Companies like TSMC or Mediatek bight be able to pay your required salary, but you would be expected to have some kind of engineering background plus relevant contacts in those industries. Those jobs are more likely to be in Hsinchu than Taipei and you will also be expected to work a billion hours per day.

Why dont you want to be in a place with too many foreigners? This isnt the same as when you were learning Chinese and you were looking for immersion and cultural experiences. You are dealing everyday with an often cutthroat and foreign Chinese working culture that values working hours over efficiency. You will be happy to be in Western envrionments and have creature comforts from home.

Chengdu is pretty cool. There is a lot of tech there. Alibaba are building a huge campus there right now. Tianjin and Chongqing dont have many jobs for foreigners and are just as polluted, more so in the case of Tianjin than anywhere.

Shenzhen is really cool these days, they are moving to a services industry and there are a lot of job opportunities there. A friend of mine got offered 100K GBP a year to work for Huawei in Shenzhen in a PR role.

I dont want to be overly pessimistic, just hope you can be realistic about Taiwan. I could be wrong and many people get good jobs here, but its good to be realistic before you buy a plane ticket


#14

You need to get in touch with the recruiting agencies here. There are definitely jobs paying your expected salary, it’s just harder to get them without already having residency and work rights.

Off the top of my head, I’d suggest Adecco, Spring Asia, and Michael Page. You should go to their websites, check some of the job descriptions and tailor your resume to match. Pickings are pretty slim at the moment though, and you’ll find more after CNY, as you’ve surmised.

Also head to LinkedIn to try and track down the specific recruiters dealing in the industries and markets you specialize in. If you want to link with me, drop me a PM.


#15

Our point is that legally you CANNOT teach English here. That market is dead, anyways.

No, it doesn’t matter how good your English is. It depends on your passport, which is German.

Visa issues are a big issue. Most companies do not want to go through the hassle of applying for a visa on your behalf. Basically, they have you under their thumb as they own the work permit your visa depends on.

You may look at the landscape here and realize the companie swould benefit from your expertise. In fact, they need you. But they simply do not have the ability to stretch that far mentally. Plus there are many difficultie sin hiring a foreigner. Costs are high. Opportunities are little.

Most 120.000 salaty expats have been sent here by companies abroad. While in Germany, go to Mercedes, or any of the companies supplying metro consulting or other transportation related areas, maybe even wind power or other green enterprises, based in Germany but with a foot in the Asian market, and offer your services to work here. That is the big payoff, the real deal, a nice expat package with housing and other perks. You will NOT get that if you apply for a job here. Even less with a local company.

Go to Shanghai. Seriously. Fits your professional profile better.


#16

Have to disagree with this.

Yes, working in Taiwan, as others have mentioned, there’s really no in between. You’re either making the minimum for a work permit/ARC in a not so great working environment or you’re making bank with awesome benefits. However, if you value quality of life over a fat pay check, don’t go to Shanghai.

Yes, better job opportunities and pay over the straight, but your body will take a serious hit. Imagine not being able to go outside because the air is too polluted.

I have a friend that got transferred from Taipei to Shanghai and he misses Taipei every day.


#17

Shenzhen and HK have almost the same amount of air pollution as each other.

Adapting to Taiwan means learning and unlearning some vocabulary in addition to the characters, not much of a challenge if you’re good at languages, but be prepared. Some Taiwanese do know the HSK and consider it one or two levels lower than the corresponding TOCFL levels, even though both tests are supposed to be in harmony with the CEFR.


#18

Me too. But he’s got a wife and kid and has to pay the bills.

Thes eguys are young. They can take the 5 to 10 year pounding, then go back to breatheable Europe.


#19

Oh mamma mia, 5-10 years? I was in Shenzhen for one year and couldn’t take it anymore.

Btw OP didn’t mention any kid(s)…yet :wink:


#20

I like living in Taiwan and frequently travel to Shenzhen which reminds me how nice Taiwan is. I came over as an expat earning a good salary for 3 years. After the job ended, I was not able to find a good salary or even a job that was a good fit. With encouragement from my friends and capital, I opened up a consulting and manufacturing company. Just by establishing the company with myself as the manager, I could get a work permit and ARC for the 1st year. To get the work permit then ARC for the second year, I had to gross (not profit) 3M NTD for the year. I have found consulting work in Taipei in the 85K range while developing other projects for American clients. It is slow but sure.
I think most foreigners with the higher salaries were recruited by a company or sent by their company. Keep in mind that the average English teacher’s salary is 600 NT - 800NT per hour, and the labor laws are written in such a way that it makes it difficult for employers to hire foreign talent. Another thing to remember that is Taiwanese colleagues would be quite pleased to have the 85K per month.
With that said, Taiwan is my home so it must be OK.