From education to employment

Jobs for life a thing of the past

Jobs in education are churning at about the same level as the private sector. What should you do to keep job fit?

Reasons behind the level of job churn in education are twofold; structural change from government policy and attitudinal change towards managing education.

Driven by the expansion of the academies programme; creation of ‘free schools’, fewer places in higher education, budget cuts and vastly increased tuition fees, structural change has had an immense impact on education jobs. Educationalists have further been affected by a general change in attitude towards education performance with inspection at the centre of this.

More frequent education inspections and a lack of standardisation has put immense pressure on the teaching profession, none of which will get any better in light of new plans for a common approach towards the standardisation of all education inspections.
Attitudes in performance are centred round student progress and education staff is often secondary in the whole education shebang.

So a job for life in education has become a thing of the past with the average length of time in a job now 18 months. As an example of this there is an academy in Kent that has had seven heads in seven years, despite the £23million of central government funds that has been spent on it. With every change of head and sponsor (two in the last 3 years) staff turnover has reached 50%. Just a handful of teaching staff have been there for longer than 3 years.

With job churn in education being at its highest ever level, recruiter job sites have evolved to provide additional functionality and applications to help education candidates manage their job search. They’re no longer just job boards.

Publishers such as the TES have evolved from being traditional news publishers with classified job sections to a more social online job environment. FE News launched specifically to cover focused online news with a job platform also uses a social style. Both these online sites provide the ‘classified forum’ of job seeking alongside breaking news and as publishers they have loyal readerships within the sector.

But today’s recruiters’ jobsites have also developed and evolved into social platforms for their professional communities. They no longer just advertise jobs but provide the tools and the channels to facilitate client and candidate interactions.

Most inner city schools and further education colleges will be experiencing large churns in their teaching staff. Change as we have seen in education is not without consequence to the frontline. The mass charge for better performance on a battlefield of other social, economic and government politicising has left the teaching profession dodging the staccato of bullets around them.

Managing a career in education now requires each and every teacher, lecturer, department or faculty head to keep job fit with their CV up-to-date and relevant, complete with their personal portfolios and performance stats. Education candidates can now create and build engagement, ask questions, share blogs and articles of interest, build followers and position themselves as thought leaders to help them get noticed in educational professional groups.

This distinct shift in candidate behaviour is not wasted on professional recruitment organisations and is steadily driving the move to evolve recruitment websites into engaging, easy to use and informative one-stop career hubs that education staff can use to their benefit.

Advertising jobs is clearly a must for job sites but todays job seekers want more. For them job search is an ongoing affair, not just for job churn but also for salary benchmarking, industry best practice, career and CV development and a whole host of other needs. Plus keeping ‘up close and personal’ with your favoured recruitment consultant may pay dividends further down the line.

Maintaining a current and up-to-date CV was not something the education profession needed to do three decades ago, now it’s become a prerequisite for continued employment and staying active can boost your career.

Recruiter websites co-exist with job boards, news sites and other social media channels and there are educational organisations who want to be introduced to candidates that are not necessarily looking for a job, so to attract these types recruiters need to ensure their platform is responsive to the latest technology and is easy to use.

For sure there will be more change in the wake of Cameron’s £15,000 golden hello, university bursary for maths & science teachers. Keeping job fit and active on the job playing field is definitely worth the effort.

Chris Wimshurst is education director at Morgan Hunt, which works with FE colleges to recruit marketing and communications expertise and senior appointments within the education sector

Related Articles