‘Application Apathy’ prevents schools from filling vacancies

Applying for new teaching jobs has become so complicated that two thirds of teachers say they cannot bring themselves to fill out an application form.

Teachers will be discouraged from applying for jobs. Photo credit: Fotolia 
Research by Randstad Education, one of the UK’s top three recruitment agencies, shows that teachers dislike schools’ lengthy job application packs so much that 34 per cent of jobseekers will only fill out a single application.
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Nine out of 10 teachers surveyed by Randstad want a simple, universal application process that they can use to apply for jobs at every school in the UK.
With growing shortages of teachers in almost every academic subject, schools need to make their recruitment process simpler and easier, according to Randstad’s strategic director Stewart McCoy.
“The number of vacancies in schools across the country results in more than 63,000 online job adverts every year,” McCoy said. 
“Application apathy is gripping the profession and is adding to the already drastic impact of teacher shortages on schools.”
Randstad surveyed 875 teachers in July to discover how they go about searching for jobs. The number one frustration listed in Randstad Education’s report: The Invisible Barrier was job application packs.
Teachers reported that they did not have enough time to tackle the diverse range of job application packs that schools use to decide which teachers to invite for an interview.
With each school usually asking a different set of questions on each application form, they take so long that 34 per cent of teachers would fill out one, 10 per cent would fill out two, and just 9 per cent would complete three forms to find a job.
A total of 51 per cent of respondents said they would go to the local authority’s website to look for vacancies, while 45 per cent preferred to use a recruitment agency instead.
Teachers were almost united in their call for schools to standardise their application procedures. A universal application form could include space for all relevant experience and CPD achievements, making it simpler to use the same form for different applications. 
The issue is all the more pressing for schools because they face a shortage of qualified teachers. 
The government has failed to fill the number of teacher trainees required for each of the last four years, and the number of vacancies has doubled since 2011. Last year secondary schools spent £56m advertising vacancies. The recruitment difficulties mean that schools need to work harder and smarter to find ways to attract candidates
In March, Randstad Education published research showing that 30 per cent of teachers were considering leaving the sector in the next 12 months.
“At a time when many teachers are considering leaving the sector, having others languishing in roles and schools they would rather not be because they are disincentivised from applying for new roles cannot be good for either school morale or pupils’ education,” he added. 
“With a third of teachers tending to apply for just the one role, for schools themselves it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd by clearly defining their vision, demonstrating their leadership and promoting their results. 
“Failure to promote themselves could mean schools face a teacher drought and miss out on the dynamism and impetus that comes with new staff.”

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