School districts across the country are facing a talent gap within positions that range from special education teachers to bus drivers. Now, they are struggling to find qualified and motivated candidates to fill these positions and provide a valuable educational experience for their students. For example, compensation and benefits within the education sector are lower compared to other industries that are currently hiring. As people are searching for new jobs they are flocking towards the higher paying positions that school districts don’t have the funds to compete with. Qualified candidates for a variety of education roles and talent retention within school districts are also lacking. As school districts struggle to fill the gaps in their faculty they are finding new ways to attract new talent, fill the gaps, and retain their current faculty.
Investing in New Talent
As recent graduates and job seekers look for their next role, they may be deterred from jobs within school districts due to the specific skills and certifications associated with the positions. School districts need to keep in mind that there are candidates that may be very motivated to start their career in education but are lacking some of the necessary certifications. Implementing training and certification programs allows hiring teams to broaden their applicant pool and invest in new, promising talent. While these certifications are necessary for new hires to be able to work with students, sometimes they aren’t accessible. Developing a system for building skills and earning certifications not only fills the gap but also allows staff members to grow within the district.
School districts that are truly struggling to fill roles within certain departments are starting to outsource services from more established organizations. For example, according to WOSU, Columbus City Schools have recently experienced a shortage in bus drivers like many other school districts. School officials have proposed using COTA buses, Columbus’s public transportation system, to fill the gaps of school bus drivers this coming Fall. While the plan isn’t official yet, it serves as an example of what may happen in the future with many other districts. School district departments such as transportation require hours of certifications and lower compensation compared to other similar driving roles. Until they are able to compete with other industries, outsourcing may be the best option to fill widespread department gaps.
Improving Faculty Retention
Burnout has recently been a trend among mostly teachers due to covid, remote learning, a teacher shortage, and more. This has led to educators leaving their school district or switching their careers as a whole in large numbers. A high turnover of teachers within a district’s faculty also leads to a negative shift in culture, which is essential for a strong faculty. School districts should focus on providing resources for teachers who are experiencing burnout to ease their stress and help them get back on the right track. Also maintaining a supportive and positive culture within the district will likely lead to a stronger faculty that is less likely to leave.
All industries are currently experiencing a talent gap and education especially is experiencing the tough impacts associated with this. Until funding is increased within school districts, other steps can be taken in the meantime to draw new talent in the system and maintain current staff. Outsourcing department needs can also ease the pressure of keeping up with high demand until more roles can be filled. While the education talent gap can’t be filled overnight, taking small steps to create a supportive work environment where employees can grow is a great first step.