Battling for Contract Negotiation as a Copywriter in Taipei

Hello Everyone,

I’m seeking advice for current fair wages/salaries for a Copywriter in Taipei. Specifically in the Tech industry, if possible. Is anyone working in this field who can share numbers or has friends with these figures, along with corresponding years of experience?

Here’s a little background about my situation:

My 1st year contract with zero copywriting experience was set at 70K/month. However, I want to add that I already accumulated 10 years of unrelated corporate experience in the states. Personally, I thought this number was low, but I was in need of a job at the time and really wanted to stay in Taipei. The company even admitted that this number was based on my entry-level status and that I needed to “prove” myself first. Also, this number was confirmed to be lower than what the person I replaced was paid.

Now, with 1 year under my belt, I’m trying to negotiate my 2nd year contract. Naturally, the company handed me a new contract with the SAME salary. Along with a bunch of verbal corporate B.S. about learning new things in this upcoming year which will be more valuable for my future than an increased salary. None of this sits well with me. In my opinion, there should at least be a raise to account for inflation, among other reasons. How do I negotiate with them when I know how uncompromising they tend to be?

So, to recap, 2 questions for all of you:

  1. What’s a fair salary for a copywriter? Specifically with 1 year of experience and in the Tech industry. Salaries for other levels of experience and in other industries are totally welcome as well.
  2. How do you recommend I go about negotiating this upward?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

How was your performance rated last year? If only mediocre, you can forget about getting better pay.

To be honest, 70k is on the lowish end but considering the state of the world economy right now I’d be thankful that you have it. Even if we were back in the heyday of 2018/2019 I wouldn’t expect more than 75/80k a month from a copywriting job in Taipei. What’s the bonus structure like?

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I’m a technical writer with five years’ experience including two years’ experience at a tech company in Taipei and one year at Facebook in London. I’m passively looking for technical writing and copywriting jobs in Taipei and have had a few interviews, so I think I have a reasonable idea of what things are like.

I can tell you that $75K is the absolute top-end of what a technical writer or copywriter in Taipei can make without being a team leader. I’ve never heard of anything higher than this.

The pay in Taipei is awful. You don’t go to Taiwan for a good pay. However, this can be mitigated (somewhat) by a good annual bonus and other benefits.

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Here’s a related thread - wage range seems to be 60-80k per month

Is the 70k your base salary or does it also include bonuses? I found Taiwanese companies are very reluctant to increase base salary, but they’re happy to give bigger bonuses based on performance reviews.

Not to be rude, but you’re still a junior writer then. 1 year of experience doesn’t mean too much. Also wage increases due to inflation are not really a thing in Taiwan, everything is based on performance.

My manager has continually applauded my performance both personally and publicly, but he has no say in my salary (and doesn’t even know it). Also all of my cross-functional team partners have publicly expressed how they enjoy working with me, even comparing me to the previous person. HR is aware of these things…

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but HR won’t care. In the end, they will pay you as little as they can. If what you’ve done is not somehow recorded in your annual performance goal, too bad. You won’t have any quantitative way to prove you deserve a raise.

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This is true about the economy. Unfortunately there is no bonus at all. Only Taiwanese get a CNY bonus in my company, not foreigners. But I was told it’s because their salary is divided by 13 whereas mine is divided by 12. Not sure whether this is true or not. If it’s true, then it means my salary is even less, technically.

Wow, thank you. This is very informative, but also disappointing. And you’re saying 75K is top-end with your 5 years of experience, too. Sadly there is no bonus (for foreigners) and hardly any “benefits” at my company to mitigate the shortcomings of this package.

I think I agree with your “you don’t go to Taiwan for good pay” point.

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I’ll have to review my quarterly performance reviews again to see what my manager gave me versus what I self-appraised. Thanks.

Yes, I’ve read that thread before posting my own, but I was hoping for my current information, given how old that one is now. Seems Taiwan hasn’t grown with the times.

And yes, I know I’m still a junior writer. But the most important goal of my post was to learn if my starting salary is even fair to begin with, as there are literally no reliable resources on the internet and all of my friends are English teachers. If salaries haven’t improved since that old thread, then maybe my salary is considered fair?

My company does not give any bonuses to foreigners. Only Taiwanese get a CNY bonus. My salary is pretty much the whole package.

From my experiences, I have the impression that managers in the UK try to do whatever they can to take on, and retain, the best person for the job. As such, salary and benefit negotiations are very flexible here. Also, if you do a good job and you’re well-liked, you can expect a raise every year.

In Taiwan, on the other hand, I feel like managers just want to get anybody who is merely “adequate” enough to do the job within whatever tight budget they have. They will pick somebody worse than you for the job if that person is still adequate and asks for less money than you do. If you leave after a year or two, it isn’t a big deal because they can just get somebody else to fill the position. As mentioned earlier, annual pay rises aren’t really a thing in Taiwan.

With my five years’ experience, including time at Facebook, the sky’s the limit when I apply for jobs in the UK. In Taiwan, however, there’s an actual limit - $75K (if you’re lucky).

Yet, as crazy as this sounds, I would still consider going back to Taiwan for that kind of pathetic salary. However, the employer would need to sweeten the deal with extra holidays, assurances that I won’t have to work too much overtime, etc. I’m not sure how realistic that is though. The fact that I’m still in London and not back in Taiwan probably answers that.

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Oh, and about performance: I’ll have to review my quarterly performance reviews again to see what my manager gave me versus what I self-appraised. This may help as a “proof.”

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You are 100% right about quality-employee retention. It’s the same in the states, most of the time. This seems to be something that Taiwanese culture (Asian culture?) couldn’t care less about. The same goes for the food industry here. Businesses start out strong with high quality, and as soon as they become stable and popular, prices go up, portions get smaller, and the quality of the ingredients declines.

Another problem is that my manager has nearly no say in my salary/package. He doesn’t even know my salary. It’s all HR, who: 1) doesn’t truly know what I contribute and 2) only cares about the bottom line. I would like to think that quality writers are not so easy to come by here, given the lack of foreigners, but maybe I’m wrong.

The coronavirus situation is quite good over here compared to the UK. Maybe it’s time to head over. :stuck_out_tongue:

You think the way I used to think when I was more naive about Taiwan.

The way to get a raise in Taiwan is to have clearly defined KPI targets in your annual plan and then exceeding those targets.

That sounds terrible, yet completely unsurprising coming from a Taiwanese company.

My current contract finishes in October, so I’ll start looking for new jobs in a few months. Hopefully the coronavirus situation will have improved by that point and we won’t have entered a dystopian New World Order.

This mathematical approach toward raises is not something I’m used to. I’ll have to see if my quarterly reviews had statistics like this, and that they were surpassed. Hopefully there’s something I can latch onto for negotiation support.

And I’ll definitely keep this in mind going into my 2nd year and make sure that I accomplish it.

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Good luck.

Being the bubble that Taiwan is, it would somehow probably avoid being turned into the dystopia that the rest of the world becomes.

I’m thinking along the same lines. If things get really bad in the UK, Taiwan might actually be a good place to escape to until things get better. We’ll see…

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And here is where they are ripping you hard. Tell them to add this in.