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Berlitz Japan Reviews

Updated January 22, 2018
53 reviews

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Japan

2.6
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Berlitz Chairman, President, & CEO Mark W. Harris
Mark W. Harris
11 Ratings

53 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Flexible, diverse, friendly work environment (in 24 reviews)

  • Flexible hours, good working life balance (in 22 reviews)

Cons
  • Such humiliatingly low pay for teachers (who must have a Bachelors degree minimum) (in 34 reviews)

  • No benefits because the teachers are on a freelancer contract (in 22 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Fantastic Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Instructor in Yokohama, Kanagawa (Japan)
    Former Employee - English Instructor in Yokohama, Kanagawa (Japan)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Berlitz full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Training is provided, so you are prepared even if you don't have teaching experience.
     if you are at the right Language Center the staff will be really helpful. I did not speak the language and the staff at my language center assisted me find the perfect apartment. The company pays for transportation and you will be reimbursed for the majority of your medical expenses. I believe Berlitz is the best of all the language schools in Japan.
    Bonus at the end of the year is an awesome perk!

    Cons

    There is hardly any room for growth within the company.
    Long hours on Saturday and Sunday at most LC's

    Advice to Management

    Headquarters should be more selective in choosing managers. I've had one excellent manager and two questionable ones.


  2. "Great students, contracts, and coworkers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Foreign Language Department in Tokyo (Japan)
    Former Employee - Foreign Language Department in Tokyo (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Berlitz full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    They have the best contracts and if you work in central Tokyo you can teach some of the best and brightest minds in Japanese business. Coworkers are well-rounded, cultured, educated people with good sense of humor to make staff room banter enjoyable.

    Cons

    Management seems to hate the instructors. They were actively eroding working conditions when I left, and I've heard it's gotten worse.

    Materials are rubbish. This is an elite global brand but the textbooks are made by people with no qualifications.

    Advice to Management

    You could have the best of the best working for you but you'd still find ways to grind down their morale. No idea what your reasoning is behind this, but it was better in the old days for the clients who ultimately pay your salaries.

  3. "Be forewarned"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - English Instructor in Tokyo (Japan)
    Former Contractor - English Instructor in Tokyo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Berlitz as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good colleagues
    Easy to use teaching materials
    Serious, well-intentioned students

    Cons

    Terrible split schedules
    Training is minimal
    Clear gulf between employee groups - management / front desk staff / teachers, all haven't a clue what the others actually do

    Advice to Management

    Get your act together, and unite employee groups before the ship sinks


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Much better places to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Instructor in Kōbe, Hyogo (Japan)
    Former Employee - English Instructor in Kōbe, Hyogo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Berlitz full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Pay was okay, but work schedules really suck bigtime until you get some seniority. Forget having a life outside work for the first couple of years.

    Cons

    Management monitor the classes without notice (microphones in all rooms) and demand that EACH 40-minute class be identically structured. Even if you teach the same person two in a row, which is very common.
    Basically, this style of "management" allows people with zero knowledge of instructional methods to become managers and look like they know what they are doing. And do they act like it!
    Experienced instructors are not permitted to alter the Berlizt "style" to better suit the customers.So if your customer doesn't fit the mold—that's just too bad. You must ignore that and teach AS IF they were learning just fine by the method.
    Level Checks mean nothing, except as a way to get students to buy more lessons. Once students are regularly paying, they NEVER fail a level check!

    Advice to Management

    Hire managers who know what they are doing, and junk your "evaluation" methods completely. Allow good teachers to change lessons to better suit students. Or, sell the company to somebody who will.
    Don't know CEO Mark Harris, but I hope he does better than that Japanese loser we had when I worked there. Good luck, Mark.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Split day shifts!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Full Time Instructor (New 50 Unit Contract) in Yokohama, Kanagawa (Japan)
    Former Employee - Full Time Instructor (New 50 Unit Contract) in Yokohama, Kanagawa (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Berlitz full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Unlike most others say, the full time monthly pay at 275000 as of 2017 is one of the best in the industry. This however requires a rough 50 hour week. (including at least 2 split days- with more than 4 hours of unpaid break in the middle of a day) making the pay one of the worst in the industry.

    There are actually a few individuals at the management level who have sincere sympathy for teachers. While maintaining their authoritative tone, they do whatever they can to make things slightly easier for teachers. HAVING said so, there are just one too many stark opposites, who care about nothing other then their own security.

    Cons

    The pay at 275000 requires you to work multiple SPLIT DAY shifts in a week. My schedule: Monday and Tuesday 8:30-21:10, Friday: 12- 21:10, SAT and SUN: 10:00-
    18:00. This is a 51 HOUR week including exactly 10 hours of unpaid breaks spread between those shifts.

    This means while Berlitz has a good monthly salary, the hourly rate comes down to 13 US dollars per hour , or using Berlitz terms: 916 YEN per 40 min class (yes they tell you a different figure.. I know... )

    UNPAID training. A $20,000 stipend is paid out with your first paycheque for the 6 day training you went through. This is a joke, and so Yes Berlitz, you have always been , and are still breaking the labour law. So start paying for the induction trainings.

    To new teachers: Some very good teaching material, but bad teaching structure and the customers dislike it. The only time you do a Berlitz method is when you are being monitored. Play the game and drop it. If you care about the quality of your teaching, please don't use it, don't treat your customers like infants by writing a goal on the board.

    Advice to Management

    Remove all split days. Increase base salary to 280000. Treat your staff better. get rid of the so called Berlitz method.

    Fire the individual who designed the so called Berlitz method. He is a pharisee. He designed this method to fulfil the company outward standards at the expense of customer satisfaction and effective teaching.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Lost at Sea"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engrish Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Current Employee - Engrish Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Berlitz full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    A plethora of hard-working individuals make-do with limited resources and a host of student challenges, from highly-motivated with high demands to low-motivation with time to kill. They have diverse backgrounds and a lot of life experience to offer students (if they are listening).

    Cons

    Management has no concept of what the product is.

    Advice to Management

    Get a clue. It's a people business, and you need motivated employees to excel in a people business.


  7. "Great training compared to others"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Language Teacher in Sakai, Osaka (Japan)
    Former Employee - English Language Teacher in Sakai, Osaka (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Berlitz part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Thorough training on the Berlitz method, high salary or 0 hours contract

    Cons

    Hours and scheduling were dependent on demand

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Doable part-time for a short while only."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Instructor (Per Lesson) in Kōbe, Hyogo (Japan)
    Former Contractor - Instructor (Per Lesson) in Kōbe, Hyogo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Berlitz as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    The chance to teach some really great people, well most of the time.
    Flexible schedule, can open your schedule or close as much as you want.
    The company will still pay the Instructor if a student cancels or does not show up on the day.

    Cons

    Training provided not very useful for the job.
    A culture of workplace bullying or people abusing their position of authority most definitely.
    Older, bitter, bullying instructors who view younger paid per lesson staff as stealing their jobs. This really getting annoying.
    Unfair appraisal methods from the yes men that are completely devoted to the company. You are set up to fail from the get go.
    5-minute breaks between lessons where you are spent filling out records, unpaid of course.
    Older, bullying, racist, ignorant staff being in charge of reviewing the newer Instructors.
    Very few opportunities for development even for those who want to develop in this company.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your staff like people rather than disposable resources that you can just slot in to fill slots.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great People and Good Place but lacks future direction"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in Tokyo (Japan)
    Former Employee - Director in Tokyo (Japan)
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Berlitz full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Passionate people and caring culture
    Inclusive environment which is very diverse
    Opportunity to Advance
    Corporate office is very small and nice community but I think the reality may be different in the language centers

    Cons

    The organization is a bit lost as they search what it the next big step for the growth of their business. It can also be very political

    Advice to Management

    Commit further beyond the language business


  10. "Conditions have deteriorated over the years"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Language Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Current Employee - Foreign Language Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Berlitz part-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Rules and guidelines (a lot of them) are clearly explained and as long as you follow them, you are not bothered.

    Cons

    Constant monitoring can be stressful, especially for new instructors.


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