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Kaplan International Reviews

Updated 3 April 2018
136 reviews

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2.6
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David Jones
25 Ratings

136 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • No opportunities to enhance their professional development unless you are full time or part of their clique (in 11 reviews)

  • Most employees are purposefully kept at part-time (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Growth opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Kaplan International full-time

    Pros

    Kaplan International provides growth opportunities with diverse courses such as English language training, Pathways for international students and online learning for adult educators. This provides great exposure to different areas of education and allow for specialisation in an area of my choice.

    Cons

    Startup culture took a back seat after a rapid growth period . This is coming back in the recent years.

    Advice to Management

    Keep it up. You show great fortitude facing adverse environment in the English language business.

    Kaplan International Response

    14 Mar 2018

    Thank you for taking the time to review Kaplan International (KI) as a place to work. I am happy to hear that you're enjoying your work at KI. I am particularly pleased that you find KI to be an... More


  2. "I would do it all again"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Kaplan International full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Kaplan are very good at developing their employees. This company is a great place to start out and build a career.

    It's a really social place. I made some of my closest friends working at Kaplan and although it can be hard work, there's a real sense of pulling together in times of high-pressure. Having a few beers with your colleagues on a Friday is also encouraged.

    There are lots of opportunities to travel as well as opportunities to move between departments or different businesses within the Kaplan umbrella, if you want to expand your experience.

    The students are great to work with and provide lots of entertainment. Some of my best stories about working for Kaplan are those about students I worked with years ago and still remember with fondness.

    The company is good at evolving and change is commonplace. While this might not suit everyone, it means that they are constantly looking to improve their processes, service and working environment.

    Women are well represented in the management structure and in general it has a very diverse workforce.

    Overall, I have loved working at Kaplan and am really grateful for the opportunities I have been given.

    Cons

    Working at Kaplan is hard work. If you’re looking for a company where the routine is the same each day and is strictly 9-5; this isn’t it. The work is fast paced and varied and when it gets busy and as you gain more responsibility, you are expected to work longer than your contracted 7.5 hours a day.

    The company is going through a challenging time in the current economic and political climate. There is a strong commitment to improving communication, decentralising decision making and bringing the separate regions together to combine efforts.

    Advice to Management

    In my opinion, what the staff of Kaplan need now, more than anything, is to feel inspired (not intentionally trying to quote Jerry Maguire); they want to feel they can believe in what they are doing at work, that the leadership is just and sets an example and that the vision and message is consistent.

    Kaplan International Response

    8 Mar 2018

    Thank you for taking the time to review Kaplan International (KI) as a place to work. I am delighted to hear that you reflect positively on your time at KI. Your post touches on some of the best... More

  3. "Old fashioned"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Higher Education Department in London, England
    Current Employee - Higher Education Department in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Kaplan International full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Multicultural workforce, lots of different nationalities and languages
    - Good salary (though needed to outweigh below-average benefits)

    Cons

    - Feels a bit like working in the '90s. Senior managers sit in their own closed-off offices and only come out if they want something. Zero flexibility of hours and no working from home (unless you are senior manager in which case you seemingly come and go as you please) - very unusual in London in 2018. "Jeans only on Fridays"
    - Working culture is set by a select few who have been here forever, not open to new working practices that would make things more efficient. Very top-down approach.
    - Training/development very ad hoc, no formal offering
    - Offices in horrible location too far from shops, cafes, gyms - this would be ok if there were more flexibility but as it is we're all stuck here 8.5 hours a day!

    Advice to Management

    Consider modernising, look at other London companies to see what they offer staff in terms of development and benefits

    Kaplan International Response

    19 Apr 2018

    Thank you for your reflections on working at Kaplan International. We welcome all feedback and whilst positive feedback is always nice to hear, all feedback provides us with insights on how do we... More


  4. "Ok if given reasonable hours"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - EFL Teacher in Manchester, England
    Former Employee - EFL Teacher in Manchester, England
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Kaplan International part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Manchester office is centrally located
    One of the best hourly rates of all language schools in the area

    Cons

    Staff are all employed on zero hours contracts, so there's no stability at work. One week you get asked to teach more than 30hours, the next there may not be work at all.
    They have their own custom-made materials, but unfortunately these are of poor quality and quite difficult to teach from. The books are full of spelling and grammatical errors and the topics and language points are arranged in a very haphazard, confusing way, so lots of extra work is needed to create useful lessons based on these materials.

    Advice to Management

    1. Employ people on proper contracts. People will look after you if you look after them and you can always keep teachers busy if student numbers are low. (eg by asking them to create resources or review materials)
    2. Review materials

    Kaplan International Response

    8 Mar 2018

    Thank you for taking the time to provide the feedback in your Glassdoor employee review. As Chief Operating Officer for Kaplan International English (KIE), I hope to build a company culture in which... More


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Going downhill. Had to leave after many years of decline"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Accommodation Manager in Bournemouth, England
    Former Employee - Accommodation Manager in Bournemouth, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Kaplan International full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Frontline admin staff and teachers are amazing people and keep the company going.

    Cons

    Very bad work life balance, they don’t plan for busy times and expect staff to do an unreasonable amount of extra.

    Very bad HR practises applied within the schools.

    The software and resource for admin staff are very old and time wasting.

    Everything is about making money and not spending.

    In my experience promotions are not given to the most suited candidate and has been blatent favouritism.

    Advice to Management

    Understand the amount of pressure you are putting on your staff with your current model. This is why everyone is leaving.

    Stop your senior management team from unfair recruitment practises. Advertising jobs for 3 days because you ‘know you have a strong candidate’ isn’t really fair on everyone else.

    Remember the ethics behind your company. I witnessed some very unethical behaviour by managers which put students at risk for no other reason then increasing income.

    Kaplan International Response

    20 Feb 2018

    Please accept my sincere thanks for the feedback in your employee review. I recently took on the role of Chief Operating Officer for Kaplan International English (KIE), and I would like to build a... More


  6. Helpful (2)

    "A once great place to work is now going downhill fast."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Accommodation Manager
    Former Employee - Accommodation Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Kaplan International full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great colleagues that leave you with international friendships all over the world.

    Cons

    Roles are based around working lots of unpaid overtime, it was not possible to be successful in my role without working extra at home every night. When I brought this to the attention of my manager nothing was done. Many people do not speak up about this cause they fear they will get a bad reputation for complaining.
    Working 80 hours a week during peak season is just "the nature of the business" and management does not discourage it.
    The recent restructure of the business has put extreme pressure on school staff to keep the Kaplan brand up, even though services to students continue to get cut to save money.
    The HR department does not appear to do anything about staff members who have repeated complaints from various people over many years. These people have even progressed to high level management roles which caused multiple managers to quit.
    Student safety does not seem to be a concern for management, but those who have it as part of their role face the brunt of dealing with high student volumes and almost no support.
    You are more likely to get a promotion at Kaplan if you go to the bar with key managers of staff at when work finishes, versus staying late at your desk working hard. Many promotions seem to be based of friendships/favoritism/nepotism over honest work.
    Dedicated staff are not appreciated, and rarely receive praise for anything extra done. The only time you hear from senior management is when you make a mistake.
    Many people in Management roles seem to be very comfortable (coming late, leaving early, and taking long lunches) while other staff members are nearing their breaking point from an unbearable work load.

    Advice to Management

    Spend more then 2 hours in a school. Sit with Admin team members and see the amount of pressure they are under with the recent changes.

    Encourage HR Management to treat all complaints seriously, versus only serious options for formal grievances.

    Take a look at trends with staff leaving. There are lots of common problems which could be solved to prevent further people leaving.

    Stop staffing schools at bare bones levels. This is causing great people to leave which is turn is losing the business money due to difficulty recruiting replacements.

    Give staff an honest chance to address their managers. Many people within the business are "untouchable" due to close personal relationships they have.

    Do something about the horrendous amount of overtime worked in the summer. It is abusive how much staff have to work to keep standards up.

    Kaplan International Response

    8 Mar 2018

    Please accept my sincere thanks for the feedback in your employee review. As one of Kaplan International English's (KIE) priorities, the management team is working hard to reinvent the company... More


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Kaplan has enabled me to establish myself as a professional in a new country"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Kaplan International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Workplace where you can make real impact and grab any opportunity to make a positive change for better
    Passionate team of educational professionals you can learn from
    Open multi-cultural environment with a family feel, where you build life-long relationships

    Cons

    As Kaplan is spread across many locations, it can be hard to maintain very close contact with all colleagues
    Faces turbulent macro-economic changes that can be quite challenging

    Advice to Management

    Keep promoting the start-up mentality and a new approach to how we do business. Continue keeping people up to date with all company changes - whether successes or flaws, we appreciate a continuous communication.

    Kaplan International Response

    14 Mar 2018

    Thank you for taking the time to review Kaplan International as a place to work. I am delighted to hear that you're enjoying your work at Kaplan International. You are not alone in your thoughts... More

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Strong committed team, making necesary changes to take the company forward"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Head of Recruitment, EMEA in London, England
    Current Employee - Head of Recruitment, EMEA in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Kaplan International full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Company in an interesting sector, offering life-changing education opportunties
    International team with passion for education and intercultural exchange
    Hard-working senior team who are committed to making the right changes to take the business forward
    Dynamic environment with opportunities for energetic, creative-thinking people to excel
    recent improvements to communication have been significant and staff have a clearer sense of where the company is heading

    Cons

    Sector faces a lot of challenges outside its control
    Things can move quickly and people can find the right of change unnerving

    Advice to Management

    Keep communicating with staff. They really appreciate being kept in the picture as it empowers them to do the right things to help the business. Also be sure to give recognition and thanks to people for the work they are doing. Thanks go a very long way. Take soundings from all levels of staff in the business. The staff on the frontline can provide the best insights into what customers want and need.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Not great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kensington, England
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kensington, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Kaplan International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    KI has a lively international environment and some great people who work there. The atmosphere is often lively and positive. The organisation is very inclusive and can be very supportive of its people at times.

    There's a real focus on customer service and the quality of delivery at school level is really high.

    There is a lot of internal promotion, too (however, as noted below they very frequently make roles redundant shortly after promoting someone into them, so internal promotion paths are very high risk).

    Cons

    Overall, everyone lives in fear of redundancy now. About 35% of head office staff lost their jobs in November - the latest of many rounds of redundancies (I survived, but still want to leave). This is now being used to 'motivate us' to work harder. We are being told to work like it's a startup and that if we don't the parent company will close us down. 'Macro-economic factors' are apparently responsible for everything that goes wrong with the company. But poor management and poor treatment of people are also to blame.

    - Senior management / company culture

    One day the company might be pouring money into a department, hiring new people for it etc, the next they'll be closing it down. There seems little logic or strategy involved. One minute developing a certain new product is a priority, and money must be spent developing it. A few months later 'macro economic factors' will mean that everyone hired (internally and externally) will be let go and the product axed or sold off. One month, a department might represent the companies best chance for growth and be a key part of its long term strategy. Then next month, that same department might be called a detractor or unnecessary cost and closed down. People get sucked in and washed aside every time the company changes its mind.

    There's little official communication as to what (or who!) might be next under the axe . This culture/approach of constant secrecy trickles down to every level. People are often told to hide things from other department managers or senior managers or 'keep things in the team'. I've even heard of people being told by their manager's boss to hide things from their line manager. No one can really be trusted and a number of political factions and childlike rivalries amongst department managers make the situation even worse. A good few of the senior managers can be found in the bar, telling everyone who is likely next to go, who or what is out of favour with the CEO etc. The constant speculation makes life very stressful for people like me with families and other financial commitments.

    - Treatment of people during recruitment / with HR

    If you are thinking of taking a job with Kaplan, you should understand their record with recruitment. In one example, someone gave up a good job and moved their entire young family over from abroad for a senior position, only to find the department they were supposed to manage was closed down a few months later. They had to return, jobless, to their home country weeks after their children had started school in the UK. In another example (with many similar stories), someone with a great and secure job accepted a better job with Kaplan, and handed in their notice at the old company, only to be told a week before starting that the project manager job she applied for no longer existed. Kaplan also frequently promotes people internally then makes the new position redundant less than a year later, leaving the person jobless.

    In every case above 'macro-economic factors' were blamed. But this is unlikely to be of much comfort to you if you are left jobless. I would think carefully before trusting anyone at Kaplan about a new position. The record shows that they have no problem with recruiting someone, then making them redundant a short time later, and this is company wide. I definitely would not give up a stable position at any company to come and work here.

    - Work/life balance

    In the summer particularly, people are simply expected to do huge numbers of hours. A lot of people work 60+ hours for 37.5 hour salaries over the summer months - managers and HR turn a blind eye or say its the 'nature of the business' or use the new phrase 'start up mentality'. Staff cuts run deeper each year leaving existing staff harder and harder pressed.

    Advice to Management

    - There really is no excuse for a company creating new positions and then making them redundant all in the same year. It's happened three years in a row across multiple departments. It is doing irreparable damage to the company's reputation and employee motivation. It wouldn't happen if there was a clearer strategy that was openly communicated. Instead no one knows what is happening or going to happen until the next redundancy round kicks in, so we keep hiring people or creating new jobs blindly, only to find them cut shortly after.

    - Pay overtime if people do overtime and hire enough staff. We won't overcome macro-economics by making everyone do 60 hour weeks. We need to retain talent, not work it dry.

    - During the last three years of decline, we have heard little from senior management apart from 'the company decline is out of our control' because of 'macro economic factors'. It's always reactive and with hindsight (normally at a redundancy presentation). A strong senior team finds opportunities and anticipates challenges in a changing make; finds and exploits areas of growth. It's also no excuse for treating people fairly.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Very unpleasant place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bournemouth, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bournemouth, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Kaplan International full-time

    Pros

    Met some nice people, both staff and students, while working here.

    Cons

    Badly disorganised.
    Very poor leadership.
    Academic misconduct is rife and almost impossible to tackle here.
    Students often fall far below the required level of language ability for their courses.
    Bullying is not only tolerated by management here but is also a part of the culture.

    Advice to Management

    Resign.

    Kaplan International Response

    26 Feb 2018

    Please accept my sincere thanks for taking the time to share your feedback on your time at Kaplan International (KI). In my role as Chief Operating Officer within KI, I endeavor to create a company... More


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