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Advice on Harbin salary and housing allowance
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:11 pm    Post subject: Advice on Harbin salary and housing allowance Reply with quote

Preface: I've already used the search function and haven't found many recent or relevant results.

Hello all,

I'm currently negotiation salary and housing allowances for Harbin. The school I'm most interested in is located in central Harbin and they claim that 2,500 RMB per month will be the average cost for housing. They don't provide housing, but do provide a housing allowance. I did some basic research on the housing costs in Harbin and have concluded that an apartment in the center of the city should cost approximately 2,500 RMB per month with utilities costing approximately 250 RMB per month. I've also seen winter heating costs stated as 1,800 RMB, which I assume is spread across the entire winter.

I also collected recent (since July 2012) salary postings and have concluded that the average position in Harbin expects 22.18 teaching hours per week for an average monthly salary of 7,522.72 RMB per month, which works out to 84.78 RMB per hour.

The position I'm currently negotiating over requires 25 teaching hours per week (where 1 teaching hour = 1 man hour) and lesson planning, office hours, and English Corner hours that round the remaining time up to 40 hours per week.

Given their requirements, I want a solid offer of 9,000 RMB per month plus housing allowances in the order of 2,925 (2,500 rent, 200 utilities, and 225 heating) RMB per month. Most positions include housing, but this one doesn't.

Does any of this sound out of line or extremely high? It's difficult finding precise information about the cost of living and salaries in Harbin. Most of the information on the internet and this forum is quite outdated.

edit: there are several things about this position I like, including the location, student demographics, and small class sizes. I've adjusted for this in my salary expectation, but want to verify that I'm not asking for an absurdly high monthly salary given the number of hours they want me in the office each week.
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johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3240

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too many hours, even if the COL is very low.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you know how much the students are paying for each class hour? Some may say that figure isnt relevant, but it might help you understand the negotiation process better. If your small classes are just 6 students and they pay 20-30 RMB per class hour ... well, you can do the math.

Did the employer advertise a salary or discuss any figure prior to you entering negotiation? Have you spoken to other teachers employed at the school?

If they started at 8k per month, and none of the teachers have a housing allowance, then I wouldnt hold out much hope in your securing the package you want.
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johntpartee wrote:
Too many hours, even if the COL is very low.


I think the hours are high, but I really don't mind working a lot. I currently work very few hours and want to work more.

Denim-Maniac wrote:
Do you know how much the students are paying for each class hour? Some may say that figure isnt relevant, but it might help you understand the negotiation process better. If your small classes are just 6 students and they pay 20-30 RMB per class hour ... well, you can do the math.

Did the employer advertise a salary or discuss any figure prior to you entering negotiation?


Their advertisement listed 6,000 - 12,000 depending on the city and a housing allowance of 1,300 - 4,000 per month depending on the city.


Denim-Maniac wrote:
Have you spoken to other teachers employed at the school?


I've asked for this information and will give them the contact information of my previous supervisors in exchange.

Denim-Maniac wrote:
If they started at 8k per month, and none of the teachers have a housing allowance, then I wouldnt hold out much hope in your securing the package you want.


I'd probably be willing to drop down to 8k per month, but they do advertise a housing allowance.

Are you familiar with salaries and housing costs in Harbin?
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I also collected recent (since July 2012) salary postings and have concluded that the average position in Harbin expects 22.18 teaching hours per week for an average monthly salary of 7,522.72 RMB per month, which works out to 84.78 RMB per hour.


I think you are trying to be too specific on a salary amount. These offers vary so much, and much more so in China.

I use 25 classes as the average number of class hours (1 class hour = 40-50 minutes).

The workload for these classes could be a lot if you teach different types of classes, or it could be very little lending itself to become tedious repeating the same lessons to more classes.

As for salary, I am afraid you might be too optimistic setting the average above 6,000. There definitely are offers for more than 6,000 and I would look more closely into the schedule they want you to work if you take a job for 7,000 or more.

Here is an example http://jobs.echinacities.com/showjob-177726.html
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chinatimes wrote:
Quote:
I also collected recent (since July 2012) salary postings and have concluded that the average position in Harbin expects 22.18 teaching hours per week for an average monthly salary of 7,522.72 RMB per month, which works out to 84.78 RMB per hour.


I think you are trying to be too specific on a salary amount. These offers vary so much, and much more so in China.

I use 25 classes as the average number of class hours (1 class hour = 40-50 minutes).

The workload for these classes could be a lot if you teach different types of classes, or it could be very little lending itself to become tedious repeating the same lessons to more classes.

As for salary, I am afraid you might be too optimistic setting the average above 6,000. There definitely are offers for more than 6,000 and I would look more closely into the schedule they want you to work if you take a job for 7,000 or more.

Here is an example http://jobs.echinacities.com/showjob-177726.html


Based on what I saw, ~7,500 is closer to the average, but I purposefully excluded kindergarten classes (your link was a kindergarten class position) because this position supposedly doesn't involve learners under the age of ~11.

I thank you for the advice though. The company contacted me with an offer and I thought it was acceptable, but asked if they were willing to go a little higher. Their offer is still below what I hoped to get, but I'm quite ignorant about the cost of living in Harbin.

Your post helped put this into perspective because kindie classes usually pay more than older students. I'll certainly keep your information in mind.
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MisterButtkins



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1215

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was under the impression that most buildings in the NE get free heat in the winter. If your apartment is reasonably new you shouldn't need to spend extra money on heat.
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MisterButtkins wrote:
I was under the impression that most buildings in the NE get free heat in the winter. If your apartment is reasonably new you shouldn't need to spend extra money on heat.


Great advice - thanks. I wasn't aware of this, but it sounds reasonable.

Regarding my original post, I scaled the salary back and got what I asked for minus a bit on the housing allowance.
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5h09un



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 139

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

which school are you speaking with?
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5h09un wrote:
which school are you speaking with?


I won't disclose that until I arrive in China. No need in losing the position because someone from here undercut me :lol:
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5h09un



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 139

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

golsa wrote:
5h09un wrote:
which school are you speaking with?


I won't disclose that until I arrive in China. No need in losing the position because someone from here undercut me Laughing


i was asking mainly because i have at least a general idea of what every school is like here. this is not a big city. not all of them are good. in fact, i can think of at least two that are absolutely awful.

BTW, 1,500 is what most people pay for housing. some more, some less, but there isn't much deviation from the average. you'll pay less than 100 RMB for your electricity, even in the summer when you use your air conditioner.
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5h09un wrote:
golsa wrote:
5h09un wrote:
which school are you speaking with?


I won't disclose that until I arrive in China. No need in losing the position because someone from here undercut me :lol:


i was asking mainly because i have at least a general idea of what every school is like here. this is not a big city. not all of them are good. in fact, i can think of at least two that are absolutely awful.

BTW, 1,500 is what most people pay for housing. some more, some less, but there isn't much deviation from the average. you'll pay less than 100 RMB for your electricity, even in the summer when you use your air conditioner.


Can you name any schools that are known for being bad? I don't want to disclose this particular school simply because I don't want my contract going sour - for any reason - before I arrive.

This school's housing offer was in line with 1,500, which I accepted after doing further research.

Do you have any other insights into life in Harbin? I know it's extremely cold and the air pollution is bad during the winter. How long have you been in Harbin and would you do it again?
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johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3240

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Can you name any schools that are known for being bad?


YES!! Avoid Henan Business College (Zhengzhou)!!
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, too, am interested in working in Harbin (I like cold weather.) next year. There is a really good website for expats in Harbin. I'm at school supposedly working on lesson plans or I'd give you the URL. It's something like harbinexpat.com. There should be housing/roommate ads on the site and a forum for questions like yours.

DirtGuy
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golsa



Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DirtGuy wrote:
I, too, am interested in working in Harbin (I like cold weather.) next year. There is a really good website for expats in Harbin. I'm at school supposedly working on lesson plans or I'd give you the URL. It's something like harbinexpat.com. There should be housing/roommate ads on the site and a forum for questions like yours.

DirtGuy


Thanks. I found the website, which is harbinexpat.net off the top of my head, and it was quite helpful.
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