How to Recruit Teachers During a Shortage Crisis

Educators are departing the profession at an alarming rate, worsening the education crisis. In this blog, Melanie Maul-Prior, an expert education HR consultant at Juniper, delves into creative recruitment strategies aimed at attracting and retaining educators – a challenging endeavor in today's climate.


According to the education workforce survey  (DfE), teachers in England are leaving the profession in record numbers. The report found that 40,000 teachers resigned from state schools last year, equating to almost 9% of the teaching workforce, while a further 4000 entered retirement. This represents the largest number of teaching professionals leaving their positions since the DfE started releasing data in 2011, signalling a troubling trend for the education sector. 

The survey also found that unfilled teaching vacancies were also at a record high, with more than 2,300 empty roles compared with 530 a decade earlier. A further 3,300 posts were filled by supply teachers, which was 1,000 more than the number of posts filled in the year before.  

In the face of a teacher shortage crisis, something needs to be done to bring more teachers back into the profession or attract new talent. Schools need to find new and creative ways to recruit staff where traditional recruitment methods are starting to fall short.  

This blog explores innovative recruitment strategies written by Melanie Maul-Prior, one of Juniper’s expert education HR consultants, to attract and retain educators, which, in the current climate, may not always be an easy task.  

Reasons behind the teacher shortage 

Examining the root causes, including an ageing workforce and inadequate support for newly qualified teachers, reveals the severity of the crisis.  

The report highlights declining numbers in initial teacher training, with subject areas like Business Studies and Physics significantly below target, whereas teaching unions blamed poor working conditions for the significant loss. Numerous factors contribute to the teacher shortage in the UK, and here are a few more potential reasons, in addition to those just mentioned, behind the ongoing crisis: 

  • Workload pressures: The DfE’s report highlights teachers’ substantial stress and burnout due to overwhelming workload demands. 
  • Limited incentives: The lack of compelling incentives, such as competitive salaries and opportunities for career advancement, discourages entry and retention in the teaching profession. 
  • Work-life balance concerns: Teachers often grapple with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, as excessive workload and administrative tasks can encroach on family time.  
  • Too much red tape: Too much bureaucracy in education adds to the teacher shortage, discouraging potential educators with complicated administrative processes. 

Strategic approaches for successful recruitment  

In response to the teacher shortage, developing effective strategies to recruit and retain educators is vital. Let’s explore practical recruitment methods for building a resilient and committed teaching team. 

Refining recruitment efforts

Different ways to attract teachers 

Job fairs: Actively participating in job fairs provides direct access to a pool of potential educators. Schools can engage with candidates, showcase opportunities, and make direct connections. 

University partnerships: Collaborating with local universities and colleges establishes a pipeline for fresh graduates, sparking interest in teaching careers. This can involve internship programs, career guidance sessions, and direct recruitment efforts. 

Referral schemes: Encouraging current staff or educators to refer qualified candidates can tap into existing networks, using word-of-mouth recommendations to attract new talent. 

Optimise recruitment platforms

The school website: Ensuring that recruitment platforms, including school websites, are user-friendly and informative is crucial. This involves clearly presenting job openings, showcasing the school's values, and providing insights into the positive aspects of teaching within the organisation. 

Education-specific job boards: Using education-specific job boards, such as Schools Week Jobs, serves as an effective strategy for recruiting teachers, providing a targeted platform where schools can reach a pool of qualified candidates passionate about advancing or starting their careers in the field of education.  

Use social media  

Exploiting the reach of social media platforms allows schools to broadcast job opportunities widely. This includes creating engaging content, utilising targeted advertising, and actively participating in education-related groups or forums to enhance visibility. 

Introduce incentive programmes  

Introducing attractive incentive programs, such as signing bonuses or relocation assistance, adds a competitive edge to recruitment efforts. These programs serve as an extra draw for potential candidates, making the school more appealing than others that are also recruiting. 

Seek professional help  

Elevate your recruitment strategy by seeking professional help. Collaborating with experienced education recruitment consultants to bring expertise, a broader talent pool, and streamlined processes, enhancing the effectiveness of your hiring efforts. 

Create a lasting impression during the recruitment process

Develop a strong recruitment strategy  

Ensuring a strong recruitment strategy is crucial for attracting and securing high-quality educators for your institution. By incorporating a meticulously crafted plan or creating a fool-proof recruitment checklistyou establish a systematic and efficient hiring process, simplifying the identification and engagement of qualified candidates. 

Create compelling job descriptions  

Produce clear, engaging job descriptions that reflect the positive aspects of teaching in your school to attract qualified candidates. Highlighting the unique opportunities, school culture, and commitment to professional development will make your openings more appealing. 

Deliver an impactful application and interview experience 

Ensuring a seamless and positive application and interview process is critical. A user-friendly application system, clear communication about timelines, and a well-organised interview experience contribute to a positive impression, making candidates more likely to pursue opportunities with your school. 

Offer remuneration and retention benefits 

Competitive remuneration packages and attractive retention benefits play a crucial role in attracting and retaining top-tier educators. Salary considerations, signing bonuses, and additional perks can set your institution apart and motivate teachers to commit to long-term positions. 

Effortless onboarding and integration 

A streamlined onboarding and staff induction process that welcomes new hires efficiently and warmly is essential. Providing the necessary resources, support, and a structured orientation program ensures that teachers feel valued and confident in their new roles, promoting a positive start to their journey with your school. 

Ongoing training and support 

Continuous professional development, mentorship programs, and a supportive work environment contribute to teacher satisfaction and retention. Offering opportunities for growth, both in terms of skills and career advancement, reinforces your commitment to investing in your educators' long-term success and well-being. 


In conclusion, developing a robust recruitment strategy is not just important; it's the key to overcoming the challenges of the ongoing teaching shortage and securing a talented and dedicated teaching staff. By adopting a systematic approach, schools and trusts can streamline the hiring process, identify top-tier candidates, and contribute to addressing the broader issue of teacher shortages. 

Proven recruitment success in schools 

Juniper's team of expert HR consultants has successfully supported schools in recruiting the educators and leaders essential for securing their success.  

Learn about how we successfully recruited a Headteacher for one school, or book a free consultation with our team. Together, we can help you attract and retain the right people for your school.