EF English First Reviews | Glassdoor.com.au

EF English First Reviews

Updated 23 September 2018
274 reviews

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3.6
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Jacob Toren
102 Ratings

274 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Paid on time AND received full value of benefits (didn't have to beg for airfare subsidies etc)" (in 17 reviews)

  • "very friendly work environment, open and communicative, very high sense of happiness in this company" (in 19 reviews)

Cons
  • "The hours can be very long, especially when there are summer and winter courses" (in 11 reviews)

  • "Work/life balance sucks due to long hours and weird schedule" (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great experience!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Brisbane
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Brisbane
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fun kids, new city, decent pay

    Cons

    Can't think of anything at the moment

    Advice to Management

    Depends on your centre, management was good in mine so keep it up! More team building events for staff


  2. "EF Changshu - The Truth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director of Studies in Changshu, Jiangsu (China)
    Former Employee - Director of Studies in Changshu, Jiangsu (China)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    During my time at EF, I worked for three centers as well as in the Shanghai Headquarters. Here's the truth: EF Changshu hijacked my heart for life, and nothing else I've ever been a part of quite compares to the fellowship and camaraderie you feel on the adventure.

    For me, the experience was everything that I'd hoped it would be and more...

    The location is perfect for an authentic Chinese experience - in the centre you get all the buzz and electric vibe of an Oriental metropolis, and of course the city's gardens and teahouses preserve the elegance of the traditional China we all read about and see in the movies. The best part is that the school is directly opposite a stunning mountain and park!

    The HR department (bless them) take care of you so much. They help you with your apartment, your banking, your phone, taxis, finding your way around the city... They saved me so many times and I couldn't thank them enough!

    You get the consistent training, the ongoing feedback, and the professional support to strengthen your skills as a teacher and even build your career. That's how I ended up working in the Shanghai Headquarters.

    Everyone in the school really makes sure that it's more than a job. It turns into such an enjoyable experience because you're around people who you build a connection with and who actually care. The atmosphere is just like being with a bunch of friends. It turns into a joy and I've certainly missed the place and the people since I left.

    Cons

    If you are interested in finding the job with the most money, then this isn't for you. If you learn and grow here, it is possible to be promoted - but still, even the promotion, even with all the opportunities it offers, doesn't come with a big chunk of money. However, if you keep going then the professional experience you gain can turn into big bucks down the road. Trust me.

    As a manager, I was overworked. The local staff also have a lot to do. But I think the foreign teachers get a really good deal (definitely fewer hours than the average job back home, and much more enjoyable too!)

    Advice to Management

    Of course, more money would be great but that decision comes directly from the investor. For managers there needs to be a more narrow focus of responsibilities and less pressure.

    Only hire people who bring the right attitude! ;-)

    Thank you for everything!

  3. "English Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai (China)
    Current Employee - Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai (China)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    EF helped me start my career of teaching. They provide all the trainings I need to become a good teacher. Knowing that I'm inspiring children to learn motivates me and empowers me to keep improving. At the same time, I'm learning form my students too. Love my kids!

    Cons

    I need to work on weekend, whereas I get 2 days off during the week.


  4. "Great opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager
    Current Employee - Project Manager
    Recommends

    Pros

    Great opportunities, cool working environment with
    international colleagues. You have the chance to choose and conduct projects
    that interest you since they believe employees will perform better when they
    like what they are doing.

    Cons

    Sometimes working hours can be long, but well valued and
    compensated


  5. "EF is a scam"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Former Employee - Teacher in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    They pay on time and pay for your entry flight.

    Cons

    Everything that is advertised is a lie. The salary is not what they make it out to be. You literally earn crumbs as a salary. They don't give you all the Chinese holidays as stipulated on the contract. Their centres have undertones of racism towards black people, from their management and senior teachers. When you are sick they act as if you are lying and demand you are back at work the next day like you are a zoo animal. The schedule is so shifty and the hours are long, if you work for them forget about having a personal life and so called "holidays". Overall their business model is similar to a slave plantation. Stay clear of this company it's a scam. I suggest you look for a job at an international private school or a kindergarten.

    Advice to Management

    Stop lying on your adverts and contracts. Stop treating foreigners, especially black like they are stupid and stop trying to censor and silence people.


  6. "Losing market share."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First part-time

    Pros

    Still, have lots of work in the evenings NYT.

    Cons

    But getting very patchy in the mornings NYT. Pay is low for NES starting at $10.00 an hour and it will take you 3 year to get to $13.00 an hour.

    Advice to Management

    Most teachers leave because of your behaviour towards them.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Luck of the Draw"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    If you get lucky, unlike me, you could be at a very productive and professional center. Other teachers I know feel very supported by management, have all the supplies they need, and feel prepared for class each day. You will also always be paid on time, which can not always be said for ESL teaching companies. There is also a huge amount of opportunities and venues both in and out of teaching, all within the EF brand.

    Cons

    If you get unlucky, like me, you can end up in an absolutely awful center. Management is inexperienced and untrustworthy and every day will be a challenge to prepare for classes. You may never know how many kids to prepare for in a class (happened to me yesterday morning: my class tripled in size with no warning). Your PA's will throw you under the bus at any opportunity to cover themselves. Entire classes may appear on your schedule with no notice. Once a safety issue arose and we were told to lie to the parents about their students' safety to not incite a panic. The pay, while on time, is low for the standard you see amongst other companies. With the insurance they provide, you pay all your doctor bills up front and have to submit a claim to get reimbursed, but no one I know has ever gotten reimbursed. You get very little annual leave. And all those other job opportunities, you have to make it at least through your year to get to them. If you're struggling like I am, that year could feel like 5.

    Advice to Management

    The standard of centers needs to be the same across the board. Many other teachers I know have fabulous centers that are very productive and have a good working environment. Other centers are almost famously underperforming and the entire staff is unhappy. Every manager higher and higher that I've spoken to is acutely aware of which centers are the "problem centers", but nothing is being done to correct it.

    EF English First Response

    28 Aug 2018 – Vice President

    Thank you for leaving your feedback regarding your EF experience. We take all comments seriously and would like to follow-up with you regarding your work schedule and the safety issue you mentioned... More

  8. "Don’t work for these guys."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Nanjing, Jiangsu (China)
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Nanjing, Jiangsu (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    This all depends on the city you live in. I have heard that you are treated very well and are expected to get great job opportunities for your merit in certain cities. At the city I was at, they trained you heavily at the beginning and there was continuous development to help you improve your goals. I met a lot of friendly staff and it was great to deal with the students and parents on a regular basis.

    Cons

    As an experienced teacher, I thought the training was too much. Afterwards when you are teaching you are expected to do development tasks. Often it felt like a test. I never felt like I was developing naturally, it felt forced. Soon after working at the company I noticed a lot of foreign teachers leaving. I was in the company 6 months and over 20 members of staff left based on unfair treatment or discrimination. I have seen PAs and teachers used as scapegoats because of poor management decisions. Often the teaching schedule was made at the last minute meaning it was difficult to plan in advance. If you weren’t happy with a management decision a senior manager would state the terms of the contract in front of all employees to make you fall in line rather than help you solve the problem or provide you with an incentive to work. Often if you wanted to gain a job promotion you had to suck up to management than do things based on merit. Often management would lie about job opportunities. In my city alone there were plenty of places with job opportunities, but instead they would rather have one person run more than 1 school than train someone else to take over a school. I also saw people being told that they would be trained for senior positions, only to see brand new teachers given senior positions and then other teachers being held back. There was a lot of discrimination as well. Teachers that were of other ethnic backgrounds left because they couldn’t get a job promotion based on their skin color. For demo lessons CCs would dictate who would do the demos based on their skin color. They would pretty much say they wanted white Foreign teachers only for demos because they believed that parents were less likely to buy a course if someone from a non-white background was doing the demo. Often people are over worked. A school in my city pretty much revolted against the company because they were being over worked and mistreated by management. When people finally decide to leave based on unfair treatment, senior management and HR would make it incredibly difficult for you to sort out your visa with a new employee. HR have refused to cooperate with my new employee and have done the bare minimum to help transfer my visa because they say their duty is limited in what they can do. Rather than end on good terms to avoid a review like this, they would rather stress you out by preventing you sorting your visa out effectively. The reason why I left was down to not being paid on time. 3 times in a row I was paid late and it involved several attempts to communicate with the finance department to fix the issue each time. What annoys me the most is I left because I wasn’t paid on time, which in its self is a breach of contract. When I decide to leave to go elsewhere the company would rather make my life hell than to actually leave on good terms. I am extremely disappointed with this company, especially when I still have good relations with previous companies I have worked for.

    Advice to Management

    Fire senior management in my city. They are toxic and are the reason why many people leave because of their poor management capabilities to deal with staff members. Trust your staff and train people based on merit rather than people sucking up to management to get a job promotion. Don’t throw the contract in people’s faces all the time, let them work for you through incentives and make them feel appreciated for the work they do.


  9. "Great Company to Grow With"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    Amazing co-workers, ample development opportunities, challenging work

    Cons

    Living in China can be challenging at times


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Ups and Downs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Teacher/Teacher in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Former Employee - Senior Teacher/Teacher in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Paid on time / - Valid working visa / - colleagues are super nice / - generally there is a support system for new arrivals / - there is a clear path for advancement / - the kids are lovely and great to teach

    Cons

    - long hours that are unaccounted for when payday comes / the pay is not competitive at all / When I started it was around 11,000 or 12,000 RMB for an international teacher and it's still similar / The housing prices in Beijing are nearly doubled in the last 5 years, but EF won't change its pay even though they are charging parents more every year.... / - it's impossibly to do the job to the best of your ability in the time given in the workday so forced overtime is natural / - covering classes completely spontaneously. I covered a class 5 minutes after it was supposed to start / - advancement path is clear, but they really make you jump through some hoops to even get the slightest promotions which don't account to very much in the way of salary / - the company is cheap when it comes to fixing/replacing broken equipment. I worked in a center where the AC was broken for about 4 and a half years / The white boards were constantly malfunctioning in the middle of open door lessons. This goes back to the whole low salary thing / some people that are hired have no business being teachers, we used to joke that if you have a 4 year degree, are a native speaker, and have a pulse you will be hired. Hiring standards are very very low /

    Advice to Management

    Pay a fair, competitive salary to teachers and they wouldn't leave every 6 months. I know, I worked there for many years as a senior teacher on the DOS path. Also get upper management to fully understand the day to day workings of EF. I'm not talking about PMs. I want to see Jacob in center more. He used to show up once a year, make a useless speech and leave. It would be nice if he actually knew the day to day workings of EF. As I said, I worked there for awhile met him 3 times and each time he acted like we never met. I found him way out of touch with what's happening in centers.


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