Berlitz Reviews in Japan | Glassdoor

Berlitz Japan Reviews

Updated December 16, 2018
64 reviews

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Japan

2.6
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Curt Uehlein
4 Ratings

64 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • "Low pay, Teaching materials could be better" (in 36 reviews)

  • "No benefits for part-time employees and contractors" (in 25 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. Helpful (5)

    "It's a work visa, but that's about it."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Instructor in Tokyo (Japan)
    Current Employee - Instructor in Tokyo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Berlitz full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fairly quick hiring process. Additionally, a lot of nice people scattered throughout the company, including instructors, managers, LC staff, and some administrative staff at HQ.

    Cons

    The leadership of Berlitz Japan manages the company as if determined to eradicate not only its brand equity entirely, but also to squash all hope among its employees that there is any future to be had with the company. In improving the health of the company, internal cost-cutting seems to be the sole stratagem in which they have any interest, though there is strong evidence that actively cutting morale is also part of their M.O.

    If the company is making any effort at all to increase sales, they're doing so stealthily. Berlitz advertising is all but invisible out in the world, and if you do run into it, you'll notice it's badly planned and badly executed.

    Pay is bad. It's effectively the lowest they can legally pay you and still have you qualify for a work visa in Japan. This is not an accident. Additional classes that would lead to a bit of extra pay are occasionally available, but ever less so. Raises are literally nonexistent. The new full time contract has zero annual bonus.

    The schedule is bad. This is especially true for people on the new instructor contract. Split shifts are standard, as are non-consecutive days off (especially for new hires). If you're full time, you will basically never be able to have an actual Saturday/Sunday weekend. You can expect to be scheduled from 8:30 (7:45 at some LCs) to 21:15 at least several days a week. Teachers often suffer from chronic sleep loss due to their schedules. Endless fatigue that saps focus and motivation, combined with poor compensation in a place with a high cost of living, effectively leads to a form of wage slavery.

    The teaching materials are bad and actually getting worse. Even the newest texts are already out of date and out of touch with real world language of today (multiple consecutive chapters on leaving a phone message? really?). The older texts are even more embarrassingly out of date, sporting pictures of decades-old tech and topics so irrelevant you actively apologize to the students for their presence in the book. Additionally, the newer books were hastily put together with what seems like no oversight, the upshot being that they are full of errors. Some of the specialized materials are based on what appears to be inconsistently formatted Word files thrown together overnight by someone without any topical knowledge or relevant research at hand. It's embarrassing.

    At the same time, use of better-quality third-party materials is actively discouraged and minimized.

    It is a dead-end job. People come, they stay 6-12 months, they leave in frustration. There is no incentive to stay with the company long-term. Instructors are clearly seen as disposable by the company. A handful of people might move on to HQ or become managers at schools, but they're not happy either. If you want a job that'll let you support a family or lead to better opportunities over time, look elsewhere.

    Upper management does not listen, and clearly has no interest in listening. Problems go on endlessly, idiotic policies go unchanged despite protest, apparent opportunities are actively ignored. The greatest and most valuable resource that Berlitz has is its employees, and it does not listen to them.

    Turnover is high and nobody is surprised.

    Some of the schools are in poor condition, too. Newly-renovated schools are fine, but some branches are in dire need of improvement. Worn-out interiors, dirty walls and worn floor tiles, worn upholstery, and promotional posters that appear to have been in place since the eighties. It's embarrassing.

    Ultimately, the people who seem to be happy at the company fall into three categories. First, upper management folks whose compensation is actually adequate. Second, old-timers who have been with the company since bubble times and whose salaries and benefits are actually good. Third, people who don't know any better. Everyone else is pretty miserable.

    Advice to Management

    Supposedly Berlitz is a premium brand. If ever it was, it is now but a pathetic shadow of what it once was. If that image is to be salvaged and in any way justified, massive, company-wide changes are in order. The new initiatives recently announced internally won't cut it and are themselves misguided. Berlitz Japan is a sinking ship with little hope of being saved at this point.

    If you want it to be a better place for students, make it a better place for your staff, especially your teachers. Try to make new contracts less exploitive, rather than more. Give good bonuses and salaries, and let people have a schedule that is compatible with having a real, human life. Give people reason to stay long-term and invest their time in the company. Put some actual effort into your teaching materials. Listen to your employees. As in actually listen.

  3. "okay to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Current Contractor - Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Berlitz as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good money and good training

    Cons

    You teach kids and business people

    Advice to Management

    offer more assignments.


  4. "Great Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - English Instructor in Tokyo (Japan)
    Former Employee - English Instructor in Tokyo (Japan)

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

    Pros

    Had good experience working there.

    Cons

    There is hardly any room for growth within the company.

    Advice to Management

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


  5. "(Japan) Probably about as good as it gets as far as eikaiwa work."

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

    I have been working at Berlitz full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -The Japanese staff and manager at my language center are the best coworkers I've had, and are truly exceptional people.
    -I've had limited interaction with upper management, but Mike Good and Mark Behrens at least seem to be reasonable and down-to-earth people to work with.

    Cons

    -No work-life balance. I'm on the FTI contract. On Friday nights, work ends at 9:15PM. I work every Saturday and Sunday from 8:15AM to 6:15PM. Few people want to date or hang out in the middle of the week.
    -It depends on your language center manager and your mentors, but the level of micro-managing and hostility is detrimental to morale.
    -I feel like my manager puts on a friendly facade, but is only capable of regurgitating the Berlitz handbook and can't have a real conversation.
    -You're not paid for travel time if you start or end at a language center far away from your base LC.


  6. "Good for Part-timers"

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

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

    Pros

    Fairly flexible hours for part timers.
    Part time per lesson wage is good.

    Cons

    FTI contracts burnout new employees.

    Advice to Management

    The new FTI contracts treat employees as expendables. It will be difficult to retain new employees and build them up to their potential.


  7. "Good way to enter into Japan"

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

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

    Pros

    Kind co-workers, fun atmosphere if you find the right LC.

    Cons

    Not much room for development.

  8. "Language Instructor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Instructor of Language in Yokohama, Kanagawa (Japan)
    Current Employee - Instructor of Language in Yokohama, Kanagawa (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Berlitz full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some very good people work there. If you are hard working you have the potential to earn an ok salary on the previous contract.

    Cons

    New contract doesn’t promote a good working conditions. The company doesn’t support its people and compensate them for their efforts. There is a very negative vibe amongst many teachers.


  9. "Good company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - English Teacher in Hamamatsu (Japan)
    Current Contractor - English Teacher in Hamamatsu (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Berlitz as a contractor (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great company with a lot of great students to work with. Colleagues are awesome

    Cons

    not shappy with working schedules but you get to choose your own schedule. Plus the new contract sucks

    Advice to Management

    Give your instructors importance and the longer they work for you try to give a lil bit more.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Business ESL Teaching in Japan"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Current Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Berlitz full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good training for entry-level teachers who wish to move on to corporation teaching.

    Cons

    Weekend work is mandatory, so no social life.

    Advice to Management

    Give teachers more opportunities to to create and design own lesson plans.


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