How large is the job market for English teachers abroad?
The A-B-C’s of the global job market for English teachers:
A) Enormous demand for English language instruction
B) Increasing demand for native English speaking teachers in foreign countries
C) Turnover each year = Job openings & high demand for new teachers
A) Demand for English language instruction:
- More than 500 million (some estimates approach 1 billion) non-native English speakers take some form of English class each year, including more than 100 million in China alone. Children, young adults, and business people are all learning English so that they can function and compete economically in the globalized world of the 21st century.
B) Increasing demand for native English speaking teachers:
- An estimated 250,000 native English speakers work as English teachers abroad in more than 40,000 schools and language institutes around the world.
- Eighty percent of English teachers abroad in non-native English speaking countries – particularly in public schools – are not native English speakers themselves because there are simply not enough native English speaking teachers to meet demand.
- In major European cities like Prague, Madrid and Rome, approximately 3,000 – 5,000 native speaking English teachers are working at any given time; each of these cities is home to 50-150 private language institutes with each school employing between 5-25 teachers at a time.
- These numbers typically triple in major Asian cities like Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai that have over 10 million people and are home to 1,000 language schools employing up to 15,000 foreign English teachers.
- An estimated 24,000 native English speakers work as English teachers abroad just in the small country of South Korea each year.
- In both China and South Korea, approximately 1,000 new English teachers are hired each month. In China, this number will double in the coming years.
- In 2011, Turkey announced plans to recruit 40,000 foreign English teachers in the next five years.
3) Turnover each year = A revolving door of job openings:
Because nearly half of all English teachers abroad will leave their position and return to their home country each year, more than 100,000 positions for English teachers abroad open each year.
Think about it. You probably want to go for a year abroad, see how it goes and stay another year or move to another country or go home. Most English teachers are just like you - they are not lifers or tenured university professors who hold the same job for 10-20 years.
- 50% of the teachers stay for a second year.
- Approximately 15-20% go to a new school or a new country after one year.
- 30-35% return home after one great year abroad.
- Only 10% stay for a third year at the same school.
All of this means that schools and language institutes are constantly facing a need to hire new teachers.
For your reference this link to our Country Chart provides basic information about working and getting hired in approximately 50 countries around the world, including information on ESL hiring seasons, foreign English teacher salaries, extra benefits and the interview process.