Possible move to Hsinchu from Singapore

New Taipei would be the worst of both worlds, IMO— the commute time of Taipei with the (lack of) nightlife and other amenities of Hsinchu. Better off living in Hsinchu and spending weekends in Taipei. You can get a studio pad in Hsinchu for less than half your budget and use the other half for Taipei hotels.

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Thanks @Rera for the suggestion :blush: i agree totally to just get a bachelor pad in Hsinchu and then just hotel stays in Taipei or other parts of Taiwan in the weekends.


I recently read an article that said that the average worker in Taiwan now receives 40% of their compensation as ‘variable compensation’ and just 60% in salary. I remember it saying that the variable component was higher in tech.

Variable definitely means that you may or may not get it. It doesn’t matter what you are being told now. It matters what it says in your employment agreement and ancillary documents and you had better review those very carefully as well. These parts of contracts are heavily lawyered to give employers as much wiggle room as possible. Many foreign employees have been disappointed in the past.

Taiwanese employers like these arrangements because it can help them save on various social insurance programs and separation payouts. It is also true that many companies especially in tech do pay up in good years. This is not a scam (in tech) but beware.


Look at it this way. The company is telling you that we might pay you this much if we have a really good year but otherwise we will pay you less. How much less is up to us with the floor being your basic salary.

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Thanks @foc , that was a good article you read. I just find it challenging to wrap around my head that this is common practice which just doesn’t really make a great talent attraction tool.

I mean as you so rightly pointed out, it’s employer centric rather than more of a win-win for both employer and employee especially if the employer has to look beyond current talent pool (or lackof) and the would be employees have to uproot and leave behind what they have built up in their home country. Such packages do not offer reassurance nor resonates with most unless we are talking about CEOs whose packages are rightfully pegged to company’s financials.

Pro tip: Get bachelor pad with secure limited access where no one can enter the building or your floor or knock on your door or whatever without your authorization.

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Lovely advice, thanks @tango42 :pray:t3:

As far as I can tell, 99% of Taiwanese employers think that their deals with employees are win-lose. Employer wins, employee loses.

Most Taiwanese employers do not care if you have to uproot and leave behind what you have built in your home country. Taiwan is very provincial in many ways. Few members of Taiwanese management have done this themselves. Had they done this, they would not have the position they have in Taiwan now. They just don’t get it.

They do not want to reassure you. Reassured employees are lazy. Without fear and chasing after bonus, you will not put in the grueling hours that they expect. Or that’s the thinking anyway. Have you read this?

That said, I absoluely love Taiwan and hope that you decide to come. I can promise you a grand adventure. You will do well here if you are independent and enterpreneurial. It’s best to come with your boots on and eyes wide open.

Another reason to act this way is that they do not want to upset their deals with their Taiwanese employees. If their Taiwanese employees find out that a foreigner is getting a better deal (and they will), there will be great and poisonous unhappiness.


Oh, and here’s the article but it’s mostly paywalled now. It says that the average Taiwanese worker makes about NT$ 800,000 (US$ 24, 681) per year. 34% of that is variable compensation. 20 years ago, variable compensation was 27%. Variable compensation is higher in tech.

Back in 2011, average total compensation was NT$ 633,376 (US $19,450). So compensation has increased by about 26% over 12 years. Nominal GDP grew by about 66% over the same period.

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Thanks for sharing the links to the great and useful articles, you are an angel @foc

It is unfortunately it is what it is, since this is the common practice in Taiwan. They have to look beyond own shores for employees with the right expertise where their own local talent pool is lacking but they are still using local practices as a tool for foreign talents. I guess that’s why Hong Kong and Singapore are so successful in getting the right expertise to build up their internal workforce subsequently.

I travel to a few Taiwanese cities as tourists so i like Taiwan too but if the numbers do not add up for me, i will have to walk away. Hopefully the next candidate will be cautious to know what is in store and the unspoken risks.

If they really need you and you have skills that they just can’t get in Taiwan, you may be able to bargain a deal with them. Taiwanese are very good negotiators though. This firm in Taipei does a lot of employment work. You might want to have them look at your agreement if you get to a deal. I have no connection to them (I met their boss once at a business lunch).


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It’s a little bit different than that.

Taiwan has a ton of educated local talent so can force the wages low. Of course always need more and will hire outside talent and maybe even raise wages in particular circumstances for the right situation.

Singapore lacks enough quantity of local talent so must raise wages to attract.

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TSMC has a pretty average base pay, but people flock it to because the company always makes the most money in Taiwan.


You are a total gem @foc , thanks for the link which will come in helpful when necessary. From my understanding, this employer has not been able to find anyone with the right expertise locally so have been sourcing in other countries with much wider pool of people with the expertise they need.

I can’t say on behalf of those foreign employees who took up the offer since each of us may look at different aspects… it may be unfortunate but i am prepared to walk away.

Agreed totally there are more than enough graduates in Taiwan which is absolutely great :+1:t3: i am sadly no longer a fresh graduate and with my area of expertise which is mostly lacking in Taiwan, i trust the bargaining power is on my side but to go up against common local practice, it is likely a deal that may not go through haha

I can understand why :smile: