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How Large Is The Job Market for English Teachers Abroad?
Written by: John Bentley
Last Updated: February 3, 2021
The A-B-C’s of the global job market for teaching English Abroad:
- Enormous demand for English language instruction
- Increasing demand for native English speaking teachers in foreign countries
- Turnover each year = Job openings & high demand for new teachers
a) Demand for English language instruction:
- According to the British Council, one of the largest providers of English classes in the world, approximately 1.7 billion are learning and using English worldwide in 2015. That will rise to 2 billion by 2020.
- Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong stated in June, 2015 that more than 300 million Chinese are learning English.
- In 2009, Mexico introduced plans for more than 12 million school children to be learning English within 6 years. According to the British Council, similar plans have been enacted in Thailand and in dozens of other countries worldwide.
- According to a 2013 study by GSV Advisors for Pearson English, one of the largest English language training companies in the world, English language instruction for non-native speakers is a $63 billion a year industry.
- Japan (a nation of 127,000,000 people) has made English language instruction a required subject in primary education. In addition, millions of Japanese adults also take English classes each year.
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.
- According to an article on Forbes.com, there are an estimated 100,000 native English speakers are teaching English in China. That article was published in 2012 and that number has certainly grown since.
- 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. A recent manual check by ITA staff found more than 400 language schools in Madrid alone,
- 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 likely double in the coming years.
c) 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.
Posted In: Teach English Abroad
John Bentley is Co-Founder & Senior Writer for International TEFL Academy (ITA), the world leader in TEFL certification for teaching English abroad. A graduate of Harvard University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, John is a recognized expert in the field of TEFL. His articles have appeared across the field's top websites, including GoAbroad.com, StudyAbroad.com, InterExchange, GoOverseas.com, Adventure Teaching, & many others. He has also spoken as an expert on Teaching English Abroad & TEFL certification at major conferences like MeetPlanGo and Lessons from Abroad (LFA) in Portland & San Diego.
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