Back to School? Data Reveal Hiring Intentions for the Education Sector

For a majority of students across the country, it’s back-to-school time! Whether students are learning in-house or at home, new data reveal one critical fact: We’re facing a teacher shortage in the wake of COVID-19.


Using information gathered from its own platform, recruiting software provider iCIMS has revealed the hiring trends it is seeing throughout the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the “2020 iNSIGHTS August Snapshot,” iCIMS reports that overall from April to July, job-opening activity has increased 70%. However, for some industries and sectors, hiring remains down compared with 2019.

Education Hiring Falls Flat

iCIMS reports that hiring activity within the education sector has picked up over the past several weeks, but the number of hires made within that time period is still notably lower than that of the same time frame in 2019.

“This behavior suggests that while many educational institutions are actively increasing staff, they may be doing so conservatively in response to concerns around the pandemic,” says iCIMS. It adds that like many industries right now, the education sector may be acting conservatively because it is being asked to do more with less.

One thing is clear, however: There is no lack of qualified talent. According to poll data for the week of August 9 through August 15, 2020, there was a spike in education job searches. Monster saw a spike in education job searches and postings as the country tried to figure out back to school. Searches for “education” and “teacher” have been increasing since April, with spikes in mid-June and again the first few weeks of August.

Searches for tutors also saw an uptick throughout July as parents grappled with the prospect of another semester of e-learning. Overall, education job searches were higher the past 3 weeks than the previous 3 weeks, with increases in teaching assistants and preschool teachers driving much of the momentum.

Additionally, instructional designers and technologists are seeing sustained searches throughout the month of August.

Flexibility Attracts Nationwide Talent

Another trend both Monster and iCIMS are seeing is the rise in flexible working arrangements, brought on by the pandemic.

When examining year-over-year data, iCIMS uncovered a 50% increase in the proportion of out-of-state job applicants. “It is evident that with geographic location no longer serving as a leading job qualification for many employers, organizations are now receiving an influx of job applications from new talent pools,” says iCIMS. And Monster’s data reveal the same trends.

According to Monster polling data from July 24, 2020, employees are desperate for flexibility, whether they’re employed or not. When asked if they had taken on more work responsibilities amid COVID-19, nearly two-thirds of respondents (60%) shared they do not currently have a job.

The 23% who are employed and are taking on additional responsibilities attribute it primarily to staffing decreases within their company. Surprisingly, of those who are currently employed, the majority (85%) are still considering searching for a new job amid COVID-19, stemming from their desire to have flexibility in their work schedule (47%) and a pay increase (44%).

Interestingly, of those who are unemployed, an overwhelming majority (89%) are willing to consider a job outside of their current industry, which makes sense when you think about the jobs predominately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Once the pandemic passes, it remains to be seen what will be left of these industries, so jobseekers are wise to look for work elsewhere.

Flexibility, Back to School, and Employer Support

As we can see from the data above, employees and jobseekers alike crave flexibility from their employers, but are these employers offering the support their workers need?

Monster polling data from August 14, 2020, reveals that unfortunately, 27% of working parents “disagree” when asked if their company was supporting them during back to school. Additionally, 75% of parents see work schedule flexibility as a way their company could be better supporting them, whether that means working from home versus in the office, shifting work hours, etc.

Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds (64%) of parents feel stress and anxiety about sending their child back to school amid COVID-19. Of that majority, 76% agree that the main reason they feel this way is due to their child having a higher chance of being exposed to the virus in a school environment.

Not only are parents concerned for their children’s health and safety, but they’re also concerned about their own health and safety. Offering workers the ability to have a flexible schedule, or remote working arrangements, allows employees to feel safe and valued by their employers.

And according to iCIMS data from July, the tech company speculates that remote work may be here to stay. “In July, the proportion of out-of-state job applicants rose to over 28%, suggesting that remote work may be here to stay for employers and employees.” But the new question becomes: Will this trend last post-COVID?

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