Company Spotlight

A former Berlitz CEO started as an English teacher!

With locations across Japan, Berlitz recruits locally for positions both through domestic and international interviews. talked to Berlitz to find out more about their company as well as their hiring and working conditions.  

With locations across Japan, Berlitz recruits locally for positions both through domestic and international interviews. talked to Berlitz to find out more about their company as well as their hiring and working conditions.


Q: How long has Berlitz been in Japan?
A: The company was established here in 1966. The first language center opened in Akasaka. We are part of the Berlitz Corporation, which is based in Princeton New Jersey. It, in turn, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Benesse Group, a Japanese company based in Okayama.

Q: How many total employees do you have in Japan?
A: We have 1,800 total employees, including about 1,300 instructors.

Q: Is there some diversity among nationalities in the staff?
A: We have about 70 different nationalities working for us. Our employees are not hired into positions based on their nationality. This applies to instructors and staff. For our language instructors we hire both native speakers, and native fluent speakers, which can include a great many nationalities. The same holds true for all of languages we instruct.

Q: What other languages does Berlitz teach besides English?
A: We regularly deliver at least 16 other languages including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Portuguese. We often receive client requests for other languages and due to the diversity of our teaching staff, our bilingual instructors deliver those lessons.

Q: How many language centers do you have in total in Japan?
A: Sixty in total, with about 75% located in the Kanto area (surrounding Tokyo). The second biggest area is Osaka, followed by Tokai (centered around Nagoya). We also have some stand-alone language centers in Hiroshima, Fukuoka, and Shizuoka.

Q: What is the profile of the typical Berlitz student?
A: The vast majority of our customers are goal oriented professional adults. They know what they want and what they want to achieve.

Q: Are most of these private lessons? In other words, one-to-one instruction?
A: Yes, about 70% of our lessons are private.

Q: What’s the breakdown in age groups?
A: About 90% of our lessons are for adults, with 10% for young learners (elementary school through high school). Once teens become university students, they are classified as adults.

Q: Do all instructors teach all age groups?
A: All of our instructors teach teens and adults, but not all teach kids.

Q: What kinds of specialized topics are offered?
A: For highly specialized courses, for example, pharmaceutical research, we direct students to a different segment of the company called Phoenix Corporate Services. Berlitz is more of a broad-based services provider.

Q: Are all classes held at the company’s language centers?
A: Most are held at the language centers, but some are also held at schools, corporations, and universities.

Q: What types of qualifications are you looking for in instructors?
A: A Bachelor’s Degree is a minimum. As a training and development company, we don’t necessarily look only for people who have been teaching for years already, but rather those who have the right attitude to want to help people to learn. So in terms of qualifications, there are no hard lines drawn at certificates and advanced degrees, etc. What we are looking for is people who have the right drive to help others to succeed.

Q: Does Berlitz offer visa sponsorship?
A: Yes, certain positions allow for visa sponsorship for applicants that meet Immigration requirements.

Q: Does Berlitz hire from outside Japan?
A: Yes, when we have positions that allow for it, those kinds of positions with their details are posted on our hiring website.

Q: If I’m hired at Berlitz, what kind of workload can I expect?
A: It varies. There are different kinds of contracts with different kinds of clients, so workloads can differ. Some contracts have a minimum amount of work that is guaranteed, while others are more variable, depending on an instructor’s availability. There is no standard, really. But, almost universally, it’s weekday evening and weekend work. We’re open seven days a week.

Q: How long do instructors normally stay at Berlitz?
A: The average seniority of our instructors is about seven years, but the average resignation is after about three years. Some instructors have been with us for over 30 years.

Q: Some companies have term limits for instructors. How about Berlitz?
A: Our contracts are for one year with the option to renew, but we do not have a specific limit how many times instructors can renew.

Q: How is the Berlitz system different?
A: Our instructors are our employees. Berlitz employees qualify for benefits such as paid sick leave, paid vacation, pension plans, and more. We pay transportation and travel costs among other benefits, and from this year we offer personal days to our Full Time Instructors- so the total package is extremely competitive. Depending on the structure of the employee contract as full or part-time, a worker may also qualify for other things such as unemployment insurance, etc.

Q: Are there other career options besides teaching at Berlitz? How far can a person go?
A: A former Berlitz CEO started as an English teacher, so the sky is the limit. There are opportunities on the corporate side, in human resource development, training, skill evaluations, etc. as well.
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Peter Lackner is the Managing Partner at and has had management-level positions at major job boards in Japan including:, GaijinPot, CareerEngine and currently the managing partner at

Running a job board gives Peter the opportunity to speak with employers and job seekers every day and find out why some are successful and others are not. Speaking to both employers and job seekers has given Peter the ability to be able to see both sides of the hiring process. This is why exists - to help job seekers find the jobs they want and employers to find the candidates they need.

Peter is active in the ETJ (English Teachers in Japan organization), a member of JALT’s School Owners SIG and currently on the Executive Board of the Tokyo Association of International Preschools.

You can often find Peter speaking to groups on how to get a new or better job, and to employers on how to avoid making a bad hire.

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