Many international schools are facing recruitment challenges this year as the incoming teaching pool remains low and teachers within the sector have more choices due to the expanding market. Schools that continue to rely on traditional recruitment streams appear to be hardest hit.
Experienced international school educators whose contracts are ending are at an advantage. Many are evaluating all desirable options before making decisions on contract extensions or new placements, causing more recruitment dilemmas for schools.
According to ISC Research data from January 2023, the employment of full-time teachers within the global international schools has increased by 13% in just five years, from 556,150 teaching staff employed in 2018 to 626,800 today. In South-Eastern Asia, a popular destination for many international school teachers, employment has increased by 28% from 52,430 to 66,880. In Western Asia (the Middle East excluding Egypt) where the market has remained relatively static for the last five years, teacher employment has not grown so extensively, but the number of teachers employed by international schools is much higher at 154,970.
While local educators are increasingly valued by international schools for their cultural understanding and local language skills, most schools employ only a small percentage although data suggests this is increasing. And while many international schools are recognising the need for more diversity within their teaching staff, most schools remain heavily reliant on educators from a few source countries. Again, data suggests that change is happening but not fast enough.
According to international school remuneration data available from ISC Research, as the hiring season has progressed and this year’s recruitment challenges have surfaced, so some schools have shifted salary levels in line with the wider market and some have adapted their benefits packages to remain competitive. To encourage the commitments of current staff, some schools are offering time-sensitive renewal incentives or generous renewal extensions.