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The UK needs to recruit another 53,000 teachers by 2050 to meet the demands of the growing UK population, new research has revealed.
Research from Randstad Education has forecast that with a projected population of 74.5m in 2050, the UK will require a workforce of more than 507,000 qualified teachers to support the demand.
In order to secure this long-term workforce, the number of teachers working in the UK needs to increase by more than 1,600 per year from 2008.
But recent falls in the intake of new graduates onto teacher training courses make the sector's ability to grow at the required rate increasingly difficult. In 2011, the intake fell by 9% overall although some subjects suffered decreases of 40%. At the time this was attributed to anxiety over public sector cuts and uncertainty over the future of teacher training. This lull in training numbers was predicted to begin to affect schools in 2013 and 2014 so may yet cause a problem to teacher numbers in the 2014/2015 year.
Jenny Rollinson, managing director of Randstad Education, said: "Schools and teachers have been under pressure from a variety of sides over the last few years. Changes in the way schools are funded, the impact of free schools and academies and a rising number of pupils and classroom management issues have all provided hurdles for schools to clear. Unfortunately, these challenges play their part in how graduates perceive the industry which has resulted in a drop in the number of graduates deciding to train as teachers in recent years."
Despite the recent fall in trainee intake, the number of teachers working in the UK has actually grown above required rate over the last five years, from 441,100 in 2008 to 454,900 in 2013 – 1.3% more than the minimum required.
"industries that are ahead of schedule in terms of workforce size are also the industries with above average levels of professional fulfilment among employees"
Jenny Rollinson, managing director of Randstad Education, said: "Paradoxically, the financial crisis has in some ways benefited the education sector. Many workers affected by the downturn decide to move out of the commercial sector and into education as they viewed a career in teaching as a more secure and rewarding path. Teacher numbers were also boosted by those deciding to defer – or indeed return from – retirement in order to secure long-term income in the face of an uncertain economy. We have also seen an increase in mum-returners and retirees returning to teaching through the supply route."
The issue of under-employment is a nationwide problem. Overall, the UK is currently 268,000 employees short of the number required to satisfy the long term demand of the country. Despite strong recent employment growth figures, the workforce needs to be 29,352,000 strong – 0.9% higher than where it is now – for the country to be on track to achieve the necessary workforce size by 2050.
Are teachers fulfilled at work?
The industries that are ahead of schedule in terms of workforce size are also the industries with above average levels of professional fulfilment among employees with teachers among the most fulfilled workers in the UK.
Overall, 62% of the UK workforce describes itself as professionally fulfilled, however, teachers have shown above average levels of fulfilment with 72% saying they feel fulfilled at work. And while 13% of the overall workforce said they were unfulfilled, just 7% teachers said they felt the same.
Download Randstad's Fulfilment @work Report