Friday, November 26, 2010

Hiring Trends in Adult Language Institutes in Korea

Brian made a few comments about the rumors of a possible reduction of NSET's and contract renewals in public schools over the next couple of years. I don't think the situation is as dire as he predicts, but the timing of this news is telling and it's worth making mention of another trend I've been noticing.

For the past couple years, many adult languages institutes have been slowly moving away from basic E2's in favor of F2's. Without going into detail, F2's are quick and easy hires. I've been an F2 for nearly three years and while I personally haven't had any problems, I know plenty of F2's who are having an unusually hard time getting the exact position they want. It sounds entitled, but F2's usually get the position and salary they ask for because schools don't want to deal with immigration, documents and processing times. It's a win-win. 

Now, however, being an F2 isn't as rare as it once was since many are staying in Korea a little longer trying to ride out the economic downturn. The competition is high for these good gigs and the F2 isn't the golden ticket it once was. 

That's old news though. The trend that I'm seeing both from recruiters and other managers of adult institutes (including mine) is that NSET's are being replaced by gyopo. Adult students tend to be a little more tolerant than mothers and that allows these institutes to save cash.


Simply put, a basic pay scale at an adult institute follows a pretty common pattern. The F2's generally make the most cash, followed by the E2's, then the gyopo and then the Korean teachers. Schools might prefer F2's to E2's for a variety of reasons, but the demands that F2's make makes it harder to keep them around. E2's, on the other hand, are cheaper but require plane fare and housing. They are both expensive.

Gyopo usually don't get much of anything, though. Many times, they must pay their own way over here and then, once here, they usually don't get any housing or allowance. Unlike E2's and F2's, gyopo are generally getting paid per class which is still better than many Korean teachers who get paid per student, but the total earnings usually fall short of their NSET counterparts. 

Money aside, these trends are suggesting that the English industry is quickly warming to non-Big 7-ers and non-traditional methods of education. More and more parents are turning to video/phone English, some provinces are paving the way for Indian teachers to enter the classroom, and the Filipina nannies are increasing in number.

I don't think that this means the end is near for the NSET's, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is the beginning of a cycle for Korea and the English industry to improve itself and shake some of the loose-ends free. There's no denying the need for reform on all levels and this might be a catalyst. 

Let's just call it growing pains.


Chris in South Korea said...

Nice to see you're still alive and blogging :) Looking forward to more posts from you.

Seriously, though - Korea may well be on a 'we'll do fine without you' kick - but let's review what makes a gyopo a gyopo. It's that outside influence - that's apparently enough to make a Korean a foreigner.

Is that merit to tossing aside the foreign English teacher? Yes - and no. How many English words have been introduced by the Filipino or Indian that are in widespread use around the world? A few perhaps, but these are merely historic examples of the legacy of the English language - not the founders of said English language. With few reservations, British, Canadian, and American speakers make up the best source of English in the world. To go elsewhere is not unlike seeing a carbon copy instead of going to the original.

Anonymous said...

ummm gyopos are also NSETs in many cases

The Expat said...

They might be considered NSET by some (not most), but their visa is most always an F4 making their contracts different.

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure about that. As a gyopo NSET myself and knowing a host of others such as myself on F4's our contracts have actually been the same if not with a higher salary than E2's because of our negotiating leverage (for the ones that are smart enough to use it). Although a lot of F4's also prefer not to be bound contractually in a full time contract with one employer and prefer to have flexibility making it easier to make a lot more money.

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