EF English First Reviews

Updated August 31, 2015
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3.4
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Jacob Toren
27 Ratings

Pros
  • In terms of work environment, everyone did their work and didn't complain much (in 5 reviews)

  • Support from management and corporate, paid on-time (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Summer and Winter Courses are too long and the expectations on a single employee are overwhelming (in 4 reviews)

  • Summer course is rough - expect long hours and an exhausting schedule, and the bonus pay is a joke (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

82 Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (2)

    The best workplace I have ever worked

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

    Pros

    I had a great experience working at EF Shanghai. - The benefits and pay are competitive, including a round trip ticket home and housing benefits (if you're an expat). - Amazing perks: offsite travels, fun happy hours & parties, breakfasts, flexible working hours, insurance plan, great office building & location, etc. - There is a nice culture of respect, equality and kindness. Yes there are cliques and politics but I have seen many other companies that are much worse. - It also offers cross cultural working environment with really smart people from all around the world. Quite inspiring to work with such a broad mix of talents and backgrounds.

    Cons

    - Big company but low brand awareness worldwide: after I left China I tried to move to a different industry, but since EF was not very known in my home country, my experience was not valued as much. - While the company tries every effort to retain talents, most expats (including myself) see China a temporary stop in their life, causing high turnover with foreign employees.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work


  2. Loved it

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher Business English
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher Business English
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    English first is a great place to work with a lot of wonderful people!

    Cons

    Sometimes things were very disorganized.


  3. Run-its a sweat shop!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at EF English First part-time

    Pros

    They pay timely and the students are wonderful

    Cons

    They do everything they can to doc your already $10 pay to nothing. Too many rules, too many ways for your pay to be reduced. If a student does not show, you get nothing but you have to do 7-10 writing corrects to get paid. I am sure the labor rules are not legal in this country but they get away with it. There are too many other good companies willing to pay $15 to 20 for less work.

    Advice to Management

    Pay people what they are worth and treat them like adults and not 5th grade children

    EF English First Response

    Aug 14, 2015 – VP of Teacher Recruitment & Training

    For our part-time staff, teachers have the option to mark writing assignments if no students show up for their class so that they can have an opportunity to receive additional pay. If students do not ... More


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Great Company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at EF English First full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You can work just about anywhere in the world. The people are nice and care about their teachers and staff.

    Cons

    sometimes things are a little unorganized.


  6. Helpful (3)

    Doesn't care enough about it's people.

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

    I have been working at EF English First full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's a safe working environment where accommodation is provided, unless you work in Shanghai. You get paid on time and they offer to subside you some of your first pay when you arrive to cover living costs. You will, generally (see below), work with a professional team of double certified teachers (EF will pay for TEFL in some cases and require all teachers to later take a TKT YL exam). They offer additional benefits of a newly launched professional training scheme and opportunities to advance, with stipends for certain certificates in further education in the field of ESL if you are informed (again see below).

    Cons

    Staff generally are treated poorly, which reflects in their high turnover of both foreign and local staff. Local staff are particularly badly treated and not rewarded even though they work much harder than the international staff. Some foreign teachers that they hire shouldn't be training anyone let alone young learners and it is usually the excellent ones who leave very quickly. Most of the job is carried out on the weekends and evenings so if you like to have a good social life dream on. As an organisation it is all about the money they can make as they often cut corners when providing the correct materials a teacher needs including not informing teachers of, or paying for, extra benefits, holiday time or extra certification opportunities.

    Advice to Management

    Think about your people and maybe pay more attention to what actually goes on in your schools including maybe by dropping in on them more often and also giving, especially local staff, more opportunity to voice their opinions without fearing the consequences that may come with it. Also recommend you seriously develop the amount of support and size of the recruitment teams in head office then maybe more excellent teachers wouldn't be walking out of your companies door.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Working with EF has been a growing experience in which I have developed a very diverse skill set.

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

    I have been working at EF English First full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Being able to use a great product really enables teachers to develop students and really see their progress over time. Having a strong academic support structure also helps to improve teachers' abilities and promote their self confidence as well as their avheivement.

    Cons

    Sometimes flexibility is required when dealing with parents and center intiatives. Events and activities can often be put through with little notice. Cultural differences when dealing with management also need to be understood well for best results.

    Advice to Management

    Ensure product launch deadlines are met as well as all of the resources with the products. Small Stars Second Edition didn't have the pronunication videos for a while after the product release. This is felt with every academic staff member across the world that uses this product and generates the same discontent.


  8. Helpful (4)

    Not a bad entry level job.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Teaching can actually be quite rewarding. The job itself is not difficult and the pay is good relative to the work.

    Cons

    Frustrating management decisions and tedious administrative work. Conflicts between foreign staff and local staff. Extremely bratty kids that make you want to strangle them, then strangle their parents for raising them.


  9. Good company to work for

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First part-time

    Pros

    Friendly coworkers, great students from a range of different nationalities, good location in central London, flexible and supportive management team

    Cons

    The pay is not great, but is not terrible for an EFL teacher in London, the whiteboards could be a bit bigger in the classroom, sometimes some resources - CDs...etc were missing

    Advice to Management

    Try to improve the pay a little bit to retain the team as a lot of good teachers left for this reason


  10. Terrible stressful place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - EF Kids and Teens Teachers in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Current Employee - EF Kids and Teens Teachers in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    The visa is legit. Some good support when you arrive in China. Some average promotions available at local head office, if you are willing to put up with a lot of hell for one year. Lesson plans are all provided ready made to teach. Everything else, I can't think of anything good to say.

    Cons

    Refusal to pay bonuses originally promised. Constantly giving extra hours. They refuse to help with your visa if you decide to change jobs---they often lie to make sure you don't teach anywhere else. They don't pay enough for the work you are required to do. Poor training and development, duplicitous about legalities of transferring visas. If you're going to work for a language training centre in China go to Wall Street. Holding onto teachers' visa documents (Foreign Experts Certificate) for 'safekeeping', so that you cannot break contracts and continue to work in China. Lying to parents about teachers future prospects once they leave.

    Advice to Management

    Introduce a translation app so that parents can understand online student progress reports. Do not waste teachers time on progress updates which progress advisors do not bother to feed back to parents. Bad teacher retention and high-staff turnover. Please treat your teachers as people, not laowai workhorses.


  11. Odd but sometimes likeable

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    Fast promotion is possible. Many opportunities for travel. Varied work with good flow of new projects. Some initiatives are interesting, if underfunded.

    Cons

    Difficult to work with many senior staff. Pay is not great. Company culture is a bit odd - desire to ape real or perceived practices of bigger corporations in purely commercial sectors. Irrelevant targets are aggressively pursued. Personality cults develop around certain senior staff making it awkward to criticize many bad and damaging ideas, because they are some VIP's pet project.

    Advice to Management

    Improve pay. Pay attention to initiatives developed outside head office, particularly in schools. Beware aggressive push for excessive standardization. Remember that product developers should be servants not masters.



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