SEEK Employment Trends: spotlight on education and training

SEEK job ads for the education and training sector increased by 13% year-on-year in April 2016, and growth was recorded across all states and territories (excluding the Northern Territory). Candidate availability has also been tightening in recent months.

This is against a backdrop of significant changes in recent months. New guidelines introduced to early childhood teaching from 1 January 2016 and an increase in government funding for after-school care has likely contributed to a growth in SEEK job ads across these areas of the market. Meanwhile, a projected growth in primary school-aged children is creating what experts describe as a ‘war on talent’ for teachers.

An increased focus on care for kids

Early childhood teaching experienced a 7% increase in SEEK job ads in April 2016. From 1 January this year, teacher-student ratios for the early childhood sector increased across the majority of states and territories under the National Quality Framework. This means an extra teacher is now required for each classroom in order to boost the quality of early childhood learning.

Matt Hodges, National Director Education at recruitment firm Randstad, says that while some organisations planned ahead for these changes, many left it a little late. “It meant that when they came to recruit, there was a real shortage and the industry went into a bit of a panic,” he says. “What we found as we entered the second quarter is that demand has reached its peak and people generally had their numbers right.”

A rise in government funding for after-school care, particularly in NSW, Western Australia and Queensland, has also had an impact on the childcare and outside school hours care sector, with SEEK job ads nationally in this sector increasing by 28% year-on-year.

“There was a real problem – when children left school, where did they go? There were not enough services for them to go to,” says Hodges. “The government has relieved some of that and the added funding means organisations have been able to expand. I predict the boom in this sector will continue throughout much of the year.”

Movement for primary and secondary sectors

The primary school sector is gearing up for an influx of students in the coming years and this may account for the 56% year-on-year growth in SEEK job ads across teaching roles. “Primary sector research says that by 2020 there will be an extra 92,000 primary school children in NSW and another 100,000 in Victoria and Queensland,” says Hodges. “There is a real growth in the population for that age group and there has to be some recruitment strategies in place to cover the number of students that are going to be coming through. I think there will be a war on talent.”

SEEK job ads for secondary teaching roles were also up by 29% year-on-year. Hodges says this sector is experiencing challenges in retaining talent. Research shows that when a secondary teacher graduates, they are only staying for five years,” explains Hodges. “Around 30–50% of teachers will graduate and then leave, which is a really high number.”

Hodges adds that a reason secondary teachers are leaving the profession is they’re struggling to find permanent work. “There’s so much contract work and, because its contract work, the induction isn’t up to scratch,” he says.

A boost for vocational teaching, while school management roles decline

SEEK job ads for vocational teaching roles increased by 25% year-on-year in April 2016. While job ads for school management roles were down by 39% year-on-year. Hodges says this may be because more schools are recruiting from within. “Schools have become more clever in that they’ve started grooming young talent to take up management positions. Most people in schools are hungry to get those management positions because there’s not many of them.”

As the education and training sector continues to adjust to guideline and funding changes, an overall growth in SEEK job ads is expected to continue. “It’s a really interesting time for education,” says Hodges. “It’s a sector to keep watching.”

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