Gaba Corporation Reviews | Glassdoor

Gaba Corporation Reviews

Updated April 7, 2019
160 reviews

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Pros
  • "Flexible schedule so you can earn a living and still have time for your other gigs and hobbies" (in 33 reviews)

  • "Flexible hours - you can work when you want" (in 17 reviews)

Cons
  • "No paid holidays, no paid health insurance" (in 20 reviews)

  • "You are a contractor, you get no benefits and you are only paid when you teach a lesson" (in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (17)

    "Good for traveling."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Gaba Corporation part-time

    Pros

    You get to choose your own schedule. Which allows you to travel around Japan when you get the chance.

    Cons

    If you get a bad review from a client, your management will do little to protect you.

    Gaba Corporation Response

    Aug 19, 2015 – Instructor Recruiter

    Hello, and thank you for the feedback. Many of our Instructors choose to work with us specifically because the flexible schedule allows them to work around their travels. I'm glad you managed to do... More


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Not ideal for foreign workers"

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

    I worked at Gaba Corporation full-time

    Pros

    Flexible working hours (flex time allows for arrival at work by noon at the latest, but a nine-hour day nonetheless)
    Decent non-discrimination policy
    Reimbursed weekly Japanese lessons
    Biannual bonuses

    Cons

    Low base salary, barely enough to subsist (let alone amass savings)
    Low bonus compensation by Japanese standards
    Only 10 days of paid holiday in the first year
    Six-month probationary period
    Little, if any, upward mobility
    Slow salary increases

  3. Helpful (7)

    "DO NOT WORK HERE!....unless you're a student on a working holiday."

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

    I worked at Gaba Corporation full-time

    Pros

    Great coworkers who become friends. Fun students/ clients. You can choose your own schedule. (biggest pro if you like to travel around Japan or Asia)

    Cons

    Unbelievably stingy company who intentionally mistreats it's employees in order to make a profit. Unpaid work if you don't finish your required duties in the allotted 40 minute lesson time. A very dysfunctional evaluation system which could get you fired. No paid holidays, no paid health insurance. You can get sponsored for a visa but then they own you. Some students have issues (as lightly as I could put that one) Impossible to get a raise. Micro managing. VERY UNSTABLE! Basically, low pay for a lot of work.

    Advice to Management

    Increase the pay of your instructors, they are the real product!

    Gaba Corporation Response

    Oct 22, 2018 – Instructor Recruiter

    Hi there, thanks for the review! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your time at Gaba as most do, but there seem to be a number of factual inaccuracies in what you wrote, so it might be best to correct the a... More


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Instructor/FM instructor"

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

    I worked at Gaba Corporation full-time

    Pros

    The teaching English model is really good and works.
    To a degree their is flexibility in the job - if you know your schedule a month in advance
    Amazing instructors you meet friends for life.

    Cons

    Paid very little for training, FM pay for what you did was not worth it, middle management is tough to work with. Little cross-cultural communication training. First three months are difficult to gain clients. Maintaining a visa with them is extremely difficult and you lose that flexibility since you need to work so much - I guess just plan accordingly

    Advice to Management

    Cross-cultural training, have a similar model for instructors like they do clients - customization


  5. Helpful (15)

    "Typical eikaiwa"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Gaba Corporation part-time

    Pros

    Getting your foot in the door

    Cons

    Pay, environment, not valued as a employee since it's a revolving door, dress code, people with obvious agendas (both students and instructors) to hook up rather than to teach/learn

    Advice to Management

    I guess there's not much you can do, since it's the system that's more of the issue.


  6. Helpful (48)

    "I highly advise not to work here"

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

    I worked at Gaba Corporation full-time

    Pros

    As an English instructor/teacher in this company, you have a contractor status. They do not offer full time positions if you are an English instructor/teacher. Thus, you can choose your own schedule, take however many days off you want. This is probably the only positive thing about this company. But there are many drawbacks to the contractor status that make it an overall negative aspect in my opinion which I will describe below.

    Cons

    If you want the blunt truth, look here. I will give it to you straight. Of course it is biased because it is from my point of view and I may be leaving some things out that other people find good, but everything I write is not a fabrication or an exaggeration. It is 100% factual.

    Contractor - As a contractor your income is not fixed per month. It is based on the number of lessons you teach. If you teach 0 lessons in a day, you will get no money. You will just end up sitting there doing nothing all day. This is somewhat scary, because for whatever reason, if there is a slowdown for a particular day/week/month, you will earn significantly less money and struggle to pay your bills. This really hurt during the 2008 financial crisis when lesson bookings went down dramatically. On the flip side, because everyone is a contractor, everyone else may open more availability for themselves to try and get more lessons to teach, so lesson demand goes down, while supply could go up.

    Pay - This is what a realistic average schedule would look like if you are an average instructor like me. On a weekend, I would open my schedule from 10am to 8:30pm. You are required to show up 15 minutes before your classes, so it's actually 9:45am to 8:30pm. So that's 10 hours and 45 minutes. I would open 4 lessons, take 1 break, another 4, take another break, and another 4. So that's a total of 12 available lessons I open for myself. Out of the 12, 10 will fill. If you are at the lowest belt, (which you will be in the beginning for a while unless you fight for getting belted up), you will get 1500 yen per lesson which equates to 15000 yen for the day.

    On the weekday, you can not nearly get as much. Because of peak-time lessons (which I go into detail below) you might want to open your lessons from say 3:15 to 10:00 with 1 break scheduled. That's a total of 8 open lessons, and you will probably get about 6 filled. So that's 9000 yen. Personally I never wanted to work more than 1 weekend, so let's say you work 4 Saturdays and 4 weekdays, and 1 national holiday. You'd get 219,000 yen, plus a 6500 yen TNT bonus (which I also cover next). It's really not all that much for the amount of work you do. So if you want more, you really have to work both weekends and all national holidays. Then you might be able to get 270,000 yen or so if you have decent bookings.

    Benefits - There are basically no benefits, other than the TNT (which I will get into later). You do not get health insurance, unemployment insurance, social security, or transportation covered. The only thing you do get is a bonus based on the number of lessons you teach (TNT), which will be around 10-11,000 yen (unless they've changed it since I've been there) if you teach more than 200 lessons. However, in order to teach 200 lessons, I would have to open up my lesson availability on average around 11 hours for 5 days a week. Gaba will probably want to respond here saying that its 1500 yen for 40 minutes so the math doesn't add up. But you have to understand that not every lesson will be booked. And when you sit around and do nothing, it kind of feels like work. And the 5 minutes between the 40 minute lessons are unpaid, and you generally have to do things, such as use the restroom, type up some notes, mentally prepare for the next lesson, etc. This is something I still consider work. So think of it as 1500 yen as 45 minutes with unpaid lunch breaks, and unpaid coffee breaks.

    Work time - There are peak time lessons and non-peak time lessons. Peak time lessons are for the first 3 lessons in a day, and the last 7 lessons in the day. Each lesson is 40 minutes, with a 5 minute break afterwards. So peak time starts from 7am and ends at 9:10am, and starts again at 5:30pm to 10:40pm. This is the period when most students come to take lessons, thus you are basically at the mercy of when the highest demand times are. So you can't expect to be teaching much during 9:15 to 5:30 because there just isn't much demand. However, this is what a normal work schedule looks like. So if you want to start working when people with normal jobs are going home, then this may be good for you, however I personally like to eat dinner with my family in the evening and not come home when everyone has gone to sleep.

    Cleanliness - The cleanliness of the school is largely dependent on where you work. Newer schools are naturally cleaner. I worked there for several years and lived in 3 different places around Tokyo, so I have been to quite a few schools. I have to say, from a distance, the school looks clean, but when you look at the keyboards of the computers, the desks, the staff room, it looks germ ridden. I've seen stains around the sink, microwave, or on the staff room table that have been uncleaned for months. Most schools are like this unfortunately.

    The actual teaching job - I have to say teaching was somewhat interesting in the beginning. However, once you have taught for a year, the lessons become seriously mind-numbing. You will eventually remember the whole textbook lesson like the back of your hand in a matter of a few months, and then it becomes extremely dull. There is really not much of a challenge, and you will feel like you are repeating the same thing over and over again, like pumping widgets at a factory. Also, a large part of the job is establishing good rapport with your students. I would say about 60-70% of your evaluations from your students are rapport based, and the other 30-40% is on your actual teaching. This is of course understandable because as a customer, you want to be taught from someone who can establish good rapport from you... but because this job is teaching and conversation based, you have to act fake and act animated at all times which took a serious toll on my morale and energy. Unless you want to be 100% game-face the whole time, I would not recommend this job for you. In addition to all of that, depending on the school or area you are in, some students just go there to kill time and talk, and make friends with teachers, or find a foreign girlfriend/boyfriend. So a significant number of "students" will just want mainly free conversation for the majority of the time, and you have to come up with conversation topics that you can talk with them based on their limited English skills. This can be extremely mind numbing sometimes talking about the same mundane topics over and over again.

    Promotions and careers - The recruiters definitely oversell the prospects of getting out of being an English instructor and actually establishing a career. However, this is largely based on your student's feedback. So if you are a great business developer or a great writer who wants to make textbooks/curriculum for the company, you have to be a good teacher. However, these skills don't quite overlap. If for example you are introverted (as many writers are), you probably won't ever get the opportunity. They will base the overwhelming majority weight on the student's feedback. As I wrote earlier, the feedback is largely based on rapport. So if you can't establish good rapport because you are introverted, no matter how good of a textbook writer you may be, that door will likely be closed for you.

    Management - In my experience, the managers are not the sharpest. Most of them were promoted due to their "teaching", or rapport they established with their clients. They may have been good at sweet talking to their students to get good evaluations. Based on that, they were able to get a position as the school manager. The upper management generally selects this at the bulk of their criteria, and their ability to run the school is secondary. Thus, this can create a lot of problems, because unintelligent managers end up taking over. On top of that, there is too much conflict of interest between the managers and the teachers. One form of compensation for management is the number of lessons that are taught in a given month. So there are a lot of incentives to bring in more teachers, however this will dilute the number of lessons a teacher can teach in a given day, which creates a lower income for the teachers. Also, the more availability there is for students, the better the school looks from that standpoint. However, more availability for teachers means less money for teachers. I can't believe that the management has still not figured our a solution to this. Either that, or they don't believe it is a problem.

    My final thoughts - If you don't speak Japanese and want an easy entry into Japan and make money while you're here so that you can have a good time, Gaba might be an okay place to park yourself. But I warn you... Do not get trapped in Gaba. It is easy to do and you will regret it. Look for other options first, and then use Gaba as last resort if you can't find anything else, because Gaba will basically employ anyone.. even people who don't speak English properly. And I'm not even half joking. I've seen plenty of "teachers" who can't even speak proper English. And the weird thing is, they might have some of the best evaluations. Again, because it's the rapport they establish. And Gaba doesn't really care much if the "teacher" is teaching incorrectly because all that matters to them is the client feedback and bottom line.

    Advice to Management

    Why create competition for instructors and instructors/managers. Why not have a school goal that everyone moves towards. This way, instructors will support each other more, give more tips on how to deal with different students, instructors will refer students to teachers that they think will be a better match, etc. I understand that part of the beauty of the system is to make instructors more competitive by opening more lessons and making them give their best, because their income heavily relies on the number of bookings. However maybe a balance between the school's goals for the month and number of bookings would be a more efficient way to tackle the problem.


  7. Helpful (7)

    "You get in what you put out"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Gaba Corporation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Make your own hours
    - Decent pay
    - Great coworkers
    - Solid training structure

    Cons

    - Only paid while teaching lessons, unpaid time for lesson plan and record keeping
    - Clients choose you, you have no control over who you'll interact with
    - transportation not paid
    - you are a contractor, no union, no overtime, etc...

    Advice to Management

    The team has continually improved and addressed it's weaknesses so no advice really.

    Gaba Corporation Response

    Aug 19, 2015 – Instructor Recruiter

    Nice to see a happy former Instructor feedback, thank you! We do indeed spend a lot of time and energy gradually improving all of our processes and systems, so thanks for noticing and pointing that... More

  8. Helpful (47)

    "Inflexible company."

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

    I have been working at Gaba Corporation (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible schedules read unpredictable income.
    Good looking and friendly front counter staff.

    Cons

    Aforementioned unpredictable schedules.
    I'm not commenting on this as I knew this going into Gaba.
    Nor is commenting about the non paid transit.
    Nor the non paid health insurance.
    Nor will I comment on the non paid pension (national retirement fund)
    Nor will I comment on the lack of paid holidays as this was mentioned before signing a contract.

    Cons: if you are negatively reviewed for reasons that are out of your control. Your ISL may or may not submit a nerf.( A negative review will be a factor to prevent you from belting up, to get paid more per lesson)
    From Gaba's point of view there is no reason to push hard to get your negative review removed. Only isl and sometimes the regional manager have incentives to push through a nerf request. As it affects their record. However they must have an acceptable limit as some don't seem to mind the negatives not be bothered too much with individual cases.

    Belting up: A certain limited number Instructors can be belted up in a given month. There is a limit given the evaluation system that is used.
    I was falsely told in initial training that it could be after a month.
    Even isls disagree with this.

    Forced retraining. BUC1 BUC2
    Not cost effective and rather unhelpful. Especially by the time the BUC2 comes around.

    The text books are currently have many inconsistencies.
    •Be it in language used. BrE vs AmE
    (Whilst gaba will try to spin this as learning various types of English [The same is said regarding the English instructors use] when learning a new language the text book should be consistent. As usage of American English is the norm at gaba it should be reflected in the material. Text book and online.

    Mygaba reads are written very unprofessionally.
    Unnecessary repetitions, explanation inconsistencies, term inconsistencies. The reoccurring AmE vs BrE. And poor grammar which was surprising.

    *Exercises are sometimes cryptic and confusing.
    Some have no bearing on the lesson taught.

    Text books are sometimes different to the instructor text book.
    -understandably as the material gets updated the online/instructor material gets quicker updates.

    Things to remember Gaba started out as a referral service for clients to learn English.
    The 70% on the lesson fee they keep goes to rent and SC (Support Center/head office) salaries.
    Gaba now is a huge company which was bought out by nichigakkai and even bigger company a few years ago and since then many changes have been put in place.
    (The repeated reason given for the belting up getting much harder)

    Read your contracts VERY carefully as they may try to get more for free from instructors.

    Hiring rates are high. New comers are many.
    GABA has initial certifications 3 to 4 times a month for a given area (kanto).
    As instructors cost very little overhead the more lowest paid instructors the better for gaba.
    Which means less available lessons for current instructors.
    Turn over is high.

    On glassdoor the "salary" (wage) is consistently explained at about 2000¥/hour if back to back lessons are taught. Though that may be somewhat true the wage is as they put it is 1500¥ - 10% income tax + 8% consumption tax which is 1458¥ per 40 minutes.
    1458¥/40m=36.45¥/m
    36.45¥/m * 60m= 2187¥/hour EQUIVALENCY.
    That's NO DIFFERENT to many other places that misleadingly explain hourly rates based on lesson rates.
    And this is extremely average.

    At tax time they claim that you can get you travel, and other business expenses back.
    But no one is able to help. The ISLs are former instructors but sometimes not knowledgable enough to help out.
    Many instructors are simply left out to dry when tax season comes.

    Be careful for residence tax and if you are there for over a year the national health insurance premiums will go up sharply.
    First year is nothing and in the second the premiums are based on the first year's income.
    Many instructors leave as the income vs expenses becomes too much.
    Nothing is mentioned about this.

    Gaba web site clearly implies that you won't earn enough to have your own place.
    Always referring to share houses guest houses.

    Someone regional managers are elitist and cannot will not empathize with your situation even though they were once instructor.

    Advice to Management

    Even a turd can be polished these comments are not to show your PR spin prowess.
    See above. And interpret this section as advice and address the issues head on.

    At gaba you are a number. Literally.
    Instructors are but a virtually free commodity, cash cows.
    The more they have the better for them and the worse of instructors are.

    Within gaba voices go unheard.
    You requests asides scheduling go ignored.
    Complaints, fall on deaf ears.
    Feedback left goes unnoticed.

    The fact that I comment here and still work at Gaba is a testament to the inefficient inflexible bureaucracy. I comment because I care about the well being of other instructors. Gaba instead of dismissing these comments you should learn from them and change. For every one person that comments there are many that don't but share the same opinion.

    They spend more in damage control and trying to keep a good image than on instructor happiness.
    Case in point look at all the previous comments and the attempts to show caring all three while negating or flat out ignoring the negative points.

    Let me help you Gaba.
    "Thanks for the feedback. I'm sorry you don't/didn't enjoy teaching with us at Gaba."
    [address easiest issue here and ignore rest]
    "Best of luck with whatever you move into next."

    Gaba Corporation Response

    Aug 20, 2015 – Instructor Recruiter

    Thanks for the long feedback! It's clear that you are very unhappy with teaching at Gaba and I'm sorry to hear that.

    We are a business that specialises in teaching English and have a particular... More


  9. Helpful (32)

    "Terrible company to work for"

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

    Pros

    You can find some decent coworkers to work with and hang out with

    Cons

    Everything else, Refer to the detailed description

    Advice to Management

    Improve your systems / processes. Stop over promising things that you can't keep. Stop implying things will happen when you don't know if they will. Stop guilt tripping your employees with your passive-aggressive tactics.

    Gaba Corporation Response

    Jun 25, 2015 – Instructor Recruiter

    Thanks for the feedback! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy teaching with us at Gaba, but I agree that there are lots of good people working with us here so I'm happy that at least you enjoyed that aspect of... More


  10. "Work at Gaba!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Current Employee - Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Gaba Corporation part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    flexible hours and decent starting wage

    Cons

    no management support
    staff can be overbooked

    Advice to Management

    providing better support for employees