The Education sector expanded by just 1% between 2011 and 2016, indicating a high level of stability in the sector. Secondary teachers saw mild negative growth of 0.4%. Educational support assistant roles, a category which includes classroom assistants, educational support assistants and learning support assistants, grew by 5.6%.
Between 2015 and 2016 it appears these trends are accelerating, secondary teachers declined by 8.3% while 3000 additional educational support assistant roles were created, representing a growth of 22.4%.
Figure 1: Data from National Skills Bulletin, 2017. SOLAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit.
Demand for education related skills can be linked to the number of school age people in the population. As a result primary school enrolments will hit a high in 2018 and second level in 2025, before tapering off. Currently replacement of retired staff is the primary reason for the recruitment of teachers. There are no pressing shortages, but at second and third level there are reports of moderate difficulty sourcing teachers with expertise in science and mathematics.
Following from the National Skills Bulletin, 2017.
Key points for selected education occupations
- In 2016, there were approximately 122,000 persons employed in the selected education occupations, representing 6% of national employment
- Almost four fifths of overall employment was at professional level (mostly in primary/nursery and secondary school teaching)
- Between 2011 and 2016, overall employment expanded very modestly (1% on average annually) with changes in employment varying by occupation; the highest growth was observed for educational support assistants (5.6%) while negative growth was recorded for secondary teachers as well as teaching and other educational professionals (0.4% and 0.3% respectively)
- Over the same five-year period, there were a net 6,200 additional jobs created; the largest employment increases were observed for educational support assistants
- Between 2015 and 2016, overall employment expanded by 2%, with a net 2,400 additional jobs; the largest increase was observed for educational support assistants (22.4% or 3,000 jobs), however a decline occurred for those employed as secondary teachers (8.3% or 2,500 less jobs)
- At least one quarter of employed higher and further education teaching professionals were aged 55 or older ─ slightly above the national average
- Almost 90% of persons employed in professional occupations were third level graduates; the share was 49% for educational support assistants and 71% for associate professionals (i.e. vocational and industrial trainers/instructors) ▪ Females accounted for the highest share in all educational occupations, excluding higher and further education teaching professionals as well as vocational and industrial trainers/instructors (47% and 46% female respectively)
- Approximately one third of educational support assistants and teaching and other educational professionals worked parttime.
The recent growth in the number of primary school enrolments are expected to peak in 2018 and to fall thereafter due to declining number of births, while enrolments at second level are expected to continue to increase through to 2025. Growth in the number of teachers employed has been modest, with replacement demand being the main driver of the recruitment of teachers. In 2016, almost 3,500 transitions to economic inactivity (i.e. retirement, home duty etc.) were identified for primary and secondary teachers.
No overall shortages have been identified for teachers, with 480 relevant job ready job seekers with third level qualifications in April 2017. In 2015, graduate output from education courses at NFQ levels 8 and above was 4,700 (including private colleges). However, issues continue to exist in relation to sourcing teachers (in both second and third level) with a high level of expertise in specific fields, such as science and mathematics. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has recently added experienced academics who hold a qualification equivalent to NFQ Level 10 to their employment permits highly skilled list.