State of Recruitment: EducationThe complexity of the education sector calls for both efficient and effective recruitment strategies. With nearly 3.8 million employed people working under the non-profit umbrella, educational institutions and school districts currently face issues with hiring enough quality teachers to satisfy demand.
The worst cases of teacher shortages and high turnover rates come from high-poverty, high-minority schools, producing a disproportionate concentration of inexperienced or underprepared educators. This teacher shortage in the U.S. requires critical thinking in recruitment. It’s time for the education sector to devise resourceful ways to attract talent.
First, let’s look at why teacher turnover is an issue to be addressed.
Why are teachers leaving?
Working as a teacher in primary and secondary education can involve demanding schedules, less-than-ideal conditions and even pay cuts. An extensive body of research on teacher recruitment and retention highlights various factors that may influence teachers’ work-related decisions, including: salary, preparation and cost to entry, personnel management, new teacher support and working conditions.
Each year, more than 200,000 teachers leave their profession, with over 60% of that turnover rate existing for reasons other than retirement. Among the reasons often cited are:
- Inadequate job preparation. Educator shortages can lead to teachers being thrown into hectic classroom environments with demanding schedules, or forced to teach unfamiliar curriculum.
- Lack of support. Teachers without mentoring are over two times more likely to leave.
- Challenging conditions. The nuances of education require collaboration across various fronts and departments; without this, teachers can become disheartened by their surroundings.
- Opportunities and compensation. More than one in four teachers who leave say they do so to pursue other opportunities. These decisions often stem from inadequate compensation, whether monetary or via benefits packages.
- Personal reasons. As with any profession, some teachers choose to leave for personal reasons such as pregnancy or switching career paths.
In order for educational institutions to make more long-term, quality hires at a higher volume, they must first internalize why teachers are leaving and actively work to reverse this reality.
Best practices for recruiting in today’s education landscape
With a teacher shortage in full swing, recruitment in education is already a challenge that must be consistently addressed. But additional factors also contribute to this need for optimized strategies. When we think beyond U.S. borders into the demand from international schools, the teacher recruitment issue becomes increasingly dire.
By 2025, the number of international schools is expected to increase by 88% – but new teacher hires are expected to increase by just 8%. Knowing this, special attention should be directed towards filling both international and remote teaching positions. The rise of dual curriculum schools in China, for example, calls for teaching staff to fill positions in a largely untapped market for British, American and Australian schools within the country.
With a strong need both domestically and internationally for teacher hires, recruiters must consider the types of new strategies that will make the biggest impact.
One of the most promising areas for improvement lies in the sourcing and pooling of candidates. Schools and educational institutions should ensure they are taking the following two best practices in mind:
Reaching outside the traditional candidate pool. The current hiring pool is clearly not satisfying long-term teaching demands, and instead producing high turnover. School systems should begin to explore other options for sourcing candidates that could potentially yield better results.
Hiring ahead of schedule by pooling candidates. Difficulties in teacher recruitment are often exacerbated between the months of February and April. Unfilled positions become more apparent during this time, and hiring efforts increase across institutions. School systems can circumvent this issue by building a candidate pipeline earlier in the year so that options are available during competitive times.
How can institutions optimize their candidate sourcing?
Educational institutions can clear a path toward better candidate sourcing with the right recruitment tool. As schools often have little to no recruitment staff, small budgets and a dependency on the taxpayer (meaning they need to demonstrate ROI on all hiring decisions), recruitment tools can be a game-changing option for hiring success.
When selecting a recruitment tool, schools should opt for efficiency (does it allow one recruiter to tackle the work done by three?), scale (does it tap into a global talent pool?) and flexibility (can it help hire other staff? Can it work with varying conditions and budgets?).
Recruiters in education could benefit from programmatic recruitment platforms that take all key hiring factors into consideration, while helping source candidates from a broader, international pool.
Bottomline: Revamping recruitment strategies can lead to a healthier education system.
Teaching staff is the life blood of the education system, and without improvements in hiring processes, the demand for quality educators will continue to outweigh supply.
With several improvements in candidate sourcing through strategic scheduling and recruitment tools, educational institutions can make necessary strides towards ending the teacher shortage and building a healthier education system.
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