This blog will review the up-to-date data analysis from our most recent report, Staff Retention by Role. We look at how staff’s risk of resignation has changed over the last five years by role and explore factors related to school staff’s working days that have strong relationships with their risk of resignation.
What do we cover?
- 110,000 school staff, five years of data
- What correlates strongly with retention? (overall)
- Noticeable differences by role
- Staff Retention: What next?
- About Our Survey
110,000 school staff, five years of data
Staff Retention Overall
We have surveyed just over 110,000 school staff in the last five years. We have tracked school staff members’ risk of resignation and found a reduction in the proportion of staff considering resigning during the academic years 2019/20 and 2020/21, the years most heavily impacted by Covid-19. Since then, the proportion of staff at risk of resignation has increased to levels higher than before the pandemic.
Staff Retention by Role
In the report, we explore this data overall and by role. We see that whilst the proportion of staff considering resignation differs, the same broad trends in risk of resignation are evident irrespective of the position. The percentage of staff considering leaving for all roles dropped, followed by a rebound in 2021/2022. All roles recorded a record-high risk of resignation for each position in the last two academic years.
Staff Retention by School
Some factors universally impact staff retention; our data shows that school-level factors also contribute to resignation risks. Here we can see that the number of members of staff considering resigning in each school is uniquely different for each of the schools that took part in the survey in 2022/2023, ranging from 8% of teachers considering resigning in a school to 100% of staff considering resigning.
This also highlights that for each school, no one solution will be the immediate answer and will require a more in-depth analysis of the problem to see where to focus efforts to minimise these risks.
Overall Experience of Factors
Looking at the day-to-day factors influencing the overall work experience of staff, in our Staff Wellbeing and Experience Survey, staff responded most positively about support from line managers, communication, and trust vision and values. They were least positive about workload, their relationship with the trust, and leadership dynamics.
What correlates strongly with retention? (overall)
Let’s now explore the correlations (relationships) between some factors influencing the risk of resignation and in turn staff retention, and the responses to the question. “In the past three months, how often have you considered resigning from your post?”
One of the least positive factors across all staff members was Leadership dynamics.
Questions within the Leadership dynamics factor explore how well staff in leadership positions understand the needs of their colleagues, how respected staff feel, rewarded and recognised, and how staff feel their feedback is received and actioned. Just 34% of staff feel that their feedback to the leadership team always or often has an impact, and 27% think that this is rarely or never the case. This has a strong relationship with the risk of resignation: only 14% of staff who always feel their feedback to leadership has an impact also reported that they had considered resigning, compared to 80% of those who think their feedback never has an impact.
Workload was consistently the least positive factor across all roles: positive responses were below 30% of all responses for each position and as low as 12% for middle leaders.
Questions for this factor covered how often staff feel overworked, how much they can plan their day, and how they can stay on top of their work responsibilities. The question with the strongest relationship with retention was “How often do you feel excited by the work that you do?” with an overall correlation of -0.48. Just over half (58%) reported that they feel excited very or quite often; however, for those that don’t, there is a materially higher risk of resignation: 9 in 10 staff who reported never feeling excited by the work they do, also said that they had considered resigning.
Staff were satisfied with the communication between themselves and their leadership, with 68% responding positively overall. Of the questions in the communication factor, the question “In general, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the communication between you and your leadership” had the strongest relationship with resignation.
While the percentage of positive responses was relatively high for this question and the wider factor, the data shows that those who felt satisfied with the communication between themselves and their leadership were less likely to consider resigning from their role.
Noticeable differences by role
Here, we have a matrix from our most recent report that compares Staff’s experience of different factors in their day-to-day working lives. What we can take away from this graph is that all roles were least positive about Workload, Relationships with the Trust and Leadership dynamics. In our report, we explore some of the differences between each of the roles in schools. Here are a couple of the most prominent Trends:
Senior leader positivity and lower risk of resignation
In our findings, Senior Leadership responded more positively compared to all other roles for all factors except for workload. Senior Leaders were the group with the lowest risk of resignation. There are differences in experience between Senior Leadership and the rest of the staff body. Senior Leaders are significantly more positive about several factors: in some cases, the difference between Senior Leadership and the lowest scoring group is as high as 29%.
Teachers, on average the least positive
Teachers responded least positively for most factors and are the group most at risk of resignation. Workload is the factor teachers are least positive about and has the strongest relationship with resignation. Teachers were also much less positive about their relationship with the Trust and the leadership dynamics factor.
The Leadership Dynamics factor was one of the least positive factors for teachers and had a strong relationship with teachers' risk of resignation, with those less positive about leadership dynamics much more likely to consider resigning. Monitoring and improving leadership dynamics could have a high impact on teacher retention.
Staff Retention: What next?
Within our full report, we explore how these different factors look for each individual role within schools, from senior leadership to administrative staff. We look at how these factors relate to Staff retention to support school leaders and HR professionals in understanding the challenges faced by different roles within schools. The aim is to deepen the understanding of which areas of school life can be targeted to have an impact.
About Our Survey
If you want to learn more, we would happily schedule a video call to demonstrate the Edurio platform and discuss the Staff Wellbeing Survey in more detail. During the call (30-45 minutes) you will:
- have a look at the survey questions,
- get to know the data collection process,
- experience Edurio results exploration,
- receive answers to any additional questions you may have.