The demand for STEM teachers continues to outstrip supply; as an industry we are neither generating enough nor keeping them. However, there are steps you can take at institution level to reappraise your recruitment approach to catch the ones that are out there.
Unemployment is low and one of our biggest threats to cultivating our workforce pipeline is that other industries are offering high salaries for STEM subject specialists.
The teacher talent pool is more squeezed than ever. Teacher count is stagnating at 10% entering the market each year while 10% are leaving each year.
Meanwhile, pupil numbers are increasing by more than 20% by 2025.
This issue is not confined to the UK, with a new Council of British International Schools (COBIS) report revealing that UAE British schools are also struggling. As reported on by The National, UAE schools are finding it hard to recruit maths, technology and science staff due to more lucrative job offers for specialists in these areas.
As with all school talent management, two angles must be approached: attraction and retention.
Attraction: How can schools compete to attract STEM graduates?
Bear in mind that you’re specifically hunting the techy graduates and teachers. Even a quarter of the existing teaching workforce is now under 30 while the 50+ bracket has fallen by 6% to 15.6% since 2010. This new generation and millennials shop online, meet their partners online and shop for career moves online.
As a result, your marketing and branding needs to be where they are – online.
A whopping 59% of jobseekers visiting eteach.com do so on their mobiles and research tells us this will continue to go up. They want to find your advert on a search engine and drop you their details quickly.
Social media builds brands and bridges, fast. LinkedIn and Facebook present to education professionals in their free time when they are open to ideas. Instagram is where to tap into lifestyle aspirations.
If you are marketing for this generation to make a career choice or a lifestyle goal, you need to sow the seed early.
Retention – how to stop well-qualified staff leaking out of our pipeline
In a bid to retain staff, some Emirates schools are training STEM teachers to gain further qualifications, as well as providing them with open-ended contracts and diversification programmes. By investing in your STEM staff in this way, you create the perception of future choices for them.
Flexible working has opened the door for STEM professionals, and ours are walking out of it! Other industries have embraced job sharing and flexible working afforded by cloud-based technology.
As a result, workload-weary teachers are finding what they perceive to be more manageable lifestyles in other careers, and mum-returners have other career choices and low loyalty after maternity.
Schools who look to overcome that challenge creatively will prevail: job sharing must be embraced more sensibly (opening the doors to thousands of highly experienced STEM professionals ‘part-time’ is absolutely worth the cost of one cross-over PPA session); non-contact time can be remote and via Skype if team collaboration is needed; and cloud-based sharing gives access to shared planning files.
In reality, an improvement to this needs to be the combined effort of a national movement to increase the talent pool of STEM graduates entering teaching in the first place, combined with a total change in approach by schools to a far more media-savvy marketing and recruitment strategy.
eTeach offers a range of recruitment services and our specialists are experts in placing teachers in difficult-to-fill STEM roles.
For further information please visit www.eteachgroup.com.