Well educated, confident women are the most fulfilled teachers


One in four UK teachers (24%) describe themselves as very fulfilled, according to new research by Randstad.

The company analysed the characteristics and views of over 2,000 UK workers to better understand professional fulfilment and profile the UK’s most fulfilled staff.

The education sector findings show that it is ambitious women who are getting the most from work. UK teachers who describe themselves as very fulfilled in their professional lives are most likely to be well-educated women. They are also likely to be confident, with a positive personality. They generally have a strong sense of determination and the belief that if something doesn’t work out, they will persist in trying to make it a success.

The findings also showed how the profile of the average UK teacher compares to their most fulfilled peers. A typical member of the UK education sector is likely to earn £25,300 per year and feel moderately fulfilled. In contrast to those who say they are very fulfilled, the average UK teacher says they are occasionally confident and are more likely to place importance on their employer’s role to helping them achieve their full potential.

Jenny Rollinson, managing director of Randstad Education, said: “Our research has shown that the majority of UK professionals who describe themselves as fulfilled feel the key to achieving it is firmly in their own hands. It’s up to us to determine how engaged we are in our day-to-day work. Naturally, employers play their part, but adaptability is key for employees as is the ability to be flexible in a range of different situations. Passion is an essential ingredient to a successful career and the desire to proactively make changes to increase our fulfilment.

“It’s interesting to note that the most fulfilled staff have a lower than average salary. We know teachers aren’t necessarily motivated by pay, but the results also suggest that those with less managerial responsibility may get greater satisfaction from their work. Those in higher paid positions further up the career ladder may be more exposed to pressures from education boards and the government, and under pressure with their workloads as a result of spending cuts.”

Meanwhile, findings from the latest "Barometer of the Teaching Industry" conducted by The London Teaching Pool, shows that more than 90% of teachers believe their job has been made harder in the past twelve months, whilst nearly 80% are either unsure or would definitely not recommend teaching as a career to family members or friends.

Of the teachers surveyed by TLTP Education, 91% said they felt their job had been made harder; only 2% felt that it had got easier. Of those who said it had been made harder, 72% attributed it to excessive paperwork, 63% to too many changes in policy, 25% to a lack of resources and 21% to worsening student behaviour.

Keeping up with workload was cited as the biggest challenge facing teachers by 82% of respondents with 60% pointed to ‘unsympathetic government policies’. Also mentioned were student behaviour (26%), under-resourcing (24%), lack of parental support (22%) and less job security (19%).

When asked what changes would make their jobs easier, three quarters argued for less administration and more focus on actual teaching. Over half (54%) cited the need for greater consistency in the curriculum and 51% mentioned less stress. Better resources, more training and improved student behaviour were also mentioned.

Of those questioned 56% said that they would not recommend teaching as a career to family members or friends, compared to 42% who said they would.

On the issues of intimidation and abuse, 41% of teachers said that they had been verbally abused in school during the last academic year and a further 24% said they knew a colleague who had been. However, in a glimmer of good news two thirds of teachers said they had not experienced physical abuse. 8% said they had been physically attacked whilst a quarter claimed they knew a colleague who had been.

"Our latest Barometer of the Teaching Industry shows a profession still in a state of some unease," said TLTP managing director, Darryl Mydat.

"Uncertainty around resource levels and increased workload is creating unhelpful levels of stress in the profession which are being compounded by threats on a number of fronts from within the classroom environment. This matches our experience as a recruiter of seeing experienced teachers leaving management positions because of this combination of factors and being replaced by less experienced teachers."

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