The demand in South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand and Turkey seems to be insatiable. At present there are more jobs than native English teachers in these countries. This difference between supply and demand shows no signs of decreasing and in both China – and probably India – it is expected to widen still further in the coming years.
According to a survey conducted by the British Council in 2000 there were 1.1 billion English language learners around the world and it is estimated that this figured has recently reached 2 billion. This should come as no surprise given that the English language dominates the world of global business.
Given the recent economic downturn in many Western nations, the number of people studying so that they can teach English abroad has also increased rapidly in the last few years, as can be seen by the explosion in online TEFL certification courses.
Competition for the more prestigious roles is fiercer than in previous years and recruiters for senior teaching positions have begun to require applicants to hold a DELTA or MA TESOL certificate. Those without teaching experience are unlikely to find work in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates where salaries are tax-free and some of the highest to be found anywhere. Other highly-paid positions include teachers on Hong Kong‘s NET Scheme and Japan‘s JET Program.
Turnover of teachers is also quite high, with staff moving to a different city or country or returning to their home countries. About half of new TEFL teachers stay for a second year at the same place of work and very few stay for a third consecutive year with the same employer. This all means that many thousands of language centres and schools are in constant need of new members of teaching staff.
Most ESL teaching contracts are for a year, although there are exceptions such as summer schools (also known as summer camps) which last several weeks only.
Vacancies for native English speakers can be found in around 100 different countries across the globe. As a minimum requirement, you need a university degree and a TEFL certificate for about half of these and just a TEFL certificate for the other half.