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Finding jobs when you have higher qualifications?
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 937
Location: Temburong, Brunei

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wailing_imam wrote:
Forget the Middle East. The salaries are nothing special. Look for Western country tie-ups with Asian universities or satellite campuses eg RMIT (Vietnam), University of Nottingham (Ningbo).

Good savings opportunities. Significantly better lifestyle.


I saved significantly more in my bog standard Oman gig than I ever did at RMIT Vietnam. There's still good money to be made in in the Gulf, but, I suspect the rot has now firmly set in and the 'good old days' of making big bucks in the GCC are well and truly waning Crying or Very sad.

However, I do agree that you can save money in the types of institutions you mentioned above and, at least as far as I'm concerned, enjoy a better lifestyle than what the Gulf typically offers. I guess it depends on what interests you though. In any event, if you can get a decent university gig at an accredited Western university in Asia, that's usually not a bad option...
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danshengou



Joined: 17 Feb 2016
Posts: 434
Location: A bizarre overcrowded hole

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll second that. If you can get on with a joint-venture, the salaries are usually high enough to permit decent savings. The locations might not be the best, but if money is the main priority, then that's the way it goes. TEFLers with a lot of money can afford to live in more popular places.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11357
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of those complaining ad nauseam about declining GCC salaries do not possess a relevant MA/PhD and the level and type of experience and professional development the better employers expect. Having a BA in History, a CELTA, and several years of China experience doesn't warrant a second look from employers. (Some of these folks shouldn't be complaining considering what they'd earn back home.)

Frankly, the best route for employability worldwide in education is to become a bona fide, licensed/certified k12 teacher, preferably in primary education or a STEM subject, and with home teaching experience. Other desired fields include speech pathology, educational technology, guidance counseling, library science, principal, etc.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17604
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ITeachYorkshire wrote:
Starting to look into Saudi and Oman, thanks for the info guys.

Though looking through other forums, I think spring is recruiting season. I might have to hang on for a while.

Serious recruiting starts earlier in the year. The best positions with the best employers are normally filled by the end of TESOLArabia in March. Visa procedures can take a few months and Ramadhan is in the middle of it, so best to start early. Watch for ads and if you have an MA and are looking for university jobs, visit their websites for openings. Also... TESOLArabia's website starting early in the year.

VS
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 937
Location: Temburong, Brunei

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Most of those complaining ad nauseam about declining GCC salaries do not possess a relevant MA/PhD and the level and type of experience and professional development the better employers expect. Having a BA in History, a CELTA, and several years of China experience doesn't warrant a second look from employers. (Some of these folks shouldn't be complaining considering what they'd earn back home.)


Interesting. So are you saying that the conditions with the 'higher end' GCC employers have generally remained stable or improved over the last few years? Can't say I've really followed it, but, I'd be interested to hear if that was the case. Many thanks.

nomad soul wrote:
Frankly, the best route for employability worldwide in education is to become a bona fide, licensed/certified k12 teacher, preferably in primary education or a STEM subject, and with home teaching experience.


Agreed. That's why I'm doing my PGCE. If I had my time all over again, I probably would have just done a Bachelor of Education from the start. Live and learn. I think the opportunities in TEFL, generally speaking, are going to keep worsening every year. That's not just in the Gulf, I'm talking globally. Sure, some markets still have the potential to offer improved opportunities, like China, but, overall I'm not optimistic. However, the demand for licensed Western teachers internationally has never been higher and there are more accredited international schools being established every year...
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danshengou



Joined: 17 Feb 2016
Posts: 434
Location: A bizarre overcrowded hole

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Most of those complaining ad nauseam about declining GCC salaries do not possess a relevant MA/PhD and the level and type of experience and professional development the better employers expect. Having a BA in History, a CELTA, and several years of China experience doesn't warrant a second look from employers. (Some of these folks shouldn't be complaining considering what they'd earn back home.)

Frankly, the best route for employability worldwide in education is to become a bona fide, licensed/certified k12 teacher, preferably in primary education or a STEM subject, and with home teaching experience. Other desired fields include speech pathology, educational technology, guidance counseling, library science, principal, etc.


In general getting a relevant second master's, or a Ph.D. should also improve job prospects if K-12 is not your goal. It all depends on your situation whether it is worth the time and expense to go get more qualifications.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17604
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is about getting that first related MA... no need for a second one unless one wants to change fields. (which these days may be a good idea)

Quote:
Interesting. So are you saying that the conditions with the 'higher end' GCC employers have generally remained stable or improved over the last few years? Can't say I've really followed it, but, I'd be interested to hear if that was the case. Many thanks.

No, I don't believe that is what she was saying. Nothing has improved in any level of Gulf education employment in the last ten years. ...gradual deterioration in pay, benefits, and job conditions at all levels... But the bottom is dropping out at the low end jobs that will hire that unrelated non-education BA + CELTA + a couple years in China or Thailand.

I interpreted it that she meant that many posters' misconceptions are that they can get the reputed Gulf pay without good qualifications. To get the pay and benefits that they expect, they would need that related MA and related experience.

VS
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11357
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
1st Sgt Welsh wrote:
Interesting. So are you saying that the conditions with the 'higher end' GCC employers have generally remained stable or improved over the last few years? Can't say I've really followed it, but, I'd be interested to hear if that was the case.

No, I don't believe that is what she was saying. Nothing has improved in any level of Gulf education employment in the last ten years. ...gradual deterioration in pay, benefits, and job conditions at all levels... But the bottom is dropping out at the low end jobs that will hire that unrelated non-education BA + CELTA + a couple years in China or Thailand.

I interpreted it that she meant that many posters' misconceptions are that they can get the reputed Gulf pay without good qualifications. To get the pay and benefits that they expect, they would need that related MA and related experience.

Right on, VS.

Excluding a half dozen or so funky universities in the GCC, we don't see complaints about direct-hire employers at the level or number the for-profit contracting companies gamer. For example, how many complaints about Sultan Qaboos University can you find on the Oman forum over the past 5+ years? The same goes for the lack of complaints on KFUPM in Saudi Arabia. Or the American University of Sharjah in the UAE. Or Qatar U. The point is, the opportunities, pay, benefits, and work conditions in the region are better for those who have the right qualifications for those solid employers.

danshengou wrote:
In general getting a relevant second master's, or a Ph.D. should also improve job prospects if K-12 is not your goal. It all depends on your situation whether it is worth the time and expense to go get more qualifications.

Slapping on another degree is beneficial but often isn't enough. I was able to fast-track my TEFL career from teacher to trainer and education consultant because I kept enhancing my experience by participating on curriculum and assessment committees, focus groups, extracurricular activities, teacher training workshops, and so on. That stood out to employers more than my MA in Teaching and classroom experience alone.
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 937
Location: Temburong, Brunei

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. I understand and thanks for the responses, VS and NS.

Personally, I was actually very happy with my remuneration when I was in the Gulf and, like I said above, my job in Oman wouldn't have been considered as anything exceptional. Having said that, since I've left, a new company has taken over and they appear to be chipping away at the benefits. As VS said, this appears to be the general trend throughout the GCC and I can understand why established Gulf teachers, who are planning for their retirements, have invested decades in the industry and have families to support, are concerned about it.

Furthermore, it should be noted that most EFL teachers in the GCC are not working in the handful of institutions that are mentioned above and nor could they. There just aren't enough jobs to go around. Moreover, just like every teacher can't work at the 'top tier' universities nor can every student attend them and the 'lower tier' universities have their place. BTW, I'd say almost half of the teachers I worked with at my 'lower tier' university in Salalah had postgraduate degrees.

If we are getting to the stage where the 'lower tier' universities will be staffed primarily by teachers from South Asia, due to the poor conditions offered, and the 'top tier' by Westerners, well, I guess such is the market reality. As far as the Gulf, and teaching EFL in the GCC goes, I've cashed in my chips anyway and have made alternative plans. Given the way the winds appear to be blowing, I'm so far pretty happy with that decision.


Last edited by 1st Sgt Welsh on Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:49 am; edited 2 times in total
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 742
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats to posters on an excellent discussion! I'm impressed that Dave's is still going strong.

I'd second the recommendation that the OP broaden his (her?) search beyond just Gulf countries. The drop in oil prices has squeezed everybody's budgets in any country that is oil dependent, not just the TEFLers. If you don't have a particular cultural/family/educational reason to go to an oil-dependent Arab country, I would suggest looking elsewhere for now.

One more note for context - that general feeling of squeeze reported by folks all over this board - benefits/salaries dropping for teachers - is felt by EVERYBODY in/from advanced economies these days (except the very upper class). Incomes and household wealth for normal people have remained flat or gone down sharply since about 1980. In the last 10 years it has gotten much worse for the middle class, producing some of the recent crazy election results. Even McKinsey, the ultra-elite consultancy for the rich, is writing about it - http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/poorer-than-their-parents-a-new-perspective-on-income-inequality.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11357
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st Sgt Welsh wrote:
Furthermore, it should be noted that most EFL teachers in the GCC are not working in the handful of institutions that are mentioned above and nor could they. There just aren't enough jobs to go around. Moreover, just like every teacher can't work at the 'top tier' universities nor can every student attend them and the 'lower tier' universities have their place. BTW, I'd say almost half of the teachers I worked with at my 'lower tier' university in Salalah had postgraduate degrees.

There are quite a few universities that don't rely on contracting companies for staffing needs. I only mentioned that handful of unis simply to point at that the ones that employ teachers directly don't get airplay on the Cafe's GCC forums because there aren't any complaints about them. No employer is perfect; some are just better than others regardless of what tier they are.

Anyway, my time as a direct hire in KSA was quite satisfactory. In fact, I wouldn't have been able to do all of those activities and gain some of that desirable experience I listed above if I'd been working for a contracting company. Being a university employee gave me leverage (along with a solid salary and bennies).
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 937
Location: Temburong, Brunei

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
\
There are quite a few universities that don't rely on contracting companies for staffing needs. I only mentioned that handful of unis simply to point at that the ones that employ teachers directly don't get airplay on the Cafe's GCC forums because there aren't any complaints about them. No employer is perfect; some are just better than others regardless of what tier they are.

Anyway, my time as a direct hire in KSA was quite satisfactory. In fact, I wouldn't have been able to do all of those activities and gain some of that desirable experience I listed above if I'd been working for a contracting company. Being a university employee gave me leverage (along with a solid salary and bennies).


I agree that, generally speaking, if you can get a direct hire position, go for it! However, the fact is that a lot of institutions farm out their recruiting needs to recruiters. Don't get me wrong, I don't like it, but, that's the way things are and that trend is growing.

Furthermore, these direct hire positions are getting harder and harder to get. There is more competition now and less opportunities. I also wouldn't be surprised to hear that many of the people in direct hire gigs are staying in their jobs longer and, typically, the lower the institution is on the totem pole, the less likely is that they are going to do direct hires. Also let's not forget that Gulf experience is valued, and you have to start somewhere.

In Oman, for example, for the direct hire positions with the Ministry of Higher Education, (a fairly large employer), they haven't hired a Western teacher in over two years! It doesn't matter how good your qualifications are, if you are not an Omani, you can't get a direct hire teaching gig with the Ministry. They have implemented a 'freeze'. You used to be able to until recently, but not now and I imagine there a lot of stories like that in the Gulf, and the list is growing all the time. You can still work at the relevant colleges, but, you have to go through the nominated recruiter and, as I said before, many of the people I worked, with, and who were employed with the recruiter, had excellent qualifications and extensive experience.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. You can often save yourself a lot of headaches by getting a direct hire position and the conditions are often great. For those who have those positions, well done! However, for most of the teachers and potential teachers in the Gulf, these positions are becoming less and less of a viable option. The recruiters are here to stay and, over the last few years, they are becoming more and more influential in the job market, at the expense of opportunities to be a direct hire, and, personally, I sadly don't see that changing anytime soon.
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ITeachYorkshire



Joined: 22 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the advice guys! I kind of wish I had gone to the Middle East earlier in my career rather than wait for my quals to be completed. It seems a very different picture recently.

I was speaking to a friend who has been in Saudi for the last 3 years; he said it's not the same as when he first went out. The oil bubble-bursting and recent bombings seem to have more effect on the "average" person than I initially understood.

I've been looking at the Middle East mainly because I figured it's the right balance of income to quality-of-life. I'm planning to go over with my wife and want to enjoy my time there too.

Can you get the same balance in Asia? It's not something I've explored in the past and I wouldn't know where to start looking?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ITeachYorkshire wrote:
Can you get the same balance in Asia? It's not something I've explored in the past and I wouldn't know where to start looking?

How about the general Asia forum? Wink
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bigdurian



Joined: 05 Feb 2014
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Location: Flashing my lights right behind you!

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ITeachYorkshire wrote:
Thanks for all the advice guys! I kind of wish I had gone to the Middle East earlier in my career rather than wait for my quals to be completed. It seems a very different picture recently.

I was speaking to a friend who has been in Saudi for the last 3 years; he said it's not the same as when he first went out. The oil bubble-bursting and recent bombings seem to have more effect on the "average" person than I initially understood.

I've been looking at the Middle East mainly because I figured it's the right balance of income to quality-of-life. I'm planning to go over with my wife and want to enjoy my time there too.

Can you get the same balance in Asia? It's not something I've explored in the past and I wouldn't know where to start looking?


I found the hours in Asia a lot longer. I'm only at work for six hours a day in Saudi. Got a lot more time to spend with family here.

Having said that, there's a lot more to do with them in Asia, or more specifically SE Asia where I was.

Something else to think about is that not many people come to the middle east for the first time for a really great job. It's more about getting your foot in the door, getting to know people, getting out there, and then moving on.
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