As I’ve mentioned before, when you’re evaluating a TEFL salary, in China or anywhere else, you want to take into account (a) how much other foreign teachers earn and (b) how much you’re earning compared to locals. This will ensure that you’re at least earning the market rate and that you won’t be relatively poor. It’s hard to find reliable data on either of these for China (hence this site), but part of an article from this week’s Economist seems useful:
McKinsey, a consultancy, reckons that in 2012 only 14% of urban households belonged to what it calls the “upper-middle class” (with an annual household income of 106,000 – 229,000 yuan, or $16,000-34,000, in 2010 real terms) and 54% to the “mass middle-class” (with an income of 60,000 – 106,000 yuan).
McKinsey have quite a bit of interesting research on China’s middle class that’s well worth reading if you’re interested in Chinese consumers. The full list of income brackets as per McKinsey are:
|Label||Household Annual Disposable Income|
|Upper middle class||106,000–229,000 RMB|
|Mass middle class||60,000-106,000 RMB|
Note, though, that McKinsey refers to annual disposable household income, not simply household income as the Economist states. Even so, a typical university TEFL salary of 5,000 RMB/month would be at the extreme low end of the “mass middle class” category.