How to Negotiate your Salary in China

In any job that you accept, you want to make sure that you are getting paid your worth. Something that will be able to help you sustain yourself and give you a comfortable life. Negotiating your salary when you’ve been hired is one ordeal that most employees shy away from but don’t have to. That is why we wrote an article that focuses on how to negotiate your salary in China.

How to Negotiate your Salary in China
Negotiating your salary

In China, negotiating your salary is where you can build trust and mutual understanding. Do not take it as a demand and a given. Approach it with a mindset of reaching a respectful conclusion between you and your employer. Belittling or embarrassing your employer is the last thing you want to do. That is to say do not make them feel like they have been mistreating you or threatening your livelihood. Be open-minded and maintain your sense of humor. Negotiating shouldn’t be a battlefield where there should be a winner and a loser, it shouldn’t be aggressive. The rest of this article is structured to fully help you on how to Negotiate your Salary in China as a foreigner.

Helpful things to remember on how to negotiate your salary in China

Be Culturally aware

As a foreigner working in China, you need to understand how Chinese customs work. In China, salary negotiations are done face to face. Keep in mind that it may take weeks or months to discuss the same matter. This results in the process being long. Take note of what was said, when it was said and who said it. This may help you remember points that have already been mentioned and those left unanswered and need clarity. Given the language barrier, taking notes might be the best alternative for you. Be mindful of their customs and traditions in the workforce.

Bring a Team

I know this already sounds weird because you are probably used to a negotiation being between 2 or 3 people. Not in China, in fact, when you walk into the negotiation you may be met with a number of friendly faces. Determine early on which one is calling the shot and direct your questions to them. Your team can consist of a translator, a recruitment agent (if you have one), a legal advisor, and a familiar friendly face to you.

Have a good Guānxì

Helpful things to remember on how to negotiate your salary in China
Maintain a good Guānxì

Having a good Guānxì (literally meaning relationship in English) means having a good relationship with your peers, work colleagues. This means building good relations with people around you, even if they are strangers. Make sure when good Guānxì is extended to you, you repay the favor at your own time if not immediately. This proves you are trustworthy and dedicated to improving your Guānxì.

Touch on the right points

Make arguments that make sense and resonate with you. Things like your current or changing living cost. This includes things like rent or a sudden drastic change in your life that calls for an emergency on your end. Keep in mind that your employer does not run a charity organization so your problems are not his problems. Make sure you come up with ways that will show them that they aren’t handing you the salary on a silver platter. Your performance and productivity matter.

Prepare yourself thoroughly

Your salary expectations should be able to be backed up by extensive information and figures. Negotiate to look at the skills you are bringing to the table and how your performance has been throughout the years. It helps to have the evidence and data to prove this. Things like increased workload could be a contributing factor. It is good to compare what other counterparts in other organizations doing the same thing you are doing earn. This may help you when it comes to agreeing on an exact number after negotiating.

Be specific with your salary expectation

When you are in the room with your employer or potential employer, you should’ve already drawn up some numbers. These numbers should be backed up. Also, never allow your employer to make the first bid, you should be the first to lay your figures on the table.

Be Realistic

Negotiators will tell you that when you negotiate start with a larger number and work your way down if need be. Don’t start with a small number. This is because your offer will be cut down by the employer. That is to say, they are not likely to agree on the first figure you give them. You need to appear credible and prepared, you don’t want to look bad when all is said and done. Especially if it is a new job opportunity. You don’t want to lose the opportunity because of unrealistic expectations. Know your value as a candidate, don’t undersell your capabilities, and don’t oversell your potential contribution.

Know your Worth

As mentioned before, know your value or worth. You know what skills you have and what you can bring to the table. You are aware of your strengths and how to use them to meet goals. Use that to your advantage when negotiating. Do your research to know how much the same skill you have is receiving elsewhere and make it a point to bring your figures backed up with data. Be prepared for when the employer or company bids way lower than you had imagined. Have a strategy in play to help raise that number respectfully.

Don’t threaten anyone

Blackmail and temper tantrums when you don’t get your way will never work in the workforce industry. Threatening your employer or the reputation of the company is not a viable option for you. If you have reached a dead-end, look for better ways to approach the situation. Aggression and violence are punishable by the law so don’t do it.

Timing is everything

You need to be able to find an appropriate time, manner, and venue to bring the negotiation up. Bringing up a negotiation while your employer is going to the bathroom is not professional. Also, he is likely not willing to listen to numbers during that time because it’s quite inappropriate. Consider the stance of the company when you bring up the salary. That is to say is the company financially doing well, is the company retrenching people? Such factors contribute to bringing up the negotiation. Be patient when negotiating in China, it will take time.

I hope that this information was helpful for you. Hopefully, it will help on how to negotiate your salary in China as a foreigner. If you need to know how different jobs pay In China please click here or download a full salary guide below.


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