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The Use of Teachers’ Expertise in Subsequent Careers: Brain Drain, Skill Spill?

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Considerable research has been conducted into teacher retention. Substantially less is known, however, of the extent to which, and ways in which, teacher-borne skills, knowledge and expertise transfer to other occupations when teachers leave their profession. For this study, telephone interviews were conducted with 22 ex-teachers, asking what led them into and out of teaching, about their current circumstances, and their views on how the expertise they acquired in teaching applies to their subsequent careers. From the reports of these informants, it appears that the skills and attributes of teaching are highly transferable and highly valued by employers in other professions. The findings have implications for teacher recruitment, education, the provision of working conditions in the teaching profession, and for the promotion and public perceptions of teaching, if the profession is to retain more of its teachers.
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Keywords: teacher attrition; teacher retention; teacher skills; transitions; working conditions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Technology Sydney

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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    Education and Society, a fully refereed journal, is used by teachers, academics, research scholars, educational administrators and graduate students.
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