The world of international teacher recruitment has certainly faced some challenges over the last 12-18 months. The Covid-19 pandemic has left, and in many cases is still leaving an impact on the way that schools have to approach their teacher recruitment. 

The employment landscape has drastically changed. The Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) report uncovers what employees want in 2021, based on feedback from over 9,000 workers globally. 

Anyone that works in a school across the globe will be more than familiar with the recent challenges to teacher recruitment and this has certainly been more difficult than anticipated in 2021 where the hope was that travel restrictions would ease quickly.  With regular government changes to lockdowns, country entry requirements, visa centre closures, travellers from certain countries being put on ‘barred lists’, and also quarantines (which in some cases are up to 4 weeks!). It has certainly been a tough year for teachers, schools and recruiters alike.

Logistical challenges were always going to be expected within this pandemic. Schools are regularly asking the question of themselves and recruiters such as ‘how will we recruit our teachers during these challenging times’ and ‘how will we get them to our country and then on to our school?’  Many schools are now looking at a blended online and face to face learning approach with some schools even setting up site for the next academic year in alternative locations that teachers can actually reach, and in addition will look to offer an online curriculum programme to their pupils with a view to returning to their school's country and ‘normal’ learning as soon as it is physically possible.

Teacher reflections of schools and their behaviours towards honouring contracts have also been the subject of much online discussion in the teacher forums and other social media platforms. This will potentially have a lasting impact on a school's reputation in the market.
80% of workforce leaders agree that a strong employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire a great workforce. As people work for cultures, not companies, their perception of an employer is of paramount importance. Both recruiters and candidates cite company culture as one of the most important determinants in employer choice. Also, if your culture is transparent: candidates actively research the culture of companies to understand if they’ll fit. If candidates see positive employee and candidate experiences on review sites, they feel more confident submitting their resume and making a career move.

50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation - even with a pay increase.   
Will there be a negative impact on those international schools groups that cancelled contracts at relatively short notice citing 'pandemic' as the reason? Will there be long lasting reputational damage to these groups and will this impact their future recruitment? How will they overcome this if simply paying a higher salary doesn't fix the problem?

Candidates are looking to work for employers who have clear communication and are visible. They want to have clear agreements in place and to be emotionally supported. Job security is also absolutely vital to ensuring the success and longevity in role.  The way that employers have supported their staff and handled the pandemic has a positive effect on loyalty among employees. 

Some schools in the market are already getting ahead with their branding for 2022/23 and looking to build on relationships with their recruiters to generate a positive impact and attract the best talent in the market. A good recruiter will always be able to give an insight into the perception of a brand in the market and will work with a school or schools group to support them in certain elements of developing their brand internationally including joint branded adverts and featured partnerships on recruiter websites.

Once countries ease entry procedures, there will likely be an influx of teacher applications for 2022/23 and the recruitment market will change again dramatically. All indications suggest a large exodus of teachers especially from more restricted locations like China next year (because some international teachers have not been able to get home for a long time due to border restrictions) suggesting demand will increase significantly for 2022 and very much exceed supply.  Therefore its all the more important for schools to recruit early and initiate a number of different recruitment methods to ensure better success.

No matter the challenge and the impact of covid-19, international teaching is still a great opportunity for teachers who want to ‘teach the world, and live the dream’.