What Chinese Associates Make
Anjie’s Gu also says his firm offers a better lifestyle. “When we hire people, we want to encourage them to stay and eventually get promoted,” he says. “We don’t want to hire a lot and then eliminate them in a brutal way.”
But elimination is as much as part of the associate experience at Chinese firms as it is at their American counterparts. Dacheng ties its associate pay to billable hours. Associates earning the firm’s base first-year salary of between RMB 5,000 ($823) and RMB 10,000 ($1,646) a month are required to bill at least 1,200 billable hours a year. But the more they bill, the more they make.
Beijing senior partner Yu Xugang says Dacheng will pay a lump-sum bonus to those who have exceeded the minimum. “If one has 2,400 billable hours, the income will be more than doubled,” he says.
What about associates who fall below the threshold? The answer is unsurprising.
“Those who can’t keep up, we have to let them go,” says Yu.