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Teacher Retention Strategies in Education

Employee Retention in Education Sector

Employee Retention in Higher Education

When it comes to the teaching profession, there is no shortage of passion. Teachers often go far beyond the call of duty to make a positive difference in their students’ lives. Yet, while there has been a 13% increase over the last 4 years in the teaching profession, average annual turnover for education services over the past 5 years is 27.2%. There is still an urgent need to recruit and retain qualified teachers in the classroom. Consider the reality facing most educational districts:

  • Even with a 13% increase over the last 4 years in the teaching profession, there is still a shortage for teachers, especially in rural areas.
  • Annual teacher turnover averages roughly 27.2% in the United States, 30% in Canada, 33% in the UK and somewhere between 30-50% in Australia – and this is all in the first five years.
  • Many schools are struggling to find teachers who better represent their student body (i.e. males, African-American, Latino).
  • The highest turnover rate is seen in special education. These teachers express that they do not feel supported by leadership.
  • Teacher attrition, retirement, and turnover, far outpaces the supply from graduates.

Challenges to Staff Retention in Education

Comparatively, few people leave other jobs to become a teacher. Quite the opposite. How many people have you met that used to be a teacher and today do something else? Due to long hours, challenging demands and working conditions and the lack of resources, approximately half of new teachers end up leaving the profession within their first 5 years of teaching out of a sense of self-preservation. The sector is also struggling to find teachers who better reflect the demographics of their student body, and the highest turnover rates are seen in special educators. As a result, students suffer the consequences of a disrupted education when classes are canceled or taken over by inexperienced, underprepared substitutes.


Employee Retention Strategies in Education Sector

To inspire the next generation towards a bright and hopeful future, modern tools and technology can be leveraged to retain quality teachers already in the profession. Armed with the driving force of their passion, teachers look to be empowered by having more autonomy in the classroom and better resources to conduct effective lessons. Leaders and administrators need to be aware of factors that stand in the way of their teachers’ pursuit of their students’ success, and look to support them by breaking these obstacles down. Creating a culture of safety, trust and respect is paramount. When leaders are committed to listening to their teachers and standing behind them, students will flourish and thrive, and so will our future.

You can overcome teacher turnover at your school. Here are three options to consider:

  1. Retention Diagnostic – Get prioritized recommendations with a data-driven Retention Diagnostic. This will identify the areas where your institution is excelling, where it can focus, and all the “noise” to ignore. Find out what is standing in the way of your teachers’ work life satisfaction. To retain your best teachers, you need more than just knowing the root causes of low morale, high absenteeism, or disengagement. You need clear and actionable recommendations.
  2. Exit Interviews – Leverage actionable intelligence from Exit Interviews. Using a third party like Retensa to conduct exit interviews creates the safety net people need to avoid burning bridges and be really honest about why they are leaving. School districts are in tight communities and most people are not comfortable sharing anything beyond limited opportunities or salary requirements. Ask the right questions to pinpoint the root causes for high turnover at your educational institution and prepare strategies to help increase retention today.
  3. Retention Skills Training – Provide Retention Skills Training so administrators at your institution have the tools they need to retain and engage your best teachers. Retensa provides retention programs based on customized insights from what your faculty says they want and need from your administration. Invest in training that is customized to the needs of your faculty and staff members.


Retention does not get easier by itself. But there are real tactics that work. It succeeds when we get proactive to reduce turnover and increase connection to the firm and future. Call us now at (212) 545-1280 or email a retention expert here.