For many people, the concept of teaching English abroad is that you simply head out to the country, show off your English prowess, and land a job. As awesome as that would be, let me tell you from experience that this is not how it works!

In reality, most people will look to use a recruitment firm to help them land a job in the industry. Is that a good idea, though? I want to take a look at the pros and cons to help you decide.

The pros of using a recruitment company

There are many benefits to turning to a recruitment company for help and advice, and many times they can be the ideal solution to get you started. Here are some of the benefits involved in using a recruitment agency to land a job teaching English abroad:

  • Contrary to popular belief, most recruitment agencies charge schools a fee, not the teacher.
  • With most recruiters, you won’t find that any of your wages are held back from you – your wages are what you earn.
  • Recruitment firms often have contacts and friends within reputable schools, improving the chances you have of landing a more reputable post.
  • With the vetting process already done on you by the recruitment agency, your employer will ask far less questions about why they should choose to hire you.
  • Recruitment agencies can help you to land long-term work as opposed to short-term semester contracts. This allows you to find a permanent position much easier.
  • At the same time, you’ll be able to find a role through an agency that suits your skillset. This helps you to avoid being either under-used, or in over your head.
  • Recruitment staff are often able to help you out with kinks in your profile, as they will often be bi-lingual and thus better at spotting potential issues in your profile.
  • By working with the same recruitment firm for years, you can build up a clear rapport and make it easier to find the kind of work you were hoping for in the first place.

The cons of using a recruitment company

However, not everyone is going to benefit from using a recruitment company for finding work teaching English abroad. While not always the case, keep an eye on the following concerns:

  • First off, you need to take some time to research the recruitment firm to make sure they are legitimate and can be trusted.
  • Choosing the wrong firm can be detrimental to your chances of landing work; make sure you choose an agency with the correct opportunities for you.
  • Some companies are more focused on landing their commission for recruitment as opposed to putting you in the right job: always be sure to investigate their motivations!



Really, the main challenge with getting a job teaching English abroad is making sure you use the right kind of help. For those starting out, I would highly recommend starting out with a recruitment agency. They can help you to open up many doors that might have otherwise been closed off to you and can ensure that you find a good, professional opportunity in the field that you are most suited to. Just be sure to evaluate and research the agency before doing anything else, though; a little bit of knowledge goes a very long way when evaluating your future career prospects!

About the Author:

Andy Nesbit
I'm from Edinburgh, Scotland, and have been teaching English in China for the last 10 years. I have experience teaching all age levels from babies to adults! I currently live with my wife and 2 kids in Chengdu. I have my own YouTube channel to help teachers with games, tips and techniques for their classes.
Share this page. Choose your platform.

Job Board

Hundreds of teaching jobs in China, fully screened, updated daily.