What to Expect in a Compensation Package?

What to Expect in a Compensation Package?

Looking back into some of the deals I did not close with my candidates, there is this one case that lingers in my mind. Luis never stepped foot in China and from what he read on the ESL job posts, he formed a presumption that China has a lot to offer, a pre-paid flight ticket being one of the benefits. It was under this impression, my recommendations and a job offer at a later point, failed to meet his expectation and his needs overall. He shared his financial problem with me, at the middle of a negotiating for a better deal: he could not afford a plane ticket and the expense to go through the authentication was a pain. As a result, he declined the offer. 

I can’t help wondering: where online did he read the content that fed him the illusional expectation?

Therefore, in this post, I will share my insight on the issue of benefits, usually appearing as items in a compensation package, based on various schools I have worked with. 

What Does Compensation Package Consist of on Average? 

 We will look at what most training center chains who usually offer:  

  • Monthly salary with agreed teaching hours 
  • Housing allowance (¥2000-¥3000)
  • Airfare reimbursed upon finishing one-year contract (¥5000)
  • Sponsored work visa and reimbursement for visa related payment
  • Medical insurance in China
  • Paid national holidays plus annual leave & sick leave (5 days-10 days)
  • Annual bonus 

Now let’s look at its variations and unspoken agreement you can expect:


Salary on the advertisement has already assumed that you will pass probation (1-3months). 3 months aren’t ridiculous if I’m telling you this is common for a local staff working there. You get paid 80% of the salary during probation, which is reasonable as you are under training and you teach fewer hours. It is very likely you can advance to full pay in the third month if you perform well and begin to teach a normal schedule. It is something you can bring up when negotiating the length of your probation.  


Housing could be a shot in the dark if you have not lived in China before. What most job ads do no state enough is that the company provides assistance in apartment search and a one-week accommodation in a hotel. The whole process of hunting apartment could be nicely done given the advice from your co-workers. Rent needs to be paid for the first 4 months with a month rent included. I’ve seen teachers get a loan from the employer and agree to a deduction in salary, which could ease the financial stress at the transition. 


Airfare will be reimbursed at the end of the contract to lower the turn-over. A few schools pay back when you pass the probation, but watch out for the fine if you break the contract. I’ve also encountered an offer letter that promise to pay back the first half in the middle of the contract. 

Pre-paid air tickets are rare for training centers, for foreign teachers take a rather small proportion among the personnel. It makes sense they don’t offer that when you are the only person who benefits from this, right? 

Visa Trips 

Visa trips will be covered on your own. For legalizing documents, however, if it’s not fully paid, schools offer a certain amount of allowance paid after probation or an agreed time. You need to keep the receipts. 

Medical Insurance 

Medical insurance is twice important than you think. A selective insurance company has a list of local dentist’s and hospitals where English is spoken. 

Annual Leave 

Annual leave at training centers, 5-days is the norm. In fact, five-days is the norm for Chinese employees at most private-owned enterprises. To gain advantage in hiring, we’ve started to see more schools that provide 10 days off and Christmas day off. 

Annual Bonus

Annual bonus is also known as contract completion bonus. It’s either a fixed figure or a month-worth salary. 

The purpose of this post is meant to give an outlook when you decide and negotiate for a job offer. There are the doubts you wish to figure out before you apply for a position, so that you can focus on those that deserve your time and attention. 

In this case, working with a reliable agent is a solution. Talk to your recruiter in terms of the unspoken deals and variation in benefits behind a job advertisement to spare your time guessing. Trust him/her to speak and dig information for you before the hiring process begins.