UK faces teacher shortage in 2050, study says

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The UK will have a shortfall of almost 130,000 teachers by 2050, according to new projections, with an ageing workforce, skills shortages and restrictive immigration policy being blamed for the deficit.

Overall, the country will have a shortage of 3.1 million workers, but teachers will form the largest single proportion of this, on nine per cent. The second biggest shortfall will be in construction, on 66,800.

The figures, from the teacher supply agency Randstad Education, used employment rates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

As a measure of demand, it analysed the projected changes in UK population and working age rate for 2050 to establish the gap between employment demand and workforce supply.

The analysis showed that with a total population of 74.5 million in 2050 the UK will require a working population of 35.4 million to meet demand. However, there will be a pool of just 45.1 million people (60.5 per cent of the population) forecast to be eligible to work.

Even if the employment rate matches pre-downturn levels of 71.6 per cent, an ageing population will leave the UK with only 32.3 million people in employment – 3.1 million short of the 35.4 million required.

An analysis of shortfalls across key professions showed education likely to be the worst affected, with a deficit of 127,500 staff. 

Jenny Rollinson, Randstad’s managing director, said: “The government has explored a number of different approaches to increasing quality teacher numbers, from schemes to attract people from the private sector to encouraging mum returners and early retirers back to the profession. While these initiatives make some difference they can’t possibly combat the shortfall we are facing.”

She continued: “There has been a temptation in previous years to supplement qualified teaching staff with unqualified teaching assistants. 

“This is not a trend that can continue if we want to ensure our classrooms have the very best people inspiring and leading our children to great things.”

Other sectors that face large workforce shortfalls are health care facing a 61,200 deficit and engineers at nearly 37,000.


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