As we celebrate Maths Week and World Science Day, we look at the STEM industry and teaching shortages.
Out of a workforce of 32.8 million people, 5.9 million (18%) work in STEM occupations in the UK, according to figures from the British Science Association, November 2020. Although there are a million women in the UK who now work in the STEM sector, with 50,000 in professional engineering roles, there remains a growing demand in the industry sector, who have a lower share of female workers compared to other sectors (27% vs. 52%). In addition, other groups are underrepresented such as disabled people (11% vs. 14%) and people of ethnic minorities.
The STEM skills gap in the UK, is felt to be in part due to inequity within STEM education, affecting young people’s access, attainment, and engagement levels in STEM subjects. Currently in the UK, there is a shortage of Physics and Maths teachers and supply teachers for these roles, as well as permanent ones, are in high demand by school leaders.
Some research suggests that 50 % of maths and physics teachers leave within five years of teaching. This may be because of typical reasons that newly qualified teachers leave the profession, such as long hours, stress and lack of support, although the number of teachers leaving the profession over the last 12 months is starting to slow down. However, the addition of competitive salaries offered by the STEM industry sector, when demand is accelerating due to changes such as renewable energy that require an increasing workforce, teaching seems to be less attractive.
However, many individuals retiring from the STEM sector, but who are still looking to be purposeful, are ideal candidates for teaching. As a science teacher, you will have the opportunity to integrate new technology, recent research findings, and popular science events into your classroom. As a math teacher, you will be able to provide your students with multiple rewarding opportunities to continue to engage in mathematics and apply their newly gained knowledge outside of the classroom. It’s an exciting opportunity to make a difference to young peoples’ lives whilst supporting the future growth of the STEM industry sector in the UK.
We are always on the lookout for new talent, especially for maths and physics supply teachers; go to our registration page or call us to find out more.