The state of recruitment in the education sector and what to watch for in 2022

teacher in classroom

The pandemic wreaked havoc in many industries, and the education sector was no exception. Education has been hit particularly hard. Almost overnight, teachers and education assistants had to plan and deliver lessons online. Students of all ages had to swiftly adapt and get familiar with video conferencing software like Zoom.

No longer sitting next to each other, sharing the ups and downs of school life, pupils suddenly left entire school buildings empty, and education itself became an isolated endeavour.

But as we move out of the worst of the pandemic, it’s not all doom and gloom for education.

Let’s look at some positive changes within education recruitment benefiting teachers and students alike.

The state of recruitment in the education sector

The United Kingdom’s education sector experienced some dramatic shifts during 2020 and 2021. Despite the upheaval, the UK Parliament reports that the overall recruitment of initial teacher trainees in 2020 and 2021 was around 15% over standard target levels. This figure applies to both primary and secondary education.

Adding to this, the education sector was one of the very few to register solid and steady growth in job applications and career opportunities.

This may seem at odds with the overall state of the economy, especially when you consider complications brought about by Brexit. But there’s a simple explanation.

Many people view education as a “safe” sector, which explains why the industry tends to experience a boom in applications when things feel uncertain and the economy comes to a standstill.

Another incentive to apply for initial teacher training came from the release of several bursaries and scholarships to take some financial burdens off trainees.

And as we mentioned Brexit earlier, it’s worth clarifying that this is another factor that will have a massive impact on the education sector. Following Brexit, all schools and higher education institutions will need to come to terms with a potential shortage of foreign-language teachers.

Generally, foreign language subjects rely on the expertise of native European teachers coming from different parts of the European Union. But with Brexit’s new rules and regulations around Visas, EU citizens who want to teach languages in the UK might find it a lot more difficult (if not impossible) to access the country, let alone find a teaching job.

So things in education are a bit of a mixed bag. Recruitment and applications are up, but Brexit has closed the UK off in new ways. What can we expect in the post-pandemic education sector?

Education recruitment trends to watch for in 2022

Some positive future trends in the education recruitment sector have already emerged, including salary increases and boosts in school funding.

However, salaried trainees in specific subjects will see their grants cut, and most UK schools will have to face a severe shortage of teachers who specialise in subjects such as foreign languages.

But let’s take a closer look at all these trends.

Tax-free pay rises and school funding

For IT and scientific subject teachers, things are looking up. Maths, physics, chemistry, and IT teachers in England will enjoy a tax-free salary increase of £3,000 per year.

These increases will support early-career specialist teachers. They’re also designed to send teachers to schools that need their expertise most.

Schools themselves will also benefit from financial funding. This will be available to every pupil at every school to hopefully help them recover from the often devastating effects of the pandemic, including lost learning opportunities, mental health difficulties, and more.

Teacher shortages and grant cuts

While science and IT teachers will enjoy pay rises, those who teach English, geography, history, music, religious education, and design and technology will experience the opposite.

The UK Department for Education recently announced that it will end grants for primary school teachers specialising in those subjects starting in the 2021/2022 academic year.

Learning after Brexit

And there’s more bad news for language teachers, as we have briefly mentioned earlier. Despite a surge in teaching job applications, the country will continue to deal with a shortage of language teachers, especially for secondary schools.

This issue, however, could be fixed — or, at least, minimised — by incentivising internationally-trained teachers to return to the UK by offering them permanent teaching positions at UK schools.

In 2022 we’ll learn more about how the loss of EU funding will impact UK universities. Between 2007 and 2013, UK universities received €8.8 billion in funding from European research grants. Now that the UK and EU relationship has changed, we’re already seeing shifts in cross-border funding programmes. Those changes will continue as the European Universities Initiative works to redefine the European Education Area, which, so far, does not include the UK.

Stay ahead of the learning curve with crooton

Recruiting the best candidate for a job opening requires an awareness of the current market conditions and anticipating the most important future trends.

The current boom in the UK’s education sector is the perfect opportunity to refresh your recruiting approach. Be sure to visit our blog to read more about how COVID-19 has impacted recruitment across all industries, common recruiting mistakes and how to avoid them, and how to target the best talent for your open roles. And contact us today to find out how we can help you thrive in the post-pandemic education world.