Top job destination but with highest vacancies?


In reference to the article published in June 2014 about the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and the recent news about the Ministry of Education (MOE) being the top job destination among public sector organisations for fresh graduates and undergraduates according to a survey by CareerBuilder Singapore.

One might be interested in how observations from the TALIS shows about the teaching profession in Singapore coincide with the recent survey results which labelled MOE being the top job destination for many.

But first, let’s recap based on the article about findings of the TALIS.

Teachers in Singapore were working 48-hour weeks, 10 hours above the TALIS average of 38 hours.

Points of survey that were reported in news

  • 88% were satisfied with their jobs and 82% would still choose to be teachers if given a choice to decide on a career again.
  • Practicum: 83% of Singaporean teachers have undergone a practicum before becoming full-fledged teachers. (TALIS average 63%).
  • Induction: 99% of all new teachers attend formal induction programmes. (TALIS average 44%).
  • Mentorship: About 40% of teachers have assigned mentors. (TALIS average of 13%).

Points of survey that were not delved into or not reported in news

  • Average 10 years of teaching experience (TALIS average 16 years).
  • Part-time teaching force 4% (TALIS average 18%).
  • Singapore classrooms have an average of 36 students. (TALIS average 24 students).
  • 81% of teachers work in a collaborative culture, however only 36% of principals work collaboratively with other principals (TALIS average 62%).
  • 46% wondered about “better” professions (TALIS average 32%).
  • Almost 70% feel that teaching is a valued profession in Singapore (TALIS average 31%).
  • Principals in Singapore generally work in schools almost double the size of the TALIS average. Local schools average at 1,251 students and 91 teachers (TALIS average at 546 students with 45 teachers).

Next, we look at the numbers of the job vacancy over the years are tabulated from the data compiled by the Ministry of Manpower to look at just how desirable the teaching jobs are.

table vacancy

Key observations from the information.
Under the Professionals category, the Teaching Professional has the highest number of job vacancies (about 2000 – 3000) every year. This is a very wide lead over the rest of the occupations in the Professionals category. The second highest is typically in the hundreds (less than one thousand).

(2013, MOM’s Top Ten Job Vacancies By Minimum Qualifications Required)

For Teaching Professional, the incidence of job vacancies unfilled for at least 6 months is 1.1 – 6.6%. This means that the majority of vacancies were filled within 6 months. Yet the number of job vacancies continue to remain at such a high number every year.

Despite MOE’s salary adjustment for teachers in Sep 2012, job vacancies still remain high.

Does this imply that local schools are expanding at a breakneck pace in recent years, or that the turnover rate is high? i.e. schools are able to recruit (fill vacancies) but not able to retain staff (vacancies open again).