Less than half of teachers would enter the profession if given the choice again

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
May 27, 2022, 9:51 AM GMT+0

A quarter of teachers aged 34 and under think it is unlikely they will still be teachers in five years

Figures from the University of Essex Institute for Social and Economic Research show the number of male teachers has fallen to its lowest point on record. Low recruitment and poor retention of existing teachers has been partly blamed on pay, with staff suffering a 15% real-term pay cut since 2010. This all follows the stresses and increased workload brought on during the pandemic.

It may be unsurprising then, that a new YouGov survey of teachers suggests many may be feeling disillusioned with their career choice.

Fewer than half (45%) say that if they could choose again, they would still choose to become teachers. Two in five (40%) would not choose to become a teacher again.

The youngest and the oldest teachers are the happiest with their choice of career, being the most likely to say they would repeat it. Half of teachers aged 18 to 34 (51%) and 62% of those aged 55 and above say they would make the same choice to teach again.

Teachers aged 35 to 44 are split 40% to 43% over whether they would become teachers again or not. Those aged 45 to 54 are the least likely to say they would still choose to become a teacher, at 35%, compared to nearly half (48%) who say they would not.

Teachers would generally discourage others from entering the profession

Not only would many teachers opt-out if given the choice again, but they would also discourage others from going into teaching, by 45% to 20% who would encourage it. One in three (32%) neither encourage nor dissuade someone from considering joining the profession.

Among those who would not choose to become a teacher again, the vast majority (82%) say they would attempt to dissuade others from a career in teaching. Only 2% say they would encourage others to teach.

However, even among those who would choose to teach again, only 40% would encourage others to do so, while 15% would actively discourage them from following in their footsteps. Another four in ten (42%) would neither encourage nor discourage them from doing so.

Nearly a quarter of young teachers doubt they will be teaching in five years

Given pandemic stress and stagnated wages, are teachers considering throwing in the towel?

Just under six in ten (58%) say they will likely be teaching in five years, although only 23% think that it is "very likely" they will remain in the profession. A third (33%) say it is unlikely they will still be teaching in five years, including 14% who think it "very unlikely".

Approaching a quarter of the youngest teachers (24% of those aged 18-34) say it is unlikely they will be teaching in five years, with 35 to 44 similarly likely to consider quitting (26%).

Of those aged 45 to 54, only 51% expect to continue teaching for another five years, with 40% expecting not to.

Among those teachers who would not choose a career in teaching again, only 40% expect they will still be teaching in five years, while 52% think it is unlikely they will be.

See full results here

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