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Need your testimonies about "face jobs" in China
Posted June 21st, 2012 - 6:57 am from Paris, France
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Posted November 12th, 2012 - 12:44 pm from Paris, France
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Posted November 12th, 2012 - 5:00 pm from Camden, United States
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Posted November 12th, 2012 - 11:00 pm by from Shenzhen, China (Permalink)
hey dude,

Dont know if it is my response to your other post makes you want to dig this topic. I'm not able to answer the questions that you've listed there, but I'm here give you some tips if you really want to know the truth.

Here is the fact in China: something you would never know unless you try to find out by yourself. Many foreigners may not even know that their bosses are using them just to make their companies look cool. Chinese people won't tell you, at least face to face especially if you are a foreigner. Not only because we may not be able to express things clearly in English, but also because we don't want you to feel bad. As long as people can tell that you are not Chinese, then you are always a guest in our country no matter how long you've lived here, and there are many things we just dont share with our guests. A lot of things are unclear in this country, thanks to the internet that we can search and discuss most things freely.
So I think it's a good idea that you post it here.
If you can read Chinese, you can have a look at those Chinese forums, see people's comments under some articles or videos which mention 'foreigners work in China' 'foreign teachers' those sort of things (of course you need to search them in Chinese, I'd recommend to use baidu rather than google). People like to share their true feelings through the internet, that's why you have the best chance to know the truth there. However, their comments can be a little bit exaggerated sometimes.
If you dont understand what they are talking about, better not to use google translator, because it changes the meaning, ask people to do that for you instead.

Now, I'm going to give you some extra information hope that can provide you an idea about those jobs.
I went to an international college, where all students are planning to study abroad. At least, one third of the teachers are foreigners, and they teach mainly A-LEVEL. Chinese teachers teach the same thing and work more time actually, everyone can tell that. The differences between their salaries per month can be over a few thousands rmb. Those who are foreign citizens of Chinese origin, they are treated like foreigners, which means they get paid more. I doubt if all those foreign teachers know that their salaries are so much higher than their colleagues who do the same job.
The headmaster and some shareholders tend to hire more foreign teachers and fire some of the Chinese teachers or allocate them to other positions other than academic teaching (e.g. in charge of the dorms, I'm not very sure about this, because I dont think they would actually do that). I didn't know about this until they fired one of students' favourite Chinese teacher with a made-up reason. The tuition fee use to rise 10000 rmb per year for new students (don't know how much it is now), and this cant stop the increase of the number of students who want to enter that college. High reputation is one of the main reasons, because at least half of the students went to top universities in other countries after they graduated. The other reason is because they have many foreign teachers that can help students to prepare for studying abroad. Only foreign teachers can be the head of each subject. To be honest, that's only less than 10% of the reason why many of us can go to top universities. I won't deny there are some good foreign teachers, but Chinese teachers sacrifice more to help us, plus we are all working very hard. You can tell from the tuition fee that this college is designed for rich students, but there are many of us that aren't rich (for example,me. my parents sold a house for me to go to uni in the UK), you can imagine what do other parents sacrifice to ensure that their kids can receive the best education (their kids may not even realise that). It is very likely that their salaries aren't able to cover all these fees(include oversea tuition fees and living costs), so they use money that they have been saving for years to invest in educations like this, and hope they can get paid back. Foreign teachers give them more hopes than Chinese teachers do.
Btw here is the link of the college that I went to, if you wish to check it out
http://www.scie.com.cn/

ok,I've said enough, thanks for reading such a long message. Hope it helps.

Wency

Posted November 14th, 2012 - 6:08 am by from Chicago, United States (Permalink)
Wow, the truth, wasn't expecting to see that today. How refreshing. I knew about the teaching/education stuff, I hadn't considered that face hiring in other jobs could be more widespread.

Posted November 14th, 2012 - 5:45 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Well said, Wency. You echo sentiments I heard from Fudan University students in Shanghai, when I was there last year, about most foreign teachers. This, unfortunately, impacts unfairly on dedicated and professional foreign teachers (like Nancy in Nanning who is a regular on CS) who do a great job - often above and beyond the call of duty.

Posted November 15th, 2012 - 10:00 am by from Shenzhen, China (Permalink)
For teachers like Nancy, if we (students) can tell that they do the best they can for the job, then we won't care too much about the inequality (e.g. salary), because that's not their fault.
Foreign teachers volunteer or choose to work overtime, whereas it is compulsory for Chinese teachers in some situations. Yes, they get paid for that, but they don't have a choice to say no.

Nearly all the schools that I went to were boarding schools, and we had self-study time at night normally from 7pm to 9pm. Chinese teachers had to stay with us and to make sure the atmosphere was good enough to study. For example, we weren't allowed to go anywhere but to stay in the classroom (could go to the toilet and teacher's office), and not allowed to make any noise either (We had a ten-minute break for every 40mins or every hour).
In my schools, every class only had one lesson that was taught by a foreign teacher each week. I understand there was no point for them to stay at night, because they could't help with our studies.
In my college,there was no such difference between Chinese and foreign teachers, but I've never seen the latter at night unless there was an event.

Wency

Posted November 15th, 2012 - 3:51 pm by from Nanning, China (Permalink)
I feel like I should jump in here since my name's been mentioned twice in passing. RLMC and I have never met, but he's tried twice to get together when he and his wife were passing through Nanning. Maybe next time it will work, Roland!

I think there are a lot of foreign English teachers on here who could have been mentioned if RLMC had known them. Geraldine comes to mind right off.

"For teachers like Nancy, if we (students) can tell that they do the best they can for the job, then we won't care too much about the inequality (e.g. salary), because that's not their fault."

Two questions and a comment on this.

1)Do the students know that we get paid more? I mean, who would tell a student how much they earn?

2)And, indeed, do we really get paid more? More than a young Chinese teacher, but more than an experienced one? When I taught in Xi'an, which has lower salaries for foreigners because it's a tourist city and many people want to live there, I talked about this with two of my English teacher friends. I got so much a month, for 11 months, a free apartment, and round-trip air tickets. They got a base salary (which is taxed), and lots of things added to the base salary (which AFAIK aren't taxed) like so much for each hour of teaching or for lunches or for bus fare or for housing or for experience, plus they recieved 13 months of salary a year. We didn't get out a calculator, but it seemed to me that they were making more than I was. These were teachers in the English department who had master's degrees. Imagine what PhDs in the science department are making! (Note that this refers to Xi'an and its lower salaries; the result may have been different elsewhere.)

3) The comment: I'm not sure that "inequality" is the best word here, since it has a negative connotation. One thing that has been missing from this short conversation is this: The law of supply and demand. Fewer foreign teachers available equals higher salaries or higher hourly wages. Is it unfair? Sometimes. It depends on the teacher. Is the law of supply and demand a fact of life? Yes.

Posted November 16th, 2012 - 12:34 am by from Shenzhen, China (Permalink)
Hi Nancy,
I will try to answer your questions
1) This is common sense in China. Not many people would really tell people how much do they earn, but they do talk about other's income sometimes. You can take that as we know it from gossip. People often say more online (they don't say the exact amount tho, just their opinions), that's also how do we get the information.
I was taught by both foreign teachers and Chinese English teachers before, I mean private lessons, so I know the difference, and it's huge.
2) I'm not sure if I can show you the statistics to prove what I said, but it is pretty common that foreign teachers usually have a higher salary than Chinese teachers with the same qualification. I do have a little bit of info from another cser who is working in China. These are his original words:
a 35-40 hours per week job(for foreigners) is usually at least 8000-9000 yuan per month (up to 16.000-18.0000 yuan/month). I'm not talking about any "very specialized" job, just some basic IT job (like software or phone localization).But English teacher generally get never less than 9000-10000 yuan month for like 10-15 hours per week.

Those are way above Chinese people's normal salary, I can ensure you that. I know the salary levels of my families and my friends.

It is somehow our culture to treat foreigners better than ourselves. When many chinese people see the word like 'foreign' ,the first impression they have is 'good quality' or 'cool' or 'international' ,anyway, all very positive. Even myself would think it that way sometimes, although i know it is ridiculous. Some businesses therefore use this as a trick to attract customers. That's how 'face job' comes from. I don't think there's is anything wrong to use 'inequality' refer to those jobs. please note that I've never said all jobs for foreigners are 'face job', but I believe the majority is.

3)I personally think the high demand is the main reason that causes this income difference. Therefore I don't think the situation would change very much in the future, at least not when 'foreign face' works super well in the market. I have no question if you really deserve a higher salary, but for many others they don't. That's unfair.

Wency

Posted November 16th, 2012 - 6:23 pm from Camden, United States
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Posted December 4th, 2012 - 10:50 pm from Invercargill, New Zealand
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Posted November 18th, 2012 - 5:05 pm by from Shenzhen, China (Permalink)
My mum use to in charge of human resource before she retired. I changed my view a bit after talking to her about this on phone today. I realise that I care too much about the superficies of social phenomenon sometimes, and only know a little about the inside. I apologise if I make whoever feel that face hiring is an absolute thing in China.

The law of demand and supply is so true. In many situations, we pay foreigners more because we need their experience, skills, technologies and other knowledges that we don't have in some fields, and those jobs should not be considered as "face jobs". What I said earlier about "face job" wasn't wrong either, but I think maybe I should narrow that down to a small number of jobs. I don't know the job market very well, so I cant tell you the proportion of "face job", that's why I use "maybe". When we work in third world countries, they will probably pay us higher too. Therefore, I feel that salary differences can be understandable in those cases.
However, if a company hires a foreigner when they can pay much less to employ a Chinese to do the exact same thing, then you know, it's partly a "face job". If a foreigner is hired for nearly doing nothing or just working few hours per week, and they pay he/she full-time wage or more, then that's definitely a "face job".
As for teachers, it's a bit different I think. Just talking about English teacher here. A Chinese teacher, no matter how good is his/her English, ordinary people think it's never good enough to compete with a native English speaker. For other foreigners, don't know how many of them are English teachers, but it's common to feel that they are better.

Last, want to add something which may seems irrelevant here, but I think people should know.
Many foreigners thinks that democracy has nothing to do with China, because it is a one-party system. I thought it that way too. I'm a student who don't have much experience of anything, and I took opinions from what other people said, which were most about extreme cases. Again I had a long conversation about this with my mum. She worked for a worker's union for a while. I don't want to say too much here, but I do think there is a huge misunderstanding about China on this thing.

Posted December 6th, 2012 - 8:09 pm from Invercargill, New Zealand
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Posted December 7th, 2012 - 3:14 am from Destelbergen, Belgium
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Posted December 7th, 2012 - 4:57 am by from Vienna, Austria (Permalink)
I could be off a bit but I would estimate that apart from certain teaching jobs at universities and perhaps experimental schools, having a foreign teacher on staff means more income for the school. So, the actual salary is like a kick-back to the teacher but considerably more goes to the school or into the headmaster's pockets (as rumors go).

In 2005, I was hired by a small language school run by an American who also had a contract with a local primary school. There I taught for one year some 16-18 classes per week from kindergarten to Grade 6. From what I was told by my employer, each kid (respectively its parents) had to pay 40 RMB per month for being in my class. At that time, I received 6K RMB net per month and I had some 600 kids in my classes.

My experience is that schools pay what they have to in order to get a foreign teacher, or what they can get away with. The nicer the place, the lower the salary. There obviously is also a minimum wage established by the Chinese government for so-called foreign experts which is often not paid by the schools.

To only compare the base salary of local and foreign teachers does not show the full picture but I would have no problem if the salaries of Chinese teachers were a par with those of foreign ones but this all has to be seen in the light of salaries as such in similar fields.

I have also seen Chinese employers more and more cutting corners when they find it easy to fill their positions. Contracts are for the actual teaching period only and holiday pay is cut in half, roundtrip airfares are being reduced to one-way, for example.

But so far, no one has talked about Chinese often having to pay to get a job! Later on, I worked for a large college outfit and I was told by my Chinese colleagues that for becoming a permanent teaching staff member - earning the iron ricebowl so to speak - it was not uncommon that 100K RMB changed hands in an unmarked envelope ...

Posted December 7th, 2012 - 7:52 pm from Invercargill, New Zealand
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Posted December 7th, 2012 - 9:45 pm by from Shenzhen, China (Permalink)
I'm sorry but 6-10 thousand as an aferage for big cities? Where do you find English teachers willing to work for 6 thousand in BJ or SH?

Well, my experience is limited to Shenzhen and I have no idea about Chinese state schools salaries. But, in Shenzhen the salaries for full-time posts for English teachers start at 10 thousands. If you are working full time and part-time you can easily get much more. Escpecially if you are blonde with blue eyes. I know about some people who wouldn't be able to get even FCE and who are teaching English here.

On the other hand it's just a law of supply and demand and marketing issues. The teaching centers can get kids' parents to pay 100-120 per hour per kid in 5-8 kids groups. If the teacher is Chinese (even if she/he is ABC) the parents are willing to pay 60-80 at best...

Finally there is the question of qualifications. Chinese English teachers may have very good paper qualifications but to be honest I know many Chinese English teachers who don't speak good English. Especially their pronunciation and grammar skills are often very poor. As a result the Chinese parents (especially if they can't speak English and thus are unable to personally verify teachers' English) prefer to get foreign English teacher this way having a bit higher chance of getting sb with proper pronunciation. These are the facts of life about teaching job, at least in Shenzhen :-)

Posted December 8th, 2012 - 2:25 am from Destelbergen, Belgium
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Posted December 8th, 2012 - 5:45 am by from Houston, United States (Permalink)
This thread is ver informative. thank you for posting