Recruiting during a pandemic: FOBISIA Webinar with Andrew Wigford.

Published on 30th October, 2020 by Gemma McSweeney. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

Getting the right staff for an international school is a constant challenge, as is finding the right job if you are a teacher. Doing this during a global pandemic creates its own set of issues that we have not had to face before.

Our company Director, Andrew Wigford, recently presented a webinar for FOBISIA which was entitled, ‘Recruitment during a pandemic’. The webinar explored a number of key issues that had been highlighted by very recent research conducted by TIC on teachers looking for jobs right now, while also providing insights from Headteachers of International Schools who were currently recruiting.

This blog post will provide a snapshot of the webinar and hopefully give you an insight into the ‘new normal’ of International Recruitment. If this has wetted your appetite for more on this subject or you have questions please contact Leisha to book your place for a live ZOOM repeat of the webinar which will take place on Wednesday 12th November at 9 am UK time (5pm Singapore) and a chance to join in the FAQ session.

Where are we now?

With many countries potentially experiencing a second wave of the pandemic many fear this could be worse than the first. This will undoubtedly have a huge effect on global economies, which has a knock-on effect on international schools. Further job losses could mean that international school parents are potentially not able to pay school fees, resulting in school closures and teacher job losses. Many schools may have put recruitment on hold, especially as their host countries tighten up on work visas and travel restrictions are still in place.

TIC Recruitment decided to undertake some research to find out exactly what was going on. We sent out a survey to our database of both senior leaders and teachers to help answer these questions.

The Teachers Survey

We received responses from 250 teachers from the UK or currently teaching overseas.

The headline results found:

• There are significant numbers of teachers who are not applying/ deferring their decision to teach overseas as a direct result of the pandemic – (33%).
• There are some teachers who have lost their jobs in international schools, but not as many as we thought – (12%).
• The pandemic is affecting where teachers are choosing to apply – (25%).

Senior Leaders Survey

Over 50 Senior leaders responded to our survey:

Are you actively looking to recruit new staff?

Why not?
• Some simply have a full complement of staff.
• But 35% say they had to reduce staff because of the pandemic; student numbers decreasing, not opening new classes, cannot get staff into the country.

Has there been a reduction in applications? – (15% Yes)

• “We have been hampered because we can only accept applications from teachers in this country”
• “We think teachers are waiting to see what happens”
• “We are getting more applications from teachers wishing to work in Europe”

How have you changed your recruitment practices?

  • Almost all out recruitment happens virtually (65%)
  • No change; still managed face to face interviews (15%)
  • “Takes much more time and has become more complex due to being online”
  • “Multiple zoom interviews, involving more of the school team”
  • "We ask teachers to do demo lesson or provide videos of their work with children”

Other important factors raised by the senior leaders:

  • They said they were having to recruit people already in the country due to difficulties getting work visas
  • Some Heads said that they had to reduce teacher salaries
  • Visa process becoming much harder and longer
  • New teachers having to have an online induction and even teaching online.

So, what does this mean for the future?

  • A longer recruitment ‘season’?
  • Less mobility and less turnover?
  • Schools will have to work harder to retain staff?
  • More virtual recruitment and fairs?
  • More vigorous virtual recruitment?
  • More blended learning; candidates with a wider range of skills?

Despite these uncertain times, TIC Recruitment are still recruiting and supporting many international teachers.

If you would like to take part in a repeat of this webinar email Leisha Jones at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

If you are looking to teach overseas this year, register with TIC Recruitment here for free. It’s quick and easy and gives you access to many international school jobs in reputable, accredited international schools, some that are not advertised anywhere else.

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Gemma McSweeney

Gemma is our Associate Director, having joined TIC in 2009. With over 15 years experience of recruitment and selection methods, she specialises in matching teachers and leaders with our international school partners. She has attended many international education conferences and has visited a number of international schools over the years. She uses this experience to best advise our teachers, leaders and schools and manage our team and UK operations.