EF English First Reviews

Updated 9 Jul 2020

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3.2
56%
Recommend to a Friend
60%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
174 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "make it very difficult to leave company for another job in China(in 54 reviews)

  • "Production schedule isn't aligned with Chinese National holidays so cannot plan holidays in advance(in 30 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Terrible management of activities, students treated as customers, sub standard accommodation for students"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Activity Leader in Dublin, Dublin
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Well organized academic section of the camp

    Cons

    Little to no organization of activities for students that hadn't paid extra money for bonus activities Campers living all over Dublin city and even on outskirts Meath, sometimes with over an hour commute to campus Concerns over accomodation conditions of students Very obvious that business and profit was paramount above service provided

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  2. "Nice office and great teamwork"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Jakarta
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - We're given space to learn and explore - Great team bonding - We have happy hour

    Cons

    nothing to complain about the company

  3. "ok"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Special Education Teacher in Japan, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    good location, nice worker and atmosphere

    Cons

    leverage low salaries, not good promotion

  4. "Great company to learn from and develop yourself"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Service Consultant 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Nice working environment. Open communication. Positive values. Flexibility. Good level of employee engagement.

    Cons

    Focus on profit. Micromanagement (sometimes).

  5. "good place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Jakarta

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    they provide training for teacher's dev., yearly salary increment, and health insurance

    Cons

    you have to work on the weekends

    EF English First Response

    July 1, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your 3+ years of service and for your review. Wishing you continued success.

  6. "only if you are ready to work 24/7"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Friendly and quite good atmosphere

    Cons

    crazy shifts and salary, you have to check outlook every 2 hours even after 10 pm

  7. "Great company for part-time work."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Online English Teacher in London, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at EF English First part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Easy to use teaching platform with a supportive team on hand to help.

    Cons

    The work can be repetitive.

    EF English First Response

    July 8, 2020Vice President

    Thanks for taking the time to reach out and share your experience with us! It’s great to hear that you find the platform easy to use. We are also glad that the UK team is supportive. As with most work there is always routine, but we hope that viewing each student as an individual variable creates a new challenge in every class. Thanks again for reaching out!

  8. "Good"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Paid on time, structured lessons/lesson plans

    Cons

    Too many hours for the amount we get paid

    EF English First Response

    June 5, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your feedback and for recommending EF as a company.

  9. COVID-19
    Helpful (2)

    "I wouldn't recommend this job to anyone, specifically for this city"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Foreign Language Teacher in Ürümqi
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Pay was pretty good. The cost of living contributed a lot to that. The kids actually kept me at that job. I didn't go to that city or country because of the pay but rather, the experience. The kids were the best part of my experience.

    Cons

    Location, management, HR & Admin, work-life balance, favoritism, basically everything else. The location didn't have exposure to many foreigners so, everyone was very curious about you. IN MY EXPERIENCE, people were pretty rude / ignorant in terms of personal space, questions/ assumptions about you, and taking pictures. It was a constant battle of patience. Management was not great. The atmosphere was always intense to the point that at my school, there was a pretty high turnover rate. People were always frustrated with management due to lack of communication or unrealistic expectations/ pressure to break your back for the job. There were also higher ups who created a very unwelcoming environment for everyone. There was a lot of confusion for tasks but teachers were expected to just quietly complete them. Anyone who challenged/ questioned the higher ups was seen as problematic. IN MY EXPERIENCE. HR & Admin were pretty disorganized. Things that should have been stated (like bills and other payments) before signing the contract kept coming up throughout the duration of the job. It was already stressful at work. Having problems pop up at home and not having anyone who knew how to solve them was too much. If the teacher pointed out the lack of communication or incompetence, they were looked at as complainers. Specific things should have been handled before hand or, someone in HR/Admin should ask for clarification before sending the teachers on some fool's errand (not necessary for solving the problem) because they didn't have the answer and just...guessed. IN MY EXPERIENCE. Work-life balance. Or imbalance, I should say. You 're working even on your days off. IN MY EXPERIENCE. It seems in the city I was in, guys were more favored than the girls (mainly among foreign teachers). There were plenty of female teachers who did spectacular jobs and had great relationships with parents and students. However, the males (especially the problematic ones) were always raised onto pedestals. Even if they had negative affects on working environment. IN MY EXPERIENCE. Among the foreign teachers, there was always drama happening. Even when people wanted to solve the drama, it kept going. People who didn't want to be involved would be drawn in as well. It also didn't help that some of the local staff were involved in the drama (which also created favoritism/ positive outlooks towards the problematic individuals). IN MY EXPERIENCE The local teachers were paid a quarter of what the foreign teachers were. While there was a lot of hearsay about the salaries of local teachers, it was very noticeable that they were paid substantially less and had to do a lot more. This created hostility between locals and foreigners. Foreigners would voice their complaints about management or lack of work to do but locals just took them as complainers who got paid more while they did "all the work" and were paid less. In reality, they got paid less and had a lot of work and in my school, foreign teachers were not given as much work or told that, "the local teachers will do it,"/ "only for local teachers". Even if the foreign teachers wanted to help. IN MY EXPERIENCE. They are looking for "yes" people who didn't challenge whatever they say. Those are the people who get put on pedestals. They also get burned out because they are few so a lot of the tasks will go to the "yes" people, overworking them for the same pay. IN MY EXPERIENCE. Did I mention we got kicked out of the school for working illegally ("breaking the law" as my supervisor rephrased it) during covid-19? Honestly, a majority of MY EXPERIENCE was a mess and brought out horrible sides of me.

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    EF English First Response

    June 10, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your feedback. We're sorry to hear that you experienced difficulties with communication during your time with us. We will make sure to pass along this feedback to management. In regards to salaries, they are reviewed to make sure they keep in mind cost of living and competitiveness within the market. With regards to salary packages we do acknowledge that there are differences for local and international staff. This is not intended as a preferential treatment but takes into consideration the startup and ongoing costs of relocation to a foreign country. Your feedback however is appreciated.

  10. Helpful (2)

    "Kind of like being in an abusive relationship."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Chongqing, Chongqing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Good place to get started when you really want to teach/live abroad and no one else will take you or you don't know better. They will take pretty much anyone regardless of experience/ability as their turnover rate is so high. They are always hiring. Most teaching materials are relatively well made. If you really enjoy working 70+ hours a week, they have good opportunities for advancement.

    Cons

    They will tell you it's a 40 hour a week job, which it is not. Closer to 60+ hours a week to finish everything they expect you to do. You are not a human being to EF, you are a disposable beast of burden. Most of their teachers are fresh out of college and come over to China for a "fun" year abroad, so they don't expect you to stay for longer than that. Anyone who sticks around longer than a year is a workaholic. Extreme pressure from management: nothing you do is ever good enough for them. All "training schools“ in China are essentially the same: for-profit organizations that masquerade as institutions of learning, but EF is the worst of them. You will generally make about 12k RMB a month, which is typical for training schools in China and which, if you aren't in a major city such as Shanghai or Beijing, is more than enough to live comfortably on. The problem is that the amount of work they claim you will be responsible for is not the same as the amount of work you will actually end up doing. Save yourself the exhaustion and stress and go work for Meten, you'll earn 50% more for half the work. The "Kids and Teens" program is comprised of about 90% children between the ages of 2-6, so you end up dancing and singing and generally acting like a clown for your paycheck most of the time. EF acts like they are the best of the best when it comes to English schools in China, and will make you feel like you will never be able to get a decent/well-paying position in China if you leave them. Yet I worked for three different training schools in China and they had the lowest salary for the largest amount of work. EF had this cute little tagline they liked to use while I was there that I think really exemplifies what they are all about. The tagline was "From 'hello' to Harvard," and this perfectly encapsulates what they do. EF, as well as all other for-profit English training schools for children in China, operate by selling Chinese parents this "dream" that, if their kid spends 2 hours a week attending their English class and does a bit of homework, they will become fully bilingual speakers who will grow up and go to attend a prestigious foreign university. The harsh reality is that this isn't how second language acquisition works, and a lot of these kids are being raised by their grandparents, who often do not even speak Mandarin, let alone a single word of English. So although it's a nice little slogan, shelling out thousands of RMB a year for your kid to go sing English songs and interact with native speakers is not really going to lead to them being Harvard grads in the future.

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    EF English First Response

    June 29, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your review. We regret to hear that you had a negative work experience. At EF, we work hard to provide a positive work environment for all teachers and staff whether someone is looking for a one year experience or a life-long career.

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