While no two paths to finding professional work in Taiwan will be the same, most will encounter a number of challenges and interesting situations across a few core areas. This post will give a very brief overview of these potential rough spots. You’ll find each of these topics resurfacing in greater detail in other posts about working in Taiwan.
What’s the single most important thing to do?
Networking is hands down the most important thing you can do to find work in Taiwan. This is true not only for your first job, but also for freelance work and future jobs. While you may luck out and land a first job without much networking, it’s advisable that you be an active professional socialite and expand your network as much as you can. Side projects and job offers can come from surprising places. Go to happy hours, go to job fairs, and consider staying in touch with that person you chat with at the café or bar who might already have a job or maybe is also looking. Every connection you make could be the key to your next job.
Where should you look for jobs?
As with any job search, you should canvas far and wide. In addition to the All Hands Taiwan job board, here’s a quick list of some of the most well-known non-job board resources, but you’re better off checking our ever-growing list of resources:
Non-Teaching Jobs in Taiwan (FB Group) – Large, active group dedicated to helping job seekers and companies with openings connect
Working in Taiwan (FB Group) – The largest group that I know of for (foreigner-focused) employment in Taiwan
Non-Teaching Jobs in Kaohsiung (FB Group) – Job seeking group focused on Kaohsiung and southern Taiwan
I’ll try to update this list as I learn of more options. In addition to this list, use LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and any other site that appears to have legit listings. Connect to recruiters and HR people at companies you want to work for. If your home country has a trade office or chamber of commerce in Taiwan, check with them. Search regularly for job fairs.
How long does it take to find a job?
Even when you expect job hunting in Taiwan to take some time, it almost always takes longer than you were considering. As frustrating as this can be, do your best to manage this time proactively. Take side work, intern, volunteer, or even work on personal projects that are related to the work you want to do. The combination of a low number of openings for each field, many competing job seekers, and unpredictable hiring periods and processes can stretch your job search quite a lot longer than you expected. It can also be helpful to discuss your efforts with friends to share tips and learn from one another’s experiences.
How much will/should you be paid?
This is a topic of never-ending debate that for some seems to only ever be answered as “not enough” or “not as much as you should be.” If you’re looking at entry or non-management positions it’s a good thing to be mentally prepared to encounter offers that are at best similar to a full-time cram school teaching salary, and at worst up to 1/3 less than that. The exception here is for high-demand, highly-skilled talent such as mobile engineers, who can command a premium. (No, being a native English speaker does not constitute a highly-skilled talent.) Regardless of the job and your skillset, you’ll do well to negotiate for the best deal you can secure and you might well pass up openings that you feel don’t pay enough. The good news is that with 12-18 months of good experience on your resume working in Taiwan, you should be in a position to negotiate for a significant raise at your next job(s). For experienced and managerial candidates, salaries vary widely and, again, it’s advisable that you negotiate the best deal possible.
Bear in mind that these are just some of the basics that are worth knowing if you are considering transitioning from teaching English, finishing grad school, or moving to Taiwan for work. We’ve barely scratched the surface here, but these topics are essential to consider when you’re thinking about working professionally in Taiwan.