The teacher of 2031 – who are they and how will they inspire the world?
In 2031, Generation Z will comprise the largest portion of the workforce (31%) alongside Gen Y (31%). This means that teachers of 2031 will most likely be either of these two generations. The teacher of 2031 – who are they and how will they inspire the world?
With Australians living longer and working later, the workforce is becoming increasingly generationally diverse. Although Baby Boomers are currently more active in the workforce for their age than those before them, the next decade will see a changing of the guard.
By 2031, Gen Y and Gen Z will comprise almost two thirds of the workforce. In this time the youngest of the Baby Boomers will sail past 65 and ease out of the workforce. This will leave a very significant knowledge, labour and leadership gap for the following generations to take up.
Generation Z are looking to work with purpose
The key desires that Gen Z school leavers consider to be extremely or very important as they think about their career is that they have purpose and meaning in their work (72%), that they are able to do work that aligns with their core values (68%) and to find a workplace that is a community of strong social connections (68%). They also consider having a positive impact on the world around them (64%) and workplace flexibility (64%) to be extremely or very important to them.
While these desires shape their expectations around work, students still say the amount they earn matters to them. For almost two thirds of students (63%), the amount they earn matters more to them than working in an area they are passionate about. For 37% however, working in an area they are passionate about matters more to them than the amount they are able to earn. Females are more likely than males to prioritise working in an area they are passionate about over finances (42% compared to 33%).
Flexibility as an expectation
The future generation of teachers are the ones who experienced studying in COVID-19 lockdowns. This generation therefore has a strong desire for hybrid work. Generation Z see a flexible working lifestyle (60%) as the greatest opportunity ahead of them. This is followed by productivity and benefits that come from technology (47%) and career mobility (47%). While many educators who are already in the workforce view the future as challenging, today’s students have grown up in a world that has shaped and prepared them for it. So much so, that career mobility (47%), increasing workforce diversity (45%), emerging industries and diverse careers (44%) are seen as opportunities. Alongside the opportunity to create a more equitable society (44%) and building a globally sustainable future (36%).
The question that sits before leaders of the education sector is how to implement flexibility in a profession that does not lend itself naturally to hybrid styles of working. As this emerging generation of teacher’s value hybrid working, creative ways of attracting Generation Z to the teaching profession will need to be considered, factoring in this expectation and changes to how work is delivered in the future.
In recent times there has been concern about the dropout rate of teachers, and how to continue to attract teachers in an increasingly flexible world of work. While educators are largely positive about their experience of working in the sector, the greatest blocker to educators thriving at work is being overworked and stressed (39%).
Leadership can also be a blocker, with resistance to change (23%) and management structures/hierarchy (23%) identified as blockers to educators thriving in the workplace. In this article we explore the perspective and sentiment that teachers shared with us in focus groups about working in the education sector. To attract and retain future teachers to the education sector, valuing the contribution teachers make and prioritising their wellbeing will be paramount to get right.