Has COVID-19 permanently changed the way teachers search for jobs abroad?

Woman searching for online teaching opportunities.

It's no secret that COVID-19's long-term impact will reshape education in many different ways, including how teachers seek new job opportunities. 

We were keen to learn more about how the pandemic will influence educators planning to teach overseas in 2021 and what their choices might mean for international schools looking to recruit next year. 

Our team surveyed thousands of educators worldwide, asking for their insights on teaching overseas during the pandemic.

The first thing we learned was that most participants feel optimistic about the future of international education. 

For example, we discovered that 92% of teachers still plan to teach abroad. 

Still, due to the pandemic, location will play a key role in their decision-making process, with 33% indicating that the virus has impacted where they want to go teach.  

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But we wanted to take our research one step further by identifying how teachers are conducting job searches during the pandemic and what this might mean for international schools from now on.

We discovered that teachers embrace digital recruitment in increasing numbers and schools will need to do the same if they want to recruit outstanding candidates. 

Let’s explore this topic in more detail by first outlining some of the more traditional job-search strategies.  

What are some traditional job-search methods?

Pre-internet, seeking out new job opportunities could be hard work. 

Scrutinizing the classifieds section in your local newspaper was a typical starting point. Taking a proactive approach often involved a trip to the nearest recruitment agency. 

For teachers, a well-placed phone call to the Department of Education could also come in handy. 

As is the case today, networking was also important, and in-person job fairs were popular with educators and recruiters long before the rise of the internet.

Nowadays, the online world has revolutionized the whole recruitment process. 

You can use email to send countless copies of your resume, and you can search thousands of jobs on aggregator boards that have pulled vacancies from all four corners of the net.  

But COVID-19 has forced us to rethink how recruitment works, with the need for more efficient digital platforms becoming increasingly important.  

Why is digital recruitment becoming more popular with teachers?

One thing our research revealed is that online job boards are easily outperforming their competitors during the pandemic. 

Indeed, 40% of participants that we surveyed favor job boards, with the closest challenger being recruiters, on 17%. 

But why is this? 

One reason is the virus itself. The number of people working remotely has skyrocketed throughout 2020. Plus, the need to practice social distancing has altered the recruiter-candidate dynamic, making the traditional job interview obsolete. 

Fears over health and safety are also an inevitable concern for teachers. Our survey reveals that 33% of teachers would not, for example, feel comfortable attending an in-person job fair, making it more critical than ever to connect online

But this is not the only reason. 

A knock-on effect of the pandemic is a more challenging job market. More people are looking to retrain and move into careers that are likely to be sustainable in a post-COVID world – including education

This increase in competition means niche job boards are becoming a more useful resource.  

Unlike more generalist job boards (aggregators), niche boards are less likely to be oversubscribed, tend to focus exclusively on industry-specific vacancies and will often enable applicants and recruiters to connect directly. 

All of this is crucial for tech-savvy teachers targeting overseas jobs but want to use immersive digital platforms to provide additional support and training while still functioning as both a job-site and a home for their essential documents.  

And it’s not just teachers who can benefit from digital recruitment; schools can attract the best candidates by developing their online presence too.

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Why schools also need to invest in online recruitment strategies.

How you market yourself online is becoming increasingly important in the digital age, now more than ever. 

Younger teachers, especially, understand how important it is to stand out from the competition.  

They’re far more likely to prioritize developing a robust online presence that reflects their core values and their ethics as well as their professional achievements.   

It makes sense then that teachers are attracted to schools that are prepared to meet them halfway. 

Investing in your school’s brand, maintaining a robust online presence and developing a clear and consistent mission statement connects with applicants.

But achieving all this at an organizational level that cuts across multiple departments and might also include various stakeholders can be challenging for schools. 

Indeed, one of the key takeaways from our annual report on trends in international education revealed that only 53% of international schools track how successful their recruitment methods are, which is problematic when more than 90% of teachers are searching for jobs online. 

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Over the past two decades, we’ve helped thousands of schools solve their recruitment problems by working with them to revamp and then perfect their recruitment strategy. 

Do you know what really matters to your teaching candidates?

Technology is revolutionizing recruitment.

The pandemic won’t last forever and to an extent, some semblance of normality will return next year as we continue to find new ways of moving forward.  

But the culture around how we search for jobs and develop professional relationships have changed because our response to the virus has revealed just how valuable digital platforms are. 

Digital recruitment is conducive to social distancing when teachers are justifiably concerned about health and safety. It also allows for greater efficiency in a more competitive job market driven by technology and can easily connect outstanding teachers with the right schools. 

Learn more about how we can help your school optimize your recruitment strategy so that you can begin hiring amazing teachers today.