Is teaching going part-time?


Changes in the UK teaching job market that could have a big impact on schools

The emergence of teacher shortages in the UK has been widely publicised in the press in recent years, with MPs calling for strategies to cope with rapidly growing pupil numbers and the resulting demand for teachers. However, statistics show that the UK’s teaching job market has seen a three per cent growth in the past 12 months which, although this could suggest confidence in the market, is more likely to highlight the problem of fewer teachers being able to match the demand. Research has also indicated that teaching contracts have seen a shift from permanent full-time roles, to shift work and job sharing opportunities – possibly a method to fill the teaching vacancies.

Steady growth

According to a study by Joblift, using data collated from a wide range of UK job websites, 271,170 teaching jobs have been posted in the UK in the last 12 months. The number of these positions has increased by around three per cent every month, on average. To put this in context, the whole UK market has increased by two per cent monthly on average, meaning teaching vacancies have increased by 1.5 times the UK average.

There has been much discussion that teaching vacancies have becoming increasingly more difficult to fill, which can be confirmed by the statistics that teaching positions stay active online for an average of 17 days before being filled – three days more than the whole UK job market average of 14 days online.

The study also highlighted the most in-demand teachers according to the subjects they teach. Physics teachers are the most requested, subject-wise, as these positions have accounted for eight per cent of all teaching vacancies posted since August 2016. Mathematics and English teachers follow closely behind with each subject speciality making up seven per cent of all teaching vacancies in the last year. These statistics show that the need for physics and mathematics teachers remains high despite the Government relaxing immigration restrictions to combat this labour gap last January, with these subjects being the particular focus. 

Interestingly, vacancies for physics and mathematics teachers have both decreased by an average of five per cent monthly each since last January, which would suggest that this relaxation of immigration restrictions has had a positive effect for these subjects.

Changing contracts

The research also shows that whilst permanent contracts continue to dominate in terms of quantity, temporary and job share roles have had more than double the growth rate in the last 12 months. Permanent contracts still make up 73 per cent of all teaching job vacancies but temporary contracts (which make up 23 per cent of vacancies) have experienced 2.5 times the growth, with an average monthly increase of five per cent (compared to two per cent growth in permanent contracts).

In addition, although teaching positions advertising shift work made up just three per cent of all vacancies, these roles have increased by an average of four per cent monthly, compared to the one per cent average monthly increase experienced in regular working hour vacancies. Furthermore, around 2,611 teaching positions posted in the past year have been advertised with the option to job share. Whilst these account for only one per cent of all teaching positions, job share vacancies have seen a huge average monthly increase of nine per cent, three times more than the teaching average. This could highlight the Government’s initiatives to re-structure contracts and offer more flexible working patterns.

Further information

Lukas Erlebach is CEO of Joblift, a meta search engine for jobs:

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