Half of FE jobs advertised are part time, finds new ETF report

Almost half of Further Education jobs being advertised are part time roles, according to a new report commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) on the current state of recruitment in the FE sector.  

Between 21 October and 25 November 2021, some 3,430 jobs were posted on a popular sector jobs site (fejobs.com), of which almost half (45 per cent) were part time or term time only. 

The report, entitled ‘FE teacher recruitment and the landscape of FE’, was prepared for the ETF by independent researchers ICF.  It analyses the current state of recruitment in the FE sector and maps the FE teaching and training workforce.  

The research also found: 

  • Seven of 10 jobs were advertised as permanent roles, with 20% as fixed term and 10% as temporary contracts. 
  • Vacancies for teaching staff were comparable with vacancies for support staff: 49% of jobs advertised were for teaching roles and 41% for non-teaching. 
  • There was particular demand for maths, English, SEN and science teachers, relative to the size of the workforce. 
  • The vocational subjects with the highest number of hard-to-fill vacancies were construction, engineering, healthcare and social care, which correspond to the largest subject areas by number of staff and to the hardest-to-fill college vacancies. 
  • Teacher turnover is broadly comparable to other industries. Almost half of job leavers (46 per cent) were in the first three years of their careers, although a large portion of them (35%) moved to another role in the FE sector. 

Jenny Jarvis, Interim CEO of the Education and Training Foundation said: 

“This report indicates the scale of the recruitment challenge within Further Education and highlights how the sector needs to be more creative in its response to this.    

“Positively, the report findings indicate that colleges and training providers are already taking an increasingly pragmatic and flexible approach, with institutions demonstrating great examples of growing their own talent pipeline for example, but the sector needs deeper support to improve recruitment and retention.   

“The DfE’s recent recruitment campaign is a welcome step forward, but the sector’s wider challenge is how to embed a tailored career pathway alongside incentives to ensure that we both recruit and retrain the highest quality teachers. 

“The ETF will continue to shape our programmes to ensure we provide a comprehensive programme of support and high-quality development opportunities, and we will be working with colleagues across the sector to take forward the practical recommendations in this report so that we can build a workforce which fits the needs of future learners.” 

As well as researching data and trends on sector job vacancy boards, the report looks at future demand for FE recruitment and estimates that a further 632,000 jobs will need to be filled over the decade to 2027 as a consequence of factors such as retirement and occupational mobility. 

The report also analyses the level of teaching qualifications across the sector, levels of industry experience by subject area and job requirements by technical and vocational area. It provides specific examples of effective recruitment strategies, including targeted advertising, ‘taster’ and open days and support initiatives for new recruits.  

Recommendations within the report include: scaling-up initiatives to boost recruitment, including the ETF’s Taking Teaching Further and Talent to Teach programmes; developing pathways of support, particularly for new teachers; and a more strategic approach to recruitment for providers. 

ETF will be sharing the report’s findings with sector colleagues and partners so that leaders can use the results to inform their future recruitment practice. 

View the full report on the ETF website.