Teacher workforce and careers

Publication Date



ACER Policy Briefs; 5
ISSN 1447-1957


This paper is in response to an invitation from the Victorian Department of Education and Training to undertake a targeted review of effective teaching recruitment strategies. The paper provides a ‘snapshot’ of what is happening in other States and Territories and in selected countries overseas. The review is based mainly on information supplied by a small group of stakeholders (See Appendix 1) and derived from relevant printed and online resources. The main focus of the review is on the kinds of strategies that different educational jurisdictions have used to overcome teacher supply problems. The original intention of the review was to focus only on those strategies that were seen to be effective but this was broadened to include unproven and pilot strategies. This is because the majority of initiatives have only been operating for a short time, in some cases for less than twelve months, in other cases for only one or two years. This has not been long enough for an evaluation to have been carried out. A second problem relates to measuring ‘effectiveness’. Often the success of strategies is measured in quantitative terms, such as the number of applicants for teaching scholarships, the proportion of schools that report recruitment difficulties or the length of service in a remote school. The teacher supply problem is not simply one of increasing teacher numbers however. Before developing further strategies or refining the ones that already exist in Victoria, it would be worthwhile clarifying the criteria for ‘effectiveness’. Is the initiative able to attract the most able candidates, for example? Is it sustainable? Does it enhance the status of teaching? Does it encourage a long-term commitment from teachers? The problem of teacher demand and supply is both cyclical and complex with a range of interconnecting variables. It is usually most evident when ‘an underlying weakness in the supply pool is coincident with demographic or policy change which places additional strain on the supply pool’.1 This review looks briefly at practices in other Australian States and Territories, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and New Zealand.