Pay related performance

by reestheskin on 24/09/2020

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The following is from the Economist and is about schoolteachers.

A bigger question is how many of the new trainees will stay in teaching. Research in America shows that people who enter the profession during recessions tend to make better teachers than those who do not, perhaps because high-skilled workers have fewer other options during a downturn. But they are also a bit more likely to give up. England already has a problem retaining new teachers. About a fifth leave the job within two years of qualifying. About a third go within five.

I don’t have any systematic data on this topic, but the story appears familiar — if different in degree — across other public sector1 jobs such as nursing, higher education and possibly medicine. I am not reassured by the account below, rather, I think we are seeing structural changes that will continue to play out. The change in professional status of teaching and the resulting decline in morale always seemed to me to be the model for what might happen to medicine.

Sam Sims at the UCL Institute of Education says “muscular” policies that were put in place before the pandemic provide reason for optimism. Last year the government said that starting salaries would rise to £30,000 ($39,000) by 2022, a 23% increase. It is offering annual bonuses to teachers of subjects with the biggest shortages. And it is promising more mentoring and training for people who are new to the job. The idea is that new teachers will eventually consider themselves better-paid and better-supported than peers in many other professions. That might make Mr Seadon’s cohort a bit more likely to hang around.

  1. Yes, higher education can be considered a special case of ‘public sector’ to the extent that much of its funding is underwritten by the state and decision making is heavily determined by political factors.