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Teacher Bank Balances: Will lower pay lead to higher turnover?

4 January 2023

👋 It’s 2023! How did we get this far into the future? (2023 is definitely a futuristic number, right?)

Over here at Teacher Tapp a few things of note.

First, it’s the £3,000 golden ticket prize draw 😮 One lucky Tapper will WIN THREE THOUSAND POUNDS when the draw takes place on Jan 15th.

If you’re based in an eligible school, and answered enough questions, you’ll have codes in your ‘rewards’ section of the app. (Get into them via vouchers on the homepage). Don’t forget to check your codes on the 15th!

Also, thanks to the many of you who revealed what you’d like to see us start and stop doing. We read every one of them. (There were over 2,000!).

BIG THEMES are below. We’re working on them!

  • Improve how we explain results – eg, make videos, do podcasts, etc
  • Find ways to connect you with Tappers
  • More rewards!

Right to the results…

How the Cost of Living is also the Cost of Turnover

You, like most people, are feeling the hit of inflation. Food, mortgages, everything is more expensive right now. Hence, many more of you are feeling worse about your financial positions than in previous years.

Back in 2020, only 6% of you felt your finances were in a much worse position at the end of the year. Now, it’s 17%. In part, this is because the pandemic years were a little cheaper. But the world is also more expensive now.

Inflation seems to be hitting those with children and those who are older more heavily – at least in terms of their bank balances.

Half of teachers (50%) in their 40s and 50s said they’re financially worse off than than a year ago.

For those in their 20s the figure was only 32%. It could be because younger teachers, who usually make less money, were already struggling in 2021. Pay at the bottom end of the scale also had the highest boosts in recent years.

Teachers with children at home were almost twice as likely to be in a much worse financial position than those without. This may be due to food, housing and increased energy costs.

But – as the talk radio hosts often like to ask when we’re invited on to talk about these figures: “So what? Isn’t everyone facing a financial squeeze?”

Yes, many people are. But we’re Teacher Tapp, not Everyone Tapp, and our big concern is that if the financial squeeze starts make teaching so uneconomical that lose experienced teachers and can’t recruit new ones, then pupils will end up with a declining standard of education. Furthermore, those who are still in school will struggle to keep up with all the demands which only adds to ongoing levels of sickness – and a downward spiral of absence and retention.

So, will this mean teachers are looking for new jobs?

Given the financial situation, it was worrying to discover that teachers who said they were in a financially worse situation were also more likely to say they would seriously consider leaving the workforce in the next three years. (see below)

The government often relies on the argument that there aren’t jobs with equivalent pay in many areas around the country. And they used to be right. But that’s starting to change as remote jobs are becoming more viable.

Furthermore, the retail sector is fighting back. One large supermarket operator is starting its managers on salaries of £55k. It’ll be a tiring job, and the school holidays aren’t part of the deal, but there will be teachers looking at their salaries and pondering if the exchange isn’t a better one, given they work many weekends and holidays anyway.

75% of you also said you were thinking of leaving teaching in the next 3 years – which sounds like some kind of horror front page headline. BUT, 43% of you said it only passes through your mind rather than being serious. That’s something newspapers often conveniently forget!

We’ve asked this question every Twixtmas since 2019 and the overall numbers aren’t yet moving dramatically. However, more of you now want to move to an entirely new occupation than ever before (10% now, 6% in 2019). That’s quite the increase. Going overseas or to the private sector remains a less attractive option than in 2019.

(We looked to see if there were big differences for job roles, but overall, the numbers are very similar – with heads only more likely to be looking at retirement than other groups).

A further silver lining: Every Boxing Day we ask if people have spent time looking for new jobs – and the numbers this year are about the same as ever.

It’s a good longitudinal data point because it’s the exact same time of year and so we should see if there are shifts. However it’s not a common time of year for changing jobs so the number is always low. So while there’s no shift right now – we can’t count out that there won’t be one later. (For more on teacher recruitment we write an annual labour market analysis, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the coming months).

What does this mean for morale?

Just because teachers aren’t looking for jobs amid a massive global recession, it doesn’t mean everyone is happy.

In comparison to recent years, things are feeling a tad brighter (woo!) In the despairing track-and-trace days of 2020, a whopping 26% of you felt your morale was much lower than previously – the highest on record. This year, that figure is only 19%.

Unfortunately, you aren’t feeling better yet either. Only 24% of teachers said their morale was much higher this year. In the pre-pandemic years those figures were fifty per cent higher.

When thinking only about the year 2022 – and not comparing it to any other – you were a bit more positive. Only 8% of teachers had a truly abysmal year throughout 2022, exactly the same as in 2018.

And, on the bright side, 5% of you had an amazingly brilliant year 🥳

Again we found that finances played into this. Those who reported being in a much worse financial position in December were more likely to say that they had had an abysmal year (13%) compared to those who were financially better off (4%). All of which adds to the idea that financial worries correlate with how people feel about their work.

Finally, we wondered: are there some teachers who ALWAYS have an abysmal or brilliant year?

4000 of you answered both last year and this year and… things change!

Very few of you who had a brilliant year last time had another one (sorry), but also around 2/3rds of you who had an abysmal year in 2021 didn’t repeat it again. So if you’ve just had a terrible one… there’s still hope!🤞

Who had the most relaxing Christmas?

Finally, before we close the chapter on Christmas: which teachers had the most chilled time?

If you want to win at Christmas it appears that the trick is be a man and don’t have children living at home! (About 18% more of them found Christmas relaxing compared to women with children)

What about all those religion questions?

Over the Christmas holidays we asked a bunch of questions on religion. The ONS recently released a bunch of Census data showing how religion had changed over time in England. We’ve been tracking religion here at TT for a while so decided to go and revisit if anything has changed for you too. The results are still coming and we are crunching it all so look out for another blog on this soon.

And finally…

Over Christmas, we did our most-read tips of this entire year! But we haven’t given you a list of those blogs we featured just before Christmas, the most read one of which was: Moving from differentiation to adaptive teaching

Other posts were: