How does the teaching profession compare to other large public sector
professions? What do we know about their average earnings, the hours they work and their levels of job satisfaction?
We use data from the Understanding Society survey to compare teachers with nurses and police officers. Our analysis shows that despite working the joint highest number of hours annually and having the joint lowest average hourly pay, teachers remain satisfied with their jobs and incomes.
However, there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the amount of leisure time they have, which may be affecting retention.
Teaching is more similar to nursing in terms of the gender profile The teaching and nursing workforces are dominated by women, who account for 72 and 89 per cent of their workforces respectively.
Conversely, men make up a greater share of the policing workforce (75 per cent). Teaching has a flatter age distribution than nursing and policing.
Our analysis shows that nurses are the oldest on average, with an average
age of 44 years old, followed by teachers (42 years) and police officers (40 years).
Part of the reason that the p olice are younger on average may be due to the physical demands of their role. It may also be due to the police pension scheme that was in place up to 2006 , where police officers could retire on a full pension at the age of 50 if they had served at least 30 years.
The age distributions also differ substantially. The full-time teacher workforce is fairly evenly distributed , with a slight decline for older age groups.
Conversely the nursing workforce is skewed towards older nurses, with about a third being aged 50 or older, which are likely to need to be replaced in the
next five to 10 years. This could be challenging for the profession given the
relatively low numbers of young nurses entering the profession.
For police officers, nearly half of the workforce are aged 40 to 49. Many of these officers are likely to have joined the police prior to the 2006 pension changes, so could be planning to retire in the next five to 10 years when they have completed their 30 years’ service.
Although police numbers have declined in recent years and the work of police
officers is shifting in focus , the profession may face a similar challenge to the nursing profession to recruit new police officers or retain current staff to replace those who are likely to retire.