Building construction

Hi everybody,

I am wondering how hard is it to find a job as electrician for a foreigner who speaks basic mandarin but no technical language?
My other problem is that I don’t have any qualifications, just three years experience. I know that it must be quite hard or even impossible but if anyone has experienced that in the past, I would really appreciate a little help.

I also know that in Taiwan, people are working hard, many hours for low wages. So if anyone has a clue about what is the average rate for a trade assistant or simple labourer or any kind of position within the building industry, that would be great.

I am trying to take as many information as I can because I am in Kaohsiung for three months now just in holidays but I really like here so I want to know how hard would it be for me to try to start anything here.

Thank you everyone :slight_smile:

If you speak basic mandarin technical language won’t take you long to learn. Plus most customers won’t know the tech language anyway.

You could try putting an ad on something like the Kaohsiung Town News…I think that’s what it’s called…? The kaohsiung news group for foreigners as an English-speaking electrician.

Otherwise maybe try going to an electrician’s and asking for an assistant job?

I heard electricians/plumbers actually make more than the average white collar worker, because nobody wants to be one since it’s “bad face”. However I don’t know (given the credibility of Taiwan news) if that only applies to master electrician, or any electrician. I guess it would help to actually wire up a building correctly and safely. I am not sure what the code is in Taiwan but sometimes it looked as if there weren’t any.


I’m currently in the construction field , in Taiwan, and I am an American doing construction. Let me start off by saying, that you shouldn’t really go for anything construction related in Taiwan. It’s pretty unsafe, and you will encounter alot of low-class workers or workers who have spent their time in a great university in Taiwan, but their attitude and/or among other things, makes them a loser. In a day of construction, as anything , a pipe layer/pipe fitter, concrete worker, wood worker, metal worker, electrician, your going to deal with some unfriendliness, as some Taiwanese workers only care about themselves. I can’t tell you how many times I get hurt because of the other workers. But not because your foreign. In fact, you’ll probably be treated better because your foreign. But anyhow, in a day of construction , you will deal with being offered , beer, betel nut, these crazy energy drinks called “Polyta” and “Whisbih” and cigarettes. You also will probably learn more Taiwanese then mandarin, because 90 percent of the people in construction , speak more Taiwanese then Mandarin. They DO speak mandarin, but their accent is pretty heavy , so it will be hard . You don’t need to learn any technical terms, as in Taiwan, they are pretty simple terms. You will also deal with the Employer paying you late sometimes or not even paying you until several months later. It is common in Taiwan , because their strategy on building buildings and what not is just pisspoor, which is why their constantly borrowing money from the bank and in the end broke. But anyways, to answer your question, if your still interested in that kind of field of work , you actually earn more then an average person , if your doing construction, but you face many obstacles, like getting hurt on the job, going to different job sites, like my job sites , are usually one hour away. Anyways, average pay , would be around 1,200 NT / 1 day and they will give you free lunch. In some cases, they will give u overtime, which is half of your days pay, so if your 1 day pay is 1200NT and you do overtime, then your overtime pay would be 600 NT , so at the end of the day, you would make 1800NT. When you do overtime, it is usually only 3 hours for half day pay. If you don’t have a work permit like me or just basically your going to illegally work , and your mandarin isn’t that good, then the construction field would be a way to start out, but not a way to go in Taiwan, because many jobs in Taiwan, require you to speak Mandarin, and trust me, basic Mandarin won’t cut it. My basic mandarin still won’t land me a job at Carrefour .


I was seriously thinking about construction at one point. How many hrs. do you put in for average pay daily? And are you sun soaked for hrs straight?

I live in Nankan (for the time being), and I’ve seen a couple of pretty big white guys in dirty construction-looking outfits a couple of times… Really blew my mind since I almost never see foreigners there. I kind of wanted to talk to them but didn’t want to become a nuisance.

F*ck. 1,200 NT/day.
And I hear my friends complaining about charging kids 1,200/2 hours of teaching.

I know not every foreigner here can be an English teacher. Good Luck lads

you wont last because you know how to wire things. Only search for jobs on bigger projects, avoid residential and hope to hell they dont kill you.

Interesting to hear from an actual foreign construction worker spell out what everyone else just suspects.

21K: seriously, 1200 is the daily going rate? Or only for, ahem, undocumented workers?

To the OP, I think finding a reliable interior designer/decorator is the way to go. With the current high prices in the housing market, most people can’t afford brand new property. Instead, they buy old apartments and renovate. That means good business for electricians and plumbers. Working for an interior designer, you won’t have to worry about going out and find work; he’ll bring work to you. But like 21K said, the vast majority of workers in the construction business speak Taiwanese. Knowing only Mandarin won’t cut it.

If they’ve been to elementary school (they have) they will speak Chinese, too. It may not be their first choice, but they will able to use it to communicate just fine if Taiwanese doesn’t work. Then you can pick up Taiwanese while you’re on the job.

I know not every foreigner here can be an English teacher. Good Luck lads[/quote]

Sadly, I agree on this. I am Civil Engineer, with more than 4yrs of professional experience in design, construction & project management, late 20s, married to Taiwanese girl. I am still trying my luck to get the job that I want, or even the job that I know how to do for more than 4months already. I continuously send my CVs online until it counts more than 200. But it’s just shitty that I only received 2 replies of rejection.

Dude, maybe, you are also open for factory work. You can try that.

open your own business, honestly its the only way i see you guys being happy in the trades here.

Finley, $2,000/day is standard unless its just laborer type work. but a days work here is like 2-3 hours work back home…

If you work as an independent entrepreneur, you can demand about 3,000NT$/day … that’s what I paid the painters, carpenters, electricians etc.

Responses to dumb posts were sent from my Nexus 7, I hate Apple BTW, with Tapatalk 8

where was that? my $@000/day is around PIngtung, common daily wage for general construction help here, but i expect that to go up in cities. also wasnt for “specialty” trades lets call them, such as electricians. Painters here seem to just eye ball and guesstimate, i have yet to see one painter hold a tape measure haha, hence why i always painted everyones house for free, couldnt handle their idiocy.