Question by Sierra Up: Employment Options in Taiwan for the Middle-Aged?
After a 20 year career as a civil servant in the U.S., I’d be interested in job options in Taiwan. I’ve reviewed job listings in Taiwan, and most seem to be teaching English or engineering positions in the Hsinchu area. Engineer is a non-starter. Armed with a solid elementary grasp of Chinese, I think English teaching would be rewarding and a good break from pushing paper. But seems difficult to make ends meet with the limited salaries. Six figure positions with U.S. multinational corporations seem far and few in between, and reserved for a select few insiders. But it seems there has to be quite a few other opportunities somewhere in between English teaching and a major MNC. What other options for making a decent living in Taiwan could be available?
Answer by Pagan Dan
I’m in a good position to answer your question, having just returned from Taiwan after two years, and having lived there off and on since 2001–and I’m middle-aged too. I was an English teacher, in a public junior high school in Hualien County on the east coast of Taiwan
Unless you have financial obligations back in the US, you will find that the income from teaching English provides for a very good standard of living. It cost the equivalent of USD 120 to insure my wife’s car for a year, and USD 65 for my motorbike insurance. My wife didn’t work. We had top-drawer medical insurance–Taiwan National Health. For example, yhe user fee for professional physiotherapy treatments was USD1.50. The government medical plan includes prescriptions and dental care as well.
Our rent was cheap, and we were able to travel extensively in Asia.
In other words, you can’t look at what your income in Taiwan would be, and say “I’m not working for that kind of money.” It goes by how much you can save, and how far your money goes, as opposed to the dollar amount of your income compared to what you can make in the USA.
The government restricts the kind of work that foreigners are allowed to do. You can forget about working for an MNC, unless you already were an employee and you get transferred over.
I’m an agent for a major recruiting company in Vancouver, Canada. We place teachers in Korea, PR China, and Taiwan.
If you have a four year degree from an accredited university, a native accent, and a US passport, I may be able to find a good placement for you. There is no charge to the teacher for our services.
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