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Impact of Japan's worker shortage on TEFL

 
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10950
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:17 am    Post subject: Impact of Japan's worker shortage on TEFL Reply with quote

Does any of this impact EL teachers?

Japan needs more workers and it can't find them
by Alec Macfarlane, @CNNMoney | May 30, 2017
Source: http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/30/news/economy/japan-labor-shortage/index.html?iid=surge-story-summary

Excerpt:

The current situation is generally good news for Japan's economy.

"There's lots of people entering the labor market, which is one upside," said Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at research firm Capital Economics. The number of older people and women joining the workforce has increased because "the labor shortage is forcing companies to hire people who previously weren't looking for work," he said.
....

While the Japanese economy is growing, the labor market figures are more indicative of a shrinking pool of workers than a rise in the number of jobs, Thieliant said. A rise in life expectancy and lower birth rates have created an aging population and dwindling workforce in Japan, posing a threat to the country's future economic growth. Japan is notoriously adverse to the idea of using immigration to offset the decline.

The tightening labor market hasn't so far translated into significant increases in pay for most workers. And there are also signs some Japanese companies are shifting jobs abroad because they can't find enough workers at home, Thieliant said.

(End of excerpt)
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With a dwindling population and slowing birth-rate, I would imagine a decline in the number of opportunities for teachers. I can't speak for the whole of Japan, but I noticed eikaiwa schools in Kanto seemed to be closing more and more of their branches out in the sticks, but opening new branches closer to the centre of Tokyo. That's presumably to tap into the business market, people who need English for work, and the younger workers who are moving from the sticks into the cities for work, while at the same time, the swelling numbers of aged stay out in the sticks and gradually die off, and the outlying areas gradually decay and grow into disuse.

If more businesses are hollowing out and shifting operations and production abroad, that may have a negative impact too. It feels to me like the demand for English lessons is becoming more concentrated into certain locations and certain types of people, particularly business and kids. With greater economic constraints, I would guess that there's been a decline in the old "hobbyists" who just want to learn English for fun or to meet their friends.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 484

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time and time again people have noted on this board that ESL salaries have either not moved for 20 years or that salaries for entry level jobs have decreased. If worker shortage does happen in the industry due to falling benefits and salaries, companies still have the option (although it is a large Japanese cultural hump to get over) of looking at South Africa, Singapore, the Philippines, India, and non-native speakers from Europe and South America as sources of ESL teachers. Some ESL companies do occasionally hire from these countries. The industry though is still strongly biased about where "the best" native speakers come from, and hiring preference is still strongly (these are not in any particular order) Canada, New Zealand, the USA, the UK, Ireland, and Australia. That is, if you have a passport from one of these countries and enough years of schooling in English to argue you are a native speaker, you will find work more easily. So to answer your question, there may be more opportunities for teachers that are not as commonly thought of as sources of ESL teachers, but not as a result of a shortage of foreign workers. There is not a shortage of workers in the ESL industry. Rather, it is more competitive with overall fewer rewards (monetarily and in terms of job benefits).
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1476
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So many jobs do not pay well, but there are these kinds of jobs.
If you teach kids you can find work.
Testing is also getting more popular, as more people are taking a variety of exams. TOEFL has so many more test takers than before.
Cambridge exams are available for young people.

There are too many teachers, and the birthrate is low.
I know teachers who live in Saitama but work in Kanagawa part of the week,
or even heard of a couple teachers who go up to Gumma to make extra money. They live in Tokyo.
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rxk22



Joined: 19 May 2010
Posts: 1584

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. I see a slow but sure decline. It's only been hidden by increase in English classes in elementary, and more emphasis on English in business. Once those increases ha e passed, we'll see a general slow decrease. I also agree, with more concentration in Tokyo and a few other places at the expense of rural areas.

I see more people studying for business or career reasons rather than hobbyist taking classes.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10950
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then there are the 2020 Olympic Games the country has to prepare for and find enough workers -- paid and volunteer -- for the event. Perhaps that will bring about a surge of EFL learners, especially for hospitality English.
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was teaching in Tokyo up until about 18 months ago and I did meet people who wanted English lessons in order to prepare for the Olympics, people who were planning on volunteering and that sort of thing. I'm sure it will increase people's desire to learn English in the short-term, and give a greater sense of engagement with the wider world, which may have a longer-lasting effect, especially with younger people.

In the long term, American power is gradually declining and China and Asia increasing globally. More and more Japanese companies are doing business in India, and I've met people studying English for that reason. Maybe that will offset the decline, especially given that the Indian population isn't far short of China's, which makes for a huge potential market for business which hasn't reached its peak yet.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1476
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Olympics is just a drop in the bucket.
Even the Tokyo local government had some public servants learning English,
but at ECC, so that they could do it on the cheap.
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Shakey



Joined: 29 Aug 2014
Posts: 195

PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
The Olympics is just a drop in the bucket.
Even the Tokyo local government had some public servants learning English,
but at ECC, so that they could do it on the cheap.


mitsui,

You've been talking about returning to the U.S. for the last few years to teach, right? Why are you still here? Aren't you a licensed high school teacher in Portland or somewhere on the pacific north west?

Anyway, I don't think there will be a shortage of TEFL teachers, especially native English speaking EFL teachers. In fact, there has always been an unlimited supply of unqualified 20-dumb-things walking off airplanes at Narita looking for jobs at Nova, etc. And wages have fallen over the last 20 years. So, if anything, there could be a shortage of qualified native speaking EFL teachers in Japan at some point. With the population decline, maybe it won't matter anyway.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1476
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife will have surgery again. In America it will be 40,000 dollars.

With Trump, health care will get worse so I won't go back unless I can't get better work. 
And I can get a house in Osaka for far less than the US so maybe I will stick around.
Just got certified for Oregon. Got fingerprinted in Guam for that. What a pain.
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Shakey



Joined: 29 Aug 2014
Posts: 195

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
My wife will have surgery again. In America it will be 40,000 dollars.

With Trump, health care will get worse so I won't go back unless I can't get better work. And I can get a house in Osaka for far less than the US so maybe I will stick around. Just got certified for Oregon. Got fingerprinted in Guam for that. What a pain.

I see. At least you have options now that you're certified. I'd probably stay in Japan also if that were me. Medical care, philosophies and practices in Japan aren't great, but it's a lot cheaper to have surgery here.
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Jagariko



Joined: 14 Oct 2013
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
More and more Japanese companies are doing business in India, and I've met people studying English for that reason.


I just saw a job today asking for a teacher "with an Indian accent for business English lessons".

If your company is doing business in India, it makes sense to learn English from an Indian teacher who speaks Indian English rather than an American, Aussie or Brit!
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roywebcafe



Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:04 pm    Post subject: ESL Starter Reply with quote

Saw an ad for ESL Starter Japan on the tefl websites. I am interested to hear from anybody who has worked for them and could give me information about working there and living in Japan? I have never been to Japan and considering teaching there. I am the usual CELTA, First degree applicant but 50 years old. My experience is 2003 to 2014 and four weeks summer school just passed.
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Jagariko



Joined: 14 Oct 2013
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably a good idea to start a new thread, Roy.
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roywebcafe



Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jagariko wrote:
Probably a good idea to start a new thread, Roy.


Have started one regards the ESL Starter Company titled "ESL Starter"
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