From education to employment

Career development a priority for education professionals moving jobs

classroom with students' hands up

Almost a third of education professionals (30%) left their jobs in the last 12 months and the main reason for moving was down to a lack of career development opportunities in their organisation. Career progression continues to be a crucial factor for professionals looking to change jobs in the year ahead.

This is according to research released in Hays’ 2023 Education Salary & Recruiting Trends guide, in partnership with the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL), which gives an insight into the opinions and experiences of over 2,000 education professionals working across teaching, support, business support and leadership roles.

What matters most to professionals?

Almost a third (30%) of education professionals left their organisation in the last 12 months; the key motivation behind changing jobs was a lack of career development opportunities (19%). More professionals (39%) hope to change jobs in the year ahead and, aside from salary and benefits package, a lack of future development opportunities is the leading reason (28%).

The research revealed that there isn’t an open dialogue in many organisations when it comes to career progression; over half (53%) of professionals working in education say their career progression plan is not regularly discussed with their employer, either on a termly or annual basis.

According to employees, career progression plans are least likely to be discussed within local authority-maintained schools (58%) and most likely to be discussed on a termly basis within large MATs and independent or private schools / organisations (both 30%).

Being a good fit with colleagues is cited as the top reason professionals (61%) are satisfied with their roles in education. Some of the top factors for job dissatisfaction, on the other hand, are a lack of career progression (36%) and lack of career development opportunities (36%).

Hiring plans continue

Over the next year, many education employers (79%) plan on hiring professionals, predominantly classroom-based support staff (67%) and teachers (67%). However, the skills gap is thought to remain an obstacle in the way of such hiring plans.

Most employers (85%) in the education sector faced skills shortages last year, a significant rise from 75% the year before. Looking ahead, 78% of employers expect to face a shortage of suitable applicants when hiring and 41% expect there to be strong competition from other employers.

Education employers believe it’s worth investing time into the development of staff, as offering career development and CPD opportunities is thought to be most important to help them attract staff (21%), aside from salary.

Paul Matthias, National Director of Education at Hays, comments:

“With skills shortages on the rise in education, attracting and retaining talent is more important than ever.

Whilst employers acknowledge the importance of career development prospects, they ought to clearly communicate career progression plans in interviews to interest prospective candidates. It’s also crucial for employers to be transparent about, and regularly review, achievable career development opportunities they offer throughout a person’s time spent at their organisation, in order to retain talent.

Considering a lack of career development opportunities and career progression are leading causes of employee movement within the education sector, employers who put in place appealing career development opportunities will reap the rewards.”

Stephen Morales, CEO of the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL), comments:

“The quality of our education system depends on a highly motivated and well-respected workforce.

Whilst the research shows that education professionals value career progression, they also need to feel valued and appreciated for the important work they do. Incentives come in different forms, including pay, professional development, and an employer’s attention to wellbeing.

With more than 30% of education professionals close to leaving the sector each year, it’s imperative that, as a sector, we take steps to tackle job dissatisfaction, boost employee morale, and invest in the development of our people.”

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