Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with teaching jobs – the pay, for the amount of hours worked, is actually quite decent in Taiwan. However, I think a lot of people, and myself included, feel like it might not be the kind of job they are interested in, or can do well. So, let this post be a guide with a few of my tips on finding a non-teaching job in Taiwan.
First of all, if you want to find a non-teaching job in Taiwan, you must have the following:
- An undergraduate degree from a recognised university (If you studied online or through correspondence, it may not be recognised)
- A minimum of two years work experience outside Taiwan in the field of the job you want to apply for. For example, if you’re applying to be a sales person, you need two years sales experience, and you need a letter from your past employer to confirm that.
If you haven’t got both of the above points, finding a non-teaching job in Taiwan is going to be very hard indeed. However, if you tick both boxes, then you have quite a good chance of finding a position.
There are many editing positions available in Taiwan, predominantly in Taipei. These cover a variety of industries, for example there is copy editing for the English language versions of Taiwan’s daily newspapers, academic editing for Taiwanese students who want to publish their work in foreign journals, and even course material editing for Taiwan’s English teaching industry. How can you find these jobs? Tealit.com, while usually focusing on teaching positions, does sometimes have employers advertising editing jobs. The Taiwan Craigslist employment page often has some editing and copywriting jobs advertised. Finally, be sure to sign up on Forumosa.com and read the employment forum daily.
Taiwan is full of technology companies producing everything from RAM to the touch sensitive glass found in smartphones. These companies sell the majority of their products internationally, and as such require experienced salespeople who are fluent in English. The roles may involve travel to visit overseas customers. Many of the jobs I have seen advertised appear to be based outside Taipei, such as in Hsinchu, which is famous as the site of a major science park for technology firms. I have found that Forumosa.com has the most sales roles advertised.
Have you had 5+ years experience in a senior management role? Well, you probably won’t be reading my blog, but if you are, then head over to the Asiaxpat Careers board for suitable positions. Taiwanese companies seem keen to employ foreign managers, even if they have poor Chinese skills, because they want to leverage the different skills and contacts these people have. There are many opportunities here, but the required skills and experience are very high.
Modelling / TV jobs
Are you beautiful? Can you act? You may become a famous celebrity in Taiwan! Taiwan’s agencies are always on the look out for beautiful or talented foreigners to appear in advertising or TV shows. If you can sing there’s a TV show that exclusively recruits foreigners! It may not be a career unless you’re very lucky, but it could be lucrative if you land a contract with a big agency. I once found an ad on Forumosa for looking for a “muscular 165-180 cm tall foreign female model” (it was removed since). They were offering NT$5,000 cash for one day’s work – not bad money in my book!
In terms of pay, the average starting salary for a foreigner in Taiwan – excluding management roles, of course – is around NT$60,000 per month. It may not sound high compared to what you earned back home, but you have to consider that the cost of living in Taiwan is a lot more affordable than most countries. Also, the starting salary for a graduate in Taiwan is almost half that figure, so if you earn that, you are doing very well. Finally, consider the average tax rate for a foreign national in Taiwan over a whole year is around 15% – that’s probably much lower than what you paid in tax in your home country. So what are you waiting for? Good luck in your job search, and perhaps I’ll see you on TV when you’re famous!