Monday, December 23, 2013

Hired Help in Beijing (Driver)

This is part of my two part series on Hired Help in Beijing.  You can check out the first part in the series here: Hired Help in Beijing (Ayi).


Most expats that are not living in downtown Beijing have a driver. Others in town, have a driver or even share a driver with another family.  Other options of transportation are taxi, subway/train or bus.  None of these options appeal to us and I don't like to take a taxi unless I have no other option because taxi drivers speak no English and I don't like the safety risk of a child in a taxi without a car seat going up to 100km/hr.

Our driver takes my husband to work and occasionally takes me into the city when needed.  We have our driver's licenses so while we don't NEED a driver, Beijing traffic is dangerous and drivers are crazy, getting around is difficult, China has a 0 alcohol policy, parking is IMPOSSIBLE inside Beijing, and my husband gets extra work time on his commute.

Most drivers work 5-6 days a week, and while some do stay with the working spouse at work, others work primarily for the trailing spouse so he or she can run errands, and other various things.

Hired Help In Beijing

I sense an expectation of the "rich" expats helping the locals and supporting the community by hiring these low wage workers.  This may not be true, but I have heard that this is the case, that it is expected that you "give back" by hiring Chinese.  While this doesn't affect my decision to hire locals, I can see some people being swayed by this pressure.

Luckily, the drivers and ayis are able to make a living wage, it may not be first world standards, but on average with wages increases these workers are making as much as some college graduates in entry level positions with companies working 60-70hrs a week.  Now don't get me started on what this says something about how little companies pay college graduates starting out, that is a whole other post.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shanna,

    I found your blog while looking for expats in Beijing to appear on the TV show I produce, 'House Hunters International'.

    House Hunters International is a half-hour TV show currently airing on the Home and Garden Television Network (HGTV) in America. The series is designed to de-mystify the international home-buying / renting process, by going behind the scenes of a house hunt where expats and their real estate agents tour 3 homes. At its core, House Hunters International is a travel show concentrating on the idiosyncrasies of the locales and what makes them special and different.

    Here are some links to show you what our show is all about!

    Here are some examples of the show that you can watch on Youtube: - Barcelona from LA - Vienna from California - Panama from Pennsylvania

    We would love to do another show in Beijing, such a fascinating city so please do get in touch if you would like to find out more!

    Best wishes,

    Michelle James
    1-3 St Peter's Street, London N1 8JD - +44 20 7704 3300