EF English First Employee Reviews about "long hours"

Updated 16 Dec 2019

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3.2
56%
Recommend to a Friend
57%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
199 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 31 reviews)

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Reviews about "long hours"

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "EF English First 1 Year Review"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Language Teacher in Hohhot
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good training available to all new teachers and easy to follow curriculum. Co-workers work very hard and are very pleasant to be around in the office, but this could vary from location to location.

    Cons

    Very long hours on weekends that are demoralizing and only 15 minutes between classes to prepare and gather materials which is not enough. I was promised free Chinese lessons before I arrived, but they were only made available after 1 year of employment. Lack of foreign staff and foreign teacher retention seems to be a critical issue for this company.

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    EF English First Response

    January 17, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for sharing your experience, and for acknowledging our easy to use curriculum. I would be interested in learning more about your first year at EF. I can also help connect you with EF's online Chinese lessons, which you may enjoy. Please reach out to me at 'teacher.welfare@ef.com.' Mario Bermeo

  2. Helpful (3)

    "Low salary not enough benefits"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Teacher in Jiaxing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Offer opportunities to further your career. They promise you a lot of things

    Cons

    Long hours on the weekends. We didn’t have any office hours before but the management pressured us to be at the school at 40 hrs a week since few months ago and implemented a fingerprint system. Now this is fine if only it was mentioned in our contracts. When i got interviewed the DoS actually said we never expect you to be at the office you’re not teaching but things changed so quickly after i signed the contract. As a training center that doesn’t offer nowhere near as high salary as other centers, the only benefit of working at EF was the no office hours rule but now that’s gone. We’re expected to be at work like full time public school teachers who are getting paid twice our salary. Not to mention the peak seasons such as summer and winter course, then we have to be at work from morning till night 6 days a week with no additional pay, no overtime whatsoever. The center i worked at constantly put pressure on teachers, made them compete w each other when it comes to demo sales, retention, summer course sales etc. There is a big board in the office where each teacher has their target number for summer course and retention. Whenever a student of a teacher signs up they add it to their target to ‘motivate’ teachers when in reality it puts so much stress and pressure on teachers. It haunts us everytime we look at it. The management team looks at teachers as assets, means to make money and only that. Never as humanbeings w feelings. You’re only as good as your numbers. That’s how i felt all the time. Also there is a referral system where when you refer someone and they come and complete the probation period you get certain amount of money. I referred someone a yr ago and this person has come and completed their probation 3 months ago. I still haven’t gotten the referral payment and the person who is in charge of this stopped answering my emails so after a lot of unanswered emails i contacted them on their wechat and was left on read. My contract with them is up this weekend and i’m not sure if i’m ever gonna see that referral bonus.

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    EF English First Response

    July 12, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your detailed post. Our recruitment team works hard to set clear expectations, particularly when it comes to teaching schedules and office hours. We regret if this was not the case for you. In terms of your referral bonus, we are happy to look into this for you. Perhaps we could schedule a call to learn more about your experience? Please reach out to me at Mario.Bermeo @ef.com


  3. Helpful (3)

    "EF Teaching Abroad"

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

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

    Pros

    I had a great mentor and friendly coworkers

    Cons

    Long hours, sometimes management is disorganized

  4. Helpful (3)

    "Avoid"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher Band I in Beijing, Beijing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good stepping stone for people with no teaching experience that need an easy transition to China

    Cons

    Turn over rate is awful, few holidays, bad managers, long hours, busy work required to get even the smallest pay raise.

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    EF English First Response

    May 23, 2019Vice President

    Thank you for your feedback. We're sorry to hear about your experience. Many of our Centers have amazing management and we want to bring that culture to all our Centers. If you have the chance, I encourage you to email us at teacher.feedback@ef.com so that we can discuss further.

  5. "EF China Teacher"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Shenzhen, Guangdong
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Decent salary, lots of training, and comprehensive visa help for those hoping to go abroad. EF will get you to a different country legally and safely, and give you tools to settle in. Clear path of advancement and support for those looking to move up. Health care, though no dental, and paid sick-leave.

    Cons

    Summer and Winter courses are long hours. Management and training vary wildly from school to school, so you could end up with a great manager or an ineffective one.

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  6. "Residence Assistant"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Resident Assistant 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good and friendly teams Very busy

    Cons

    Long hours During the end of summer, there is not much to do.

  7. Helpful (2)

    "Central Management"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Shanghai, Shanghai
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    1) International Company. You *have* to work with people with diverse backgrounds and from various nationalities. I find this extremely valuable on a personal level. 2) Opportunities (for change and growth) - Within 5 years I have changed 3 times job (through promotion or horizontal transfer) or twice location (London - Shanghai). 3) Education Sector - you have an impact. On your students, on your colleagues, on yourself. If you are passionate about growing people around you and growing yourself, then this is the right place. 4) Freedom: The company is quite flexible. As long as you get the job done, you are pretty free to explore new areas related to your job. Nobody will micro-manage because there is trust that you will make your job happen. 5) Innovative and constantly moving/changing/improving. In five years I cannot recognize the company I started with. Not everything is golden and great but it seems that the company itself wants to aim for better/higher. As an employee, I appreciate that there is flexibility in the way things are done and there is an ambition for the better.

    Cons

    1) Luck: Like in most jobs, your happiness will depend on the manager you have. If you are "unlucky", you might get a bad experience. I have had that experience myself with a pretty bad and uncapable manager and I tried to make the most out of it. It wasn't a pleasant 8 months but I had decided to learn form it and I did. I grew in a better, more patient manager myself after this. 2) Ownership: It all depends on you: Your growth mainly depends on you so you have to be pro-active. If you are, then nobody will stop you. Being motivated and ambitious is the way to get stuff moved around here. (whether your working conditions or your salary or your career growth). You cannot expect stuff to happen "just because", you'll have to vouch and fight for it. That's when it happens. 3) Work hard-play hard: Get ready to work hard. You can have long hours sometimes. I see it as a way to learn more but it can get exhausting too.

  8. Helpful (21)

    "Nightmare of a job. Incompetent company full of lies, coercion and illegal activity."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - International Teacher in Guangzhou, Guangdong
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Amazing students Everyone gets a job regardless of ability. Visa obtained easily if you are outside of the country

    Cons

    EF's recruitment and retention strategy for foreign employees is essentially a human trafficking scheme with a friendly face that avoids anything overtly illegal. The experience at EF fits in the United Nations definition for human trafficking as people are recruited through deception and once in the position of vulnerability in a foreign country are maintained through coercion and abuse of power. Despite exploitation, consent to remain at the job is achieved through direct and indirect threats and deception with the knowledge that the foreign employee is unfamiliar with the local legal system and would not be able to seek help from authorities. Additionally, while foreign employees are free to leave the job anytime, they are deceived into believing that this would likely result in having to permanently leave the country that they have committed to living in. An option that for many is not feasible. The lies start with the recruiters who will give a job offer to anyone meeting the minimum government requirements for the visa, and make whatever promises needed for the employee to sign the contract. Everything seems professional, friendly and polished up until the moment the employees arrive in the country. At that point, the lies, mismanagement and incompetence start to be revealed. Within a day upon arrival, the employees are rounded up and given massive byzantine contracts to sign while still disorientated and jet lagged. Confusion and questions about promises and realities are either dismissed as recent changes in national law or company policy or just ignored. The company commits a great deal of effort to polishing its reputation to recruit new employees but once they begin working it seems everything possible is done to drive them away and ensure a miserable life on the job. Once the employee begins work at their assigned training centre, the situation on the job never ceases to seek new lows. Unbelievable incompetence is widespread among the management and staff. Rules and policies are made up on the spot by the administration, so the situation at each school location varies wildly. Despite the vast differences in working conditions at each centre, the policies are always claimed to be due to national employment law or corporate policy. The working schedule is with work on nights and weekends on top of long hours preventing any healthy work-life balance or slightest pretence of a life outside of work. Employees are required to work 9 to 10 hours a day and sometimes six days a week. In my case sometimes I worked 45 to 50 hours a week, and the overtime work beyond the 40 hours a week agreed in the contract was completely unpaid. When this issue was brought up, it was framed as a problem with the employee being unable to complete their required tasks rather than a management issue. Scheduled daily tasks include so much busy work and embarrassing drudgery that there was little time left for the actual job: preparing for and teaching classes. The company puts a tremendous effort into making the learning centres appear visually clean and impressive, but the actual conditions of the facilities are deplorable. Rats, roaches, mould, shoddy construction, and safety hazards abound. Some centres in first-tier cities don't even have proper restrooms with modern toilets. Even air conditioning was inadequate, and at one centre I worked at the a/c was turned off in the peak of summer heat during the busiest times of day assumably to save money. The teachers then were forced to work in sweatshop conditions, crammed into tiny, hot, unventilated rooms with many students. The technology provided, specifically the computers were continually inoperable, and the IT staff tasked with maintaining and repairing this technology were utterly unable to ensure the most basic functionality. While employed at the company for less than one year, I either personally witnessed or was directly aware of incidences of physical assault, sexual harassment, workplace safety violations, employment law violations and other horrors. When any of these issues or complaints about the facilities or working conditions were brought to management attention, it only became another opportunity for management to engage in power play antics against the complaining employee and nothing satisfactory was ever done to address the issues. It's almost laughable that one can immediately observe that Orwellian concepts are baked into the EF corporate culture. “Doublethink” is widely practised with management and complacent staff commonly expressing beliefs that they know conflict with reality. Meanwhile, employees working in deplorable conditions are expected never to express the slightest dissatisfaction which would reveal them as non-compliant “thoughtcriminals.” EF encourages employees to use their personal social media account to post unpaid company advertisements and enforces this activity via peer pressure. Parties and events are listed as “benefits”, yet these are actually required work and another form of physical and psychological control over the staff. Activities at these events emanate a cult-like aura with employees forced to perform song and dance like clowns, and despite the bizarre nature of these activities, peer pressure ensures most people follow along. The foreign teachers are often paraded like circus animals as a form of humiliation and subjugation in the presence of hundreds of people. Employees who refuse to attend such events are punished by having pay withheld or annual leave days revoked. Annual leave, like the other benefits that look impressive on recruiting material, was a joke. Compared to other jobs in the industry which provide adequate time off, the 10 days a year promised can hardly appeal to the majority of the target demographic willing to relocate to the other side of the planet for a TEFL job. Even worse, most employees were only permitted to take time off in small fragments on days selected by the centre management, preventing even a trip back to their home country to see their family. Other benefits such as health insurance were equally useless and provided just for appearances and in reality not usable for either routine or significant medical issues. Lastly, the pay is far below the industry standards for the amount of work required especially since housing is not provided. The recruiters offer a false impression about the low cost of living to make the corresponding low pay seem tolerable when in reality most employees will need to pull money from saving for months to survive. An apartment agent is provided, but the agent and the owners of the flats are all in consortium with EF. The properties are rented out at prices sometimes double or triple the market rate, and the recruits are deceived into believing these are the cheapest and only apartments available in the city. With only a few days to decide they have little choice but to sign a rental contract subjugating them to a year of grossly overpaying for housing. Additionally, EF instructs the landlords to force the employees to pay rental tax, something that is strictly the landlord's responsibility. In summary, EF is infamous as being one of the worst large-scale employers in the TEFL industry in Asia. Nearly every aspect of the job experience is deplorable, and while many of these issues are well known in the company, no effort is made to improve them. It should be noted that while it is possible for people not to encounter or not be bothered by the experiences described above, and therefore have a positive experience, EF uses various methods to coerce or entice employees into leaving a positive review. During my time an email was sent out encouraging employees to leave a review on Glassdoor and send in a screenshot to receive a prize.

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    EF English First Response

    November 4, 2018Vice President

    Due to the serious nature of your post, we request that you contact us at compliance.china@ef.com so that a fair and thorough investigation can take place. Your experience with EF does not reflect our core values and EF’s commitment to providing the best possible work environment for our employees. We are very concerned by your allegations and want to ensure they are addressed.

  9. Helpful (7)

    "Ups and Downs"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Teacher/Teacher in Beijing, Beijing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    - Paid on time / - Valid working visa / - colleagues are super nice / - generally there is a support system for new arrivals / - there is a clear path for advancement / - the kids are lovely and great to teach

    Cons

    - long hours that are unaccounted for when payday comes / the pay is not competitive at all / When I started it was around 11,000 or 12,000 RMB for an international teacher and it's still similar / The housing prices in Beijing are nearly doubled in the last 5 years, but EF won't change its pay even though they are charging parents more every year.... / - it's impossibly to do the job to the best of your ability in the time given in the workday so forced overtime is natural / - covering classes completely spontaneously. I covered a class 5 minutes after it was supposed to start / - advancement path is clear, but they really make you jump through some hoops to even get the slightest promotions which don't account to very much in the way of salary / - the company is cheap when it comes to fixing/replacing broken equipment. I worked in a center where the AC was broken for about 4 and a half years / The white boards were constantly malfunctioning in the middle of open door lessons. This goes back to the whole low salary thing / some people that are hired have no business being teachers, we used to joke that if you have a 4 year degree, are a native speaker, and have a pulse you will be hired. Hiring standards are very very low /

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  10. "EF International Kids and Teens GZ"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Internaltional Teacher in Guangzhou, Guangdong
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Team building events, constant training, good certification programs, and employee support services.

    Cons

    Schedule in the summer and winter is very stressful because of long hours. Choosing living accommodations within proximity of school is not always affordable.

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Found 25 reviews