Notes: Same rule goes to shanghai, even better. and JUST some PERSONAL experience from my observation and little research on Internet, may not be exact accurate.
In general, is it lucrative or profitable? well, it depends on the industry you are working in and the position.
more specifically, assigned-in position(IT industry) from homeland, such as US, to China is on the top of the food chain, especially for the top multinational corporations executive above position, which will probably beyond $ 1million per year, not including the compensation and subsidy of housing in China, children day care.
for a regular position such as first line or second line management position, as competition goes far too steep over these years in China, more and more guys from HongKong, Taiwan, south asian take this kind of position, even some native Chinese got more chance to be promoted, it is not much more lucrative, but profitable enough, the pay range varies dramatically for this whole batch of people, but is still far more than the native regular employees, given the payroll of some senior native regular employee got about 1 million RMB per year($150k), so you can probably figure out how the full picture of the “high society” look like.
all sound good right? but I am not trying to lure you in with this illusion, because most of ordinary people like me never belong to the “high society”, we have to struggling for living, so does the ordinary foreigner working in China.
The common job for a foreigner in China is to be as an English teacher, given the fact that english education especially for kindergarten is boosting during these years in first tie city like beijing, shanghai. and it is not difficult to find this kind of job in an education facility, I mean, official legal agency, not a personal broker agent who hooks up the client for you privately, I have to say, unless you know better about this very single agent, you got chance in scam.
Regarding the formal education agency, you got a steady job and income, that’s the good side, on the contrary, you got ripped off by the agency in some way, as I know, pay for the foreigner teacher is slightly higher than the Chinese teacher in the same position, and teachers got about $1000 per month, coupled with extra bonus for the class workload, which is just about the average payment amount of the beijing citizen last year ($1050/Month), you know, how much the agency charge for a single student per year? $3300 per year, which is not affordable for lots of native resident(Three months payment in row.)
Figure: An Education Agency with crowded people
I don’t know much about foreign chef working in China, but I think it is a good job if you got hired by a 4 star-above hotel. because most of the upscale or luxury hotel offer western style cuisine there.
Do not try to find a sales job for a local Chinese company, mostly they will use your foreigner face to cheat local people for money, even yours.
Recommend by your close friends in China to find a job is far more reasonable than what you find in the Chinese headhunting website.
For oversea students, asking your senior classmates and your professors for recommendation of a part time job is way better than via any of the public agency.
Kindly reminder, that Any position you have to compete with local Chinese directly, you are probably gonna lose, just find the position which Chinese is hard to be capable, no judging, but as a matter of fact, the competition of regular position for Chinese people is way too steep.
I think, in the very beginning, the official working visa process of China will be a little rocky, but believe me, It works finally, just leave the agency who hire you to take care of it, I mean, the legal one, they will find the way for their business.