Teacher Hiring Surge Doesn’t Meet Demand

Teacher Hiring Surge Doesn’t Meet Demand

As of last fall, K-12 teachers in the U.S. earned an average of $68,000 annually. That’s 8% less than the average wage for all workers in the country, according to an ADP analysis, as reported in USA Today.

That gap is widening. In 2018, teachers made just 3% less than the average worker. The gap continues to widen even though teachers often have higher levels of education than other workers. That makes “the shrinking pay premium even more unsettling,” researchers said. 

That teachers are underpaid is an old story.

But the story has gotten worse. After the mass unemployment created by the pandemic, wages in various sectors, such as hospitality and tech, soared as companies sought to recruit staff to fill vacancies. With a few exceptions, that didn’t happen in K-12 education.

With school salaries struggling to be competitive, teachers are less inclined to stay on the job. They’re pursuing other careers, in education and other industries. This trend is especially evident among STEM educators, specializing in science, technology, engineering and math, and those who teach foreign languages, whose skill sets can lead to more lucrative professions.

As older teachers retire, they’re vacating positions that early-career or prospective educators are not filling as swiftly. While teacher employment trends show a consistent drop-off each June among aging teachers, these days the drop-off is happening among younger teachers, too.

There are exceptions, in Washington DC the high local demand for private education stems from wealthy and international families.

But such phenomena remain a relative anomaly. In education, aggressive hiring and pay hasn’t keep up with what other companies have been doing, according to the research.

USA Today

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