Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting place to live and work. An efficient transport network and first-class infrastructure make it one of the most popular destinations in the region for those seeking an orderly and secure place in which to live. Teachers’ salaries in Hong Kong are often very attractive indeed. Unfortunately this is necessary because of the extortionate rental prices across the territory. Given that English is supposed to be a national language the level of spoken English in Hong Kong is actually fairly low in general. There are plenty of opportunities for experienced teachers but many employers prefer to employ those who already have Hong Kong residency as the process is much easier. Sadly a workaholic mentality pervades and stress levels can be high sometimes.
|Type of Institution||Typical salary (USD/month)||Typical hours||Typical annual leave|
|Language centres and kindergartens||1,500 – 3,000 (DOS)||Various but often 6 days a week||2 weeks plus national holidays|
|Secondary schools||2,500 – 3,500||8am – 4pm Monday to Friday plus some weekend work||10 weeks plus national holidays|
|Secondary schools (on NET scheme)||4,000 upwards||8am – 4pm Monday to Friday||10 weeks plus national holidays|
|International schools||4,000 upwards||8am – 4pm Monday to Friday plus some weekend work||10 weeks plus national holidays|
Main places for jobs
Territory-wide (Hong Kong island, Kowloon, New Territories and Outlying Islands).
Degree, TEFL certificate, 1-2 yrs exp., local interview preferred.
1. Experienced teachers are advised to research the Primary or Secondary NET (Native English Teacher) scheme and apply well in advance at the appropriate time. The usual deadline is January for an August start date. Inexperienced teachers are advised to get some experience elsewhere first!
2. When searching for accommodation, make sure you negotiate with your agent or landlord. If they know you are a teacher with limited funds they may be willing to lessen their financial demands. Many agents seek two months rent as deposit and half a month as a fee. Given that accommodation is so expensive, this can be a huge sum in total.
3. When in Hong Kong, check out the jobs section of the SCMP (South China Morning Post).
If you have not been offered a job before you arrive in Hong Kong then not only will you face a rather tough search for a well-paid position but you will also have to wait many weeks for your work visa to be issued after you have signed a contract. Given that accommodation costs are so high, you will need some savings to help you through this lengthy period.
When your visa does arrive, you will normally take a ferry to the gambling mecca of Macau and back again the same day to re-enter with you work visa.
Cost of living
The cost of accommodation in Hong Kong is incredibly high. Unless you are sharing you will find it very difficult to live on Hong Kong island. The cheapest places to live are Lantau, Lamma and the furthest reaches of the New Territories. Thankfully, electricity, water and gas are all priced rather low. Transport is also very cheap – including taxis.
Eating in is cheap but eating (and drinking) out can be very expensive unless you know of special deals.
Tax and salary information
Income tax is paid on an annual basis and it is the employee’s responsibility. This means you need to budget and make sure you save enough over the year so you can pay off the hefty bill when it arrives. It also means you need to fill in a tax return form.
|Excellent infrastructure – daily tasks can be accomplished easily||Difficult to find a job unless you are already in Hong Kong and takes at least a month to arrange your work visa|
|Very cheap and efficient transport system||Ridiculously high accommodation costs|
|Lots of opportunity for professional development||A workaholic culture in which it sometimes seems employees are afraid of going home in the evening!|
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