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Travel and career prospects top of int’l teachers’ agendas

International teachers consider travel opportunities more important than many other factors when applying for a position, according to a new survey, which suggests a rethink on teacher recruitment methods is needed.

Photo: Flickr: Regent Language Training

Any nearby outdoor activities and famous scenic/cultural sights are likely to appeal to travel-motivated job seekers

Teach Away’s 2017 International Education Recruitment Report, which surveyed 10,465 teachers around the world, found that just 15% of candidates want to teach abroad primarily for financial reasons, while 43% of candidates choose to do so as a means to travel.

Career progression can also be a motivator with 37% indicating this was an incentive to take a particular job.

David Frey, Teach Away CEO, told The PIE News that the report suggests new recruitment drives to target this mindset.

“In short, international schools need to start leveraging online recruiting strategies, if they aren’t already doing so,” Frey said.

“International schools are still recruiting teachers the old-fashioned way, i.e. newspaper ads, job fairs, even though the survey results show that 97% of candidates are using online job search channels,” Frey added.

“They can be reluctant to switch gears. But pretty soon, they won’t have a choice in the matter.”

The opinion of colleagues or recruiters is also seen as important by teachers

Recruiters should highlight potential travel and the benefits of their location when advertising jobs to international teachers; a potential difficulty for some more isolated schools.

“International schools in more rural locations do often face challenges when it comes to recruiting international teachers,” Frey said.

Teach Away recommends that these schools should highlight the potential highlights of rural living, such as geographical opportunities, quality of life, and even the nearest urban hubs, for the benefits such as further travel that conurbations bring.

“[International schools] could consider highlighting their proximity to the nearest city and public transport options that make travel accessible on the job description.

“If the school’s region offers little-known recreational opportunities, [schools should] be sure to list these in detail, in particular any nearby outdoor activities and famous scenic/cultural sights that are likely to appeal to travel-motivated job seekers,” he added.

“Housing options are typically more spacious and the cost of living is lower [in rural settings], allowing for more saving potential (again, for travel). Additionally, teachers don’t have to contend with the disadvantages of city life, such as traffic jams, lower air quality and higher crime rates.”

Other international teacher recruiters agreed with the main points of the report, that location is the main decider, but the opinion of colleagues or recruiters is also seen as important by teachers.

“I agree with the recommendations… I would add that schools need to be very aware of their online presences and invest in a good website that has a very strong careers section,” Andrew Wigford, director of UK-based Teachers International Consultancy told The PIE News.

Wigford said that because TIC is a UK-based organisation, its surveys with more British respondents have found major differences in preferred locations for teachers. Asia and the Middle East were ranked first and second, with Europe third in a TIC survey.

He also highlighted that teachers often chose schools due to the recommendation of a colleague or respected recruiting agency and that many choices are based on job preferences and school quality, rather than location or salary.

Diane Jacoutot, managing director at Edvectus, noted that candidates from different countries behave differently when searching for news roles.

“I find that teachers in different countries use more regionally important channels to find jobs. In some countries such as South Africa and Ireland, word of mouth is by far the most important factor.

“In the UK, teachers use particular job boards such as TES as well as associated forums; Australia and New Zealand have their own specific channels.”

Disagreeing with Wigford, however, Jacoutot argues that teachers do see money as a significant pull factor.

“Once [teachers] decide to go abroad, then money and package tend to be a major factor in deciding on one job over another,” she said. 

Laura Light, director at Global Recruitment Team told The PIE News that she agreed with the report that the market needs to adapt.

“We are finding that the online hiring, and the use of Zoom and Skype, has changed how hiring is being done.  We work hard to ensure that these are used, as we want to help all connect. Hiring, and finding the right ‘fit’, is now a year round job due to this [change].”

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