The Edutech brain drain..

Our main recruiting hot take at Bett 2022 (aside from being a superspreader B(ett)’ovid event 😉)

There is currently an IT expertise brain drain happening in Edutech…

Companies that supply schools and MAT’s with ICT service like Managed Service or annual support contracts are all, seemingly without exception, recruiting heavily to replace staff that are leaving the sector..

Additionally if you have a view of the market like us, or have monitored postings on sites like, there is a similar huge demand for onsite technicians in schools that manage their own IT services.

And anecdotally demand for our services, like recruiters in many other industries to be fair, has risen sharpy since Autumn 2021, hitting new heights not seen before in the first 3 months of the year

Why is this?

I think there are 2 main interconnected reasons which most contacts at Bett seemed to agree with..

ICT tech staff in schools are expected in, normally 100% of the time. And at entry and 2nd job level, they are, compared to other commercial sectors let’s be honest, pretty poorly paid.

Of course schools are a local employer and a good place to get your hands dirty with a wide range of tech, so I’m not knocking it..

But the situation has shifted, a wide range of employers are much more open to hybrid or total home working, opening up better paid jobs to talent wherever they are based in the UK

There is also more generally a hike in salaries across the board for IT, schools tech staff have a wide range of skills and this is more attractive than ever before

In response we have seen starting salaries in the private education sector, which are able to respond to rising salary pressures, jump up, sometimes by up to 25% at entry level! State schools unfortunately cannot react as well, but we have seen some positive movement in starting salaries.

New salary survey to come very soon to get some real evidence together..

But this is great for ESP right?

Yep we have been extremely busy and it’s great for candidates but the struggle to source suitable people for schools and business’ is REAL! I’ve never felt so drained and unable to switch off at Easter break

Poor you I hear you cry, and if you have got this far you deserve something positive

My advise to schools facing these challenges:

  • Hire on potential and cultural fit, and put more time and expense towards CPD (that’s not something universal in all schools, but it has to happen)
  • Hire apprentices as often as you can, reward them with incremental rises throughout, so when their apprenticeship matures they are more loyal if you wish to promote them into a higher role.
  • If you cannot budget for salaries that can compete, really emphasis the other benefits to working in schools in your adverts (so many adverts we see really sell the academic achievement of the school with no mention of what the role could do for the potential applicant, detail rich but attraction poor).
  • Make the recruitment process slim lined and FAST, as fast as possible, compliant of course but asking for an application form to register an interest will put rare candidates off in a busy market, better to insist on one at selection to interview. Make closing dates sooner, you will have less candidates falling out of the process later on.
  • Asking for references before interview will also prevent candidates from applying, if they have several applications, they will not want their current employer bothered by multiple requests for reference. This practice is only commonplace in teaching

Of course using an agency like ESP is additional cost but:

  • We have access to other advertising channels and our own database of education tech candidates
  • You only pay when we are successful
  • We commit time and resources, at our cost, to pro active searches to find more passive candidates, not necessarily with lots of other offers already on the table
  • We try our best to deselect inappropriate candidates and are hands on with real Talent to guide them through the process
  • We act fast and exclusively

But i’m interested to know?

Have you any clever ideas to attract and retain IT technicians?

Or are you a technician finding your prospects dramatically improved?

Would love to know your thoughts..

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