In what was an unprecedented move for the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA), new salary guidelines were released a few days ago that actually take into account the variable cost of living between cities throughout China.
The new salary guidelines are distributed across four different categories of teachers (based on education, experience, and academic rank) and are adjusted respectively for each of three area types (developed, developing, and underdeveloped) for a total of 12 recommended salary ranges. Salaries start at 3,000 to 4,100 yuan per month for bachelor degreed teachers in underdeveloped western areas to as high as 12,000 to 15,000 per month for full professors in first-tier east coastal cities, e.g., Shanghai and Guangzhou. Full details of the new guidelines can be found in our Guide’s chapter on Foreign Teacher Salaries.
While the new recommended salaries more closely resemble what foreign teachers are actually earning across China than had the former October 2006 guidelines, they are still noticeably lower than what is observed in practice. Consequently, the only Western educators who might be able to use these new guidelines to negotiate a higher salary are those with the rank of assistant or full professor who are teaching professional courses in their fields of expertise.