In recent years, employment for post-secondary teachers has grown rapidly, and above the average for all industries.
The student enrollment rate can partially explain the growth in colleges’ and universities' staffing needs throughout most of the decade. In spite of this, the COVID-19 Pandemic stunted this growth and required a quick shift in how colleges and universities operate, which has led to the change in how educators are sourced and hired.
Currently, institutions are faced with a number of challenges related to their workforce. Having to hire in the face of the 2025 enrollment cliff, where the number of traditional students approaching college age is continuing to decline, has contributed to the overall issue, but employee retention and turnover continue to be top of mind. A new CUPA-HR survey offers a glimpse into why higher ed workers are looking elsewhere, in what has been described as a “talent crisis.” Surveying more than 3,800 higher education employees across nearly 950 institutions, CUPA-HR found the following:
- Most of the respondents were white, female, and about half were in supervisory positions
- 57.2% of survey participants said they were likely to leave their job in the next 12 months
- 22.4% said they were very likely to do so, 12.5% said they were likely, and 22.3% said they were somewhat likely
- About two-thirds of the respondents report they’re generally satisfied with their jobs, and more than three-fourths believe their work has a purpose
- ~80% were also satisfied with their retirement benefits and time off allowance
- ~50% of employees said they lacked opportunities to advance, and about the same share thought they were paid unfairly
- Nearly 70% of potential job-seekers said they wanted to find work at another institution, and a slightly smaller share said they wanted to join a private, for-profit company.
- ~50% wanted to work with a nonprofit organization outside higher ed, and only 42% sought to remain at their current college
As the higher education market follows the broader pandemic trend known as the Great Resignation — employees en masse leaving their jobs. Often, these employees are pursuing better working conditions and higher salaries. Burnout also appears to still be a problem though. Roughly two-thirds of respondents said they worked more hours weekly than what is traditionally considered full-time.
What can be done to reduce turnover?
It's recommended institutions give salary bumps “wherever possible,” adding that pay increases have not kept pace with inflation. Colleges could also offer more flexible and remote work options, and enhance parental leave policies and childcare subsidies, as many other private and for-profit organizations are doing.
Returning to a “business as usual” mindset will not be a winning strategy to help recruit, retain and engage talented employees who could be persuaded to move into the corporate sector, another college or university, or other local employers that adopt more forward-thinking approaches to work and commitment to their employees.
The days of posting an ad in a higher education publication or on a local website and being flooded with applicants are over for any competitive positions. Attracting talent is no longer limited to positions with much sought-after technical skills. Institutions must also be willing to increase the hourly wages of the lowest-paid positions to have the hope of recruiting employees who perform vitally important roles on campus. CUPA-HR also published a research brief in March focused on minimum wage. Institutions must make efforts to pay competitive wages and to market the welcoming, inclusive environments of campus communities.
In addition, during the fall of 2020, a consultant conducted a study for CUPA-HR and identified that most under-25-year-olds have poor perceptions of higher education culture and compensation. The consultant also found that 70 percent of Black Americans and 60 percent of LGBTQ+ Americans do not perceive higher education as a comfortable place to work.
According to a 2022 Inside Higher Ed article, burnout was causing high attrition of higher ed employees even before COVID-19. CUPA-HR higher education workforce studies also indicate high turnover this year (2022) for a number of positions, including chief diversity officer, Title IX investigator, academic advisor, student financial aid counselor, student counselor, HR coordinator, advancement specialist and medical assistant with median years in these positions of three years or less. A 2019 CUPA-HR research report also highlights the challenges of an aging higher education workforce, and a 2021 CUPA-HR research report highlights that the skilled trades workforce is aging and that the pipeline to replace these employees is almost non-existent.
Solutions for Higher Education staffing needs
Web Scribble career centers are designed to connect highly skilled, career-driven professional association members with their next career opportunity. Top employers and recruiters seeking specialized talent depend on Web Scribble's matching technology to access industry-qualified, invested candidates - reducing risk and costs by delivering targeted, top talent.
Below are some examples of the professional association job boards that we power that can be of help when it comes to healthcare hiring and recruiting.
A college or university can utilize the American Conference of Academic Deans Job Board to find qualified, experienced candidates. With over 1,000 member job seekers, the ACAD Job Board sees its job seekers searching for Dean, Provost, and Vice President for Academic Affairs positions in higher-ed.
In addition to ACAD, Web Scribble also powers the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine’s career center, Family Medicine Careers Job Board. STFM’s membership consists of over 5,000 qualified members working in the educational side of family medicine. STFM is the perfect place to find and recruit qualified, credentialed, educators from across the country.
Non-collegiate education hiring challenges can be addressed with the Career and Technical Education Job Bank. The Association for Career and Technical Education has over 35,000 active members and a significant presence in the secondary education world. You can find educators in cosmetology, culinary arts, automotive, criminal justice, and more with ACTE’s Job Bank.
As those recruiting in higher education determine their recruiting strategy for 2023 and beyond, institutions must be willing to rethink and redefine their recruitment and retention efforts, especially when competing with the private sector. A new, fresh strategy that includes hiring new employees and partnering with the proper hiring solutions to gain access to the targeted and qualified talent you are looking for can help you get ahead of and exceed your hiring goals. If you are interested in partnering with Web Scribble to gain access to the top, targeted talent, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.