Long hours drive graduates away

4th November 2005 at 00:00
Job satisfaction is high - but then it needs to be in a profession where so many work 46-hour weeks. Tariq Tahir reports.

Graduates who go into teaching have far higher job satisfaction than than those in other professions - but they are still being forced out by the heavy workload, a report has found.

More than nine out of 10 graduate teachers find their job interesting and challenging, compared to 77 per cent of graduates in other jobs. And only 7 per cent said they would chose another job.

But the study, and figures released by the Department for Education and Skills, reveal that there is still a serious problem of retaining teachers.

Workload and long hours were the most frequently-cited reasons for teachers quitting. Just over half of graduate teachers said they worked more than 46 hours a week, compared to about 16 per cent of graduates in other jobs.

Other downsides of the job cited by the teachers interviewed in the study were bureaucracy, a lack of work-life balance, pupil behaviour and not enough support in their early career.

But new teachers felt that they had better promotion prospects. Two-thirds said there were opportunities to reach managerial level, compared to just half of graduates who went into other professions.

Researchers Kate Purcell and Nick Wilton, from Bristol business school and Peter Elias, from Warwick university's institute for employment research, looked at the graduate class of 1999 and found that those entering teaching were more likely to be female and to have gone to a state secondary.

Their report concludes much has been done to encourage graduates to enter teaching but concern remains about levels of recruitment and wastage. The study comes as figures released to Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat's education spokesman, show that nearly a third of teachers who quit the profession do so after less than five years.

In total 14,270 teachers left the profession during 200304, 4,180 of who had been working for five years or under.

Mr Davey said: "I would not criticise the Government's efforts to recruit teachers but the main problem remains retention. If you keep recruiting teachers and then losing them not only is it expensive but it creates instability."

* newsdesk@tes.co.uk

Education as a Graduate Career: Entry and Exit from Teaching as a Profession available at www.dfes.gov.ukresearch

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