Making education recruitment easier could help ease the current teaching shortage

??????????????????????????????Nine out of ten teachers believe the job application process should be made easier, according to new research.

Two thirds have been prevented from applying for a job because of the lengthy and complex process. They admitted that coupled with existing teaching commitments, it was often impossible to fill out more than one job application or to complete the application.

The survey of 875 teachers from Randstad Education revealed 34% of teachers apply for only one position. This figure drops to 10% for two positions and 9% for three positions. 66% said they had failed to complete an application because it was too time-consuming.

30% of teachers are already planning on leaving the profession in the next 12 months because of heavy workloads, low morale and poor work/life balance and the complex recruitment process is making the existing teacher shortages worse.

Stewart McCoy, Strategic Operations Director (Randstad Education), said: “Application apathy is gripping the profession and is adding to the already drastic impact of teacher shortages on schools. At a time when many teachers are considering leaving the sector, having others languishing in roles and schools they would rather not be because they are disincentivised from applying for new roles cannot be good for either school morale or pupils’ education.

“The recruitment process is creating an invisible barrier for teachers wishing to advance their career and it is time to look at the traditional job application pack and how it can be improved.”

The survey, carried out in July, revealed the vast majority of teachers would welcome a standardised application pack which would be valid across all schools. Respondents felt the traditional process was no longer appropriate with 88% not convinced their applications would be read.

Mr McCoy said: “A national application form which is accepted across a range of schools is a great idea. It could still capture all the relevant data such as CPD, qualifications, achievements and experience but would allow teachers to make multiple applications.

“The number of vacancies in schools results in 63,000 online job adverts every year which is a huge number to have. A more streamlined process would hopefully lead to a reduction in outstanding vacancies and go some way to improving the current teacher shortage.”

Mr McCoy said schools also had a part to play in making themselves more attractive to prospective teachers, particularly if those teachers are only likely to apply for one or two jobs. He described how they needed to improve their employer brand – the way they are perceived by others – if they wanted to attract the top talent and ensure as broad a selection of candidates as possible.

He added: “With a third of teachers tending to apply for just the one role, for schools themselves it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd by clearly defining their vision, demonstrating their leadership and promoting their results. Failure to promote themselves could mean schools face a teacher drought and miss out on the dynamism and impetus that comes with new staff.”

Schools could also ease the burden of recruitment by using recruitment agencies instead to do much of the legwork. With 84% admitting they don’t have the resources to properly recruit they could get agencies to do much of the initial interview and vetting process.

In addition, the survey revealed 45% of teachers preferred to use such agencies, meaning schools could miss out on ready to work teachers if they do not engage with agencies.

Mr McCoy concluded: “Using an agency can remove much of the workload from schools by only putting forward candidates that are suitable and ready to work. This, coupled with a standardised application form, would help speed up the process and make recruitment far easier for both teachers and schools.”

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