Key points for selected education occupations
- In 2014, there were approximately 116,000 persons employed in the selected education occupations, representing 6.1% of national employment (Figure 9.6.1)
- Four fifths of overall employment was at professional level (three fifths was in primary/nursery and secondary school teaching); a further 8% was at associate professional level
- Between 2009 and 2014, while overall employment increased by only 0.6% on average annually, strong employment growth was observed for teaching & other educational professionals (7.3% on average annually), vocational & industrial trainers/instructors (6.9% on average annually) and secondary school teachers (5.2% on average annually); in contrast, employment contracted for all other occupations, with the strongest rate of decline observed for higher & further education teaching professionals
- Over that five year period, a net 3,500 additional jobs were created; the largest employment increase was recorded for secondary teachers (6,600); in contrast, the largest decline was observed for primary/nursery teachers (almost 6,000)
- Between 2013 and 2014, overall employment declined by 2.2%, with a net job loss of almost 3,000; while employment levels for most occupations did not change significantly, the most pronounced decline was observed for secondary school teachers (Figure 9.6.2)
- One quarter of employed higher & further education teaching professionals were aged 55 or older (Figure 9.6.3)
- The majority of persons employed in professional and associate professional occupations were third level graduates; two fifths of employed educational assistants were third level graduates
- At least three fifths of those employed in each occupation was female; at 90%, the share of females was the highest for primary & nursery teachers and educational support assistants; with just over half male, the workforce of higher & further education teaching professionals was the most closely gender balanced.
In recent years, the lack of permanent employment contracts in the publicly funded education sector resulted in frequent movements of teachers between employers. In 2014, the number of transitions arising due to a change of employer was estimated at 5,500 for primary and secondary teachers, which translates into a higher turnover rate than that for most other professionals. The removal of the recruitment ban should result in less intra-occupational movement and importantly in expansion demand for teachers.
While some expansion demand is expected to emerge as the public sector resumes recruitment, given the cautious increases in public spending, most of the recruitment requirement is expected to arise due to replacement demand. In 2014, almost 4,000 transitions to economic inactivity (i.e. retirement, home duty etc.) were identified for primary and secondary teachers.
In 2014, graduate output from education courses at NFQ levels 8 and above was almost 6,000 (including private colleges). To what extent will this be sufficient to meet the recruitment requirement will depend on Government policy regarding public expenditure on education.
The expected demographic change will create pressure to increase the number of teachers. The population in relevant age cohorts - children aged 5-12 (primary cycle) and 13-18 (secondary cycle) - is expected to increase over the medium term. For the period 2016- 2021, the CSO estimated growth of 35,000- 46,000 (depending on the scenario) for the primary cycle cohort and 32,000-37,000 for the secondary cycle cohort.(Population and Labour Force Projections 2016-2046, CSO, 2013.)
Even during the recent periods of excess supply of teachers (in May 2015, there were 600 job ready job seekers with third level qualifications), there were issues with sourcing teachers with a high level of expertise in specific fields, such as science and mathematics.
As the economy recovers, the ability to attract persons with science and maths skills into teaching may become more challenging given that such skills are also in demand in other sectors (e.g. financial).