NEWS ARTICLE

Trends, challenges and strategies in international teacher recruitment and retention

Nov 21, 2023

International schools are witnessing an unprecedented demand for teachers, a trend expected to continue into the coming decade. ISC Research has published a new specialist report looking at the recruitment and retention of teachers within international schools around the world.

Trends, challenges and strategies in international teacher recruitment and retention

Nov 21, 2023 | Data & Trends

International schools are witnessing an unprecedented demand for teachers, a trend expected to continue into the coming decade. ISC Research has published a new specialist report looking at the recruitment and retention of teachers within international schools around the world. The report shares insights into the crucial role of strategic recruitment and retention of teachers in international schools for sustaining educational quality worldwide. It also includes points of views from school leaders and teachers on the challenges faced, the importance of turnover and what the future holds for international schools.

Here are just some of the research results highlighted from the report.

Navigating shifts in teacher recruitment

As the landscape of international teaching has evolved in response to world events, so too have the strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers in international schools. The past couple of years have brought significant shifts in the approach, owing to the disruptions caused by international travel restrictions and school budget constraints.

Notably, there has been a marked increase in the repatriation of expatriate teachers. This has led to a need for schools to adapt their recruitment strategies, with online recruitment gaining prominence over traditional large-scale job-fairs. This digital shift helps schools to better manage their reduced budgets while still reaching a broad pool of potential educators.

Schools are also placing a greater emphasis on professional development and teacher wellbeing, recognising these as key factors in attracting and retaining quality educators. For example, there has been an increased emphasis on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) frameworks in international schools, which are challenging schools to adjust their mission and values and prioritise teacher representation.

Parallel to this, there’s been a spotlight on the students’ role in international schools, with a growing emphasis on global citizenship and intercultural competencies. This shift is helping to shape the kind of teachers that these schools seek to recruit.

“Speaking about teacher shortages, ….. the idea of a shortage is a misdiagnosis of the problem – that is, confusing shortage with sets of conditions which are driving teachers away from the profession or preventing people from entering the profession.”

The future landscape of teacher demand

International schools have faced significant challenge in adapting and finding solutions to changing teacher supply and recruitment patterns triggered by the pandemic. While the need for teachers is high, the journey to effective recruitment and retention is fraught with complexities. Analysis within the specialist report reveals a potential requirement of up to 158,400 more teachers by 2028, should the market recover to pre-pandemic growth levels. However, even if the growth path continues as it has during the pandemic, there will still be a need for 70,500 more teachers by 2028. These estimates highlight not only the promising opportunities for educators globally, but also the challenges international schools face.

Challenges and opportunities

The pandemic’s impact has emphasised the necessity for robust recruitment and retention strategies, posing questions on how international schools can continue to adapt in an ever-evolving global landscape. It has sparked thought-provoking questions on how schools can continue their evolution in the global landscape. It has become imperative for these schools to not just focus on recruiting more teachers, but also retaining them in the longer term.

Contrary to the common belief, there isn’t so much a shortage of teachers as there is a need for effective recruitment and retention strategies. The challenge for international schools going forward will be to continue adapting these strategies in response to the ever-evolving global situation.

In conclusion, international teacher recruitment and retention in international schools are aspects of profound significance in today’s ever-evolving educational landscape. While challenges persist, the figures paint a promising trajectory for educators worldwide. Recognising this potential, it becomes imperative for international schools to leverage these growth opportunities by investing in robust recruitment and retention strategies. As these schools continue to adapt and evolve, they hold the potential to attract and retain a significant number of skilled educators, thereby ensuring the continuation of high-quality education on a global scale.

Find out more and purchase the specialist report here, or join our ISC Research Community where it is free to download for all community members. To register to the Community, sign up here.

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We are dedicated and committed to supporting the broader international schools community by providing data, trends and intelligence. Since 1994, we have guided schools with their growth plans, informed investors on new school development, helped universities to engage with international schools, and advised education suppliers that are supporting the market.