Pay gap between teaching and other professions harming education

Posted On: 
17th February 2017

The recruitment and retention crisis engulfing the teaching profession is at risk of worsening because of the widening pay gap between teaching and other professions, new research commissioned by the NASUWT has found. 

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, is warning that this shortage of teachers is impacting on the entitlement of children to a high-quality education.

The report by Incomes Data Research (IDR) on teacher salaries at different career points concludes that teachers have not had significant real-terms pay increases since before the recession.

It also shows that pay increases for teachers across England have mostly trailed those received by other occupational groups since 2011.

The analysis by IDR shows that the average starting salary for comparable graduate professions is at least 15% higher than the national M1 starting point for a qualified teacher.

Across the whole of the teaching profession, the report concludes that in 2015 average gross earnings for all comparator professions were 20.2% above those of secondary school teachers, and 32.4% ahead of average earnings for primary school teachers.

The disturbing figures mean teaching is becoming a less attractive profession, which is compounding the recruitment and retention crisis among the workforce.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

"In 2010 teaching was a top choice of career for graduates, annual job satisfaction surveys conducted by the government since 2003 had shown year on year improvement and great strides forward had been made in recognising and rewarding teachers as highly skilled professionals.

“Since 2010, there have been relentless attacks on teachers. Year on year cuts to teachers’ pay, workload spiralling out of control, deprofessionalisation, demoralisation and denigration.

“There is already a recruitment and retention crisis in the Education Service. The stark differences in graduate pay highlighted in our research will unfortunately mean this crisis will worsen.

“Resignations are up, applications to teach are down.

"Children and young people are being short changed by this Government as they cannot receive their entitlement to high quality education when talented teachers are leaving and potential recruits can find jobs in other graduate occupations which recognise and better reward their talents.

"Only the Government appears to be in denial about the scale of the problem, probably because it recognises that the root cause of the crisis is the adverse impact of its policies on the school workforce.”

Ken Mulkearn, Director of Income Data Research, added:

“Our analysis of official earnings data shows that earnings for teachers in England compares unfavourably with those for a range of other graduate occupations.

“This is likely to be a major contributory factor to recruitment and retention problems in schools.”