In truth, any graduate profession looking to recruit new entrants right now (other than those with vast salaries) is going to struggle. Despite the best efforts of Brexiteers to lead us over an economic cliff-edge, employment rates in this country are at record levels.
Right now, there are a lot of options out there for bright young things.
It is in this challenging market place that teaching and its recruiting sergeants are competing and in large part failing to secure the services of enough new entrants to fill the spaces of those who are retiring or simply giving up early.
And as anyone who has witnessed the graduate recruitment circus will know (merchant banks and FTSE100 companies competing for top talent), this is effectively a marketing battle.
Having had a hiatus of advertising spend during the early stages of Era of Austerity and Michael Gove’s regime in the Department for Education, there has been an increasing budget in the last year or two, as is witnessed on many an evening on ITV.
Glossy adverts have long had a big problem: however well produced, they look shiny and just feel too artificial.
Now they have another massive hurdle to clear, and it comes in the form of the BBC’s fly-on-the-wall documentary School.
This is very much the diametric opposite of a glitzy advert for recruiting students. Gritty, depressing and all-too-real, it is amazing telly, but it is also terrible promotion for both teaching and the state of schools. Many of the teachers who feature are clearly wonderful, but how many shiny-eyed grads are going follow them into the classroom after watching their trials and tribulations?
Everyone knows at least one teacher. They might be a mum, a dad, a best friend or a next-door neighbour. And the horror stories of cuts and workload these people will tell them from the chalkface will only be reinforced by the BBC’s documentary.
PR or advertising simply isn’t going to cut it in this environment. I can’t help but think that there is only one thing that the DfE can do that would have an impact at the speed that schools and heads need teachers (i.e., now): a whacking great pay rise.
More’s the pity that although education secretary Damian Hinds kind of gets it, the Treasury coughing up is about as likely as Goldman Sachs giving its staff a whacking great pay cut.
Ed Dorrell is head of content at the Tes