Is the grass greener beyond teaching?

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Susan Bamford and Jack Worth

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In this Research Update we present evidence on teachers’ motivations to leave the profession. Using Understanding Society survey data, we analyse the destinations of leavers, and explore how their working hours, pay, job satisfaction and well-being change after they leave the profession. We find that a large proportion of teachers remain working in the education sector. We also find that teachers who leave the profession for another job see their working hours and earnings fall while their job satisfaction increases. This evidence suggests that teachers’ decisions about whether to leave the profession are not primarily motivated by pay differentials, but are strongly influenced by teachers wanting to change their working hours and improve job satisfaction.
This Research Update is the fourth publication in a series that is a major new research project by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), which is funded by a grant from the Nuffield Foundation. The project aims to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics within the teacher workforce in England. The study will inform policy makers and system leaders to help formulate effective responses to this complex issue and meet the challenge of increasing demand for teachers. We have already published some evidence-based outputs, which provide insights about where policy interventions and practice might usefully focus. The first two Research Updates presented differences in teacher retention rates by the subject they teach and explored teacher redeployment within and across multi-academy trusts, while our recent Interim Report explored factors associated with teacher retention and turnover and offered recommendations for policymakers on how to improve retention.


Education, Labour Market, Public Policy and Well Being


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