WISERD researchers present findings on teachers’ job quality

NEU Conference 2023 entrance

National Education Union (NEU) logo

Katy Huxley, Alan Felstead (WISERD) and Francis Green (UCL) presented the first results of their research on the changing job quality of teachers to a fringe event at the National Education Union (NEU) annual conference in Harrogate today (3 April 2023). The evidence is based on a research project carried out by WISERD at Cardiff University and UCL.

The results are based on two sets of complementary data:

(1) a job quality quiz taken by over 100,000 working people either side of the pandemic; and

(2) a survey of NEU’s members which elicited 15,500 responses.


The findings show that:

  • The quality of teachers’ jobs has barely changed either side of the pandemic. However, other professionals have experienced improvements. The gap between the two groups has widened. While the proportion of teachers reporting frequently working at very high speed or to very tight deadlines has remained relatively high and has barely changed, other professionals have experienced a significant drop in these measures of work intensity.
  • Similarly, the gap has widened between teachers and other professionals in terms of the control over working time. It has become easier for other professionals to decide when to start and stop work or to take time off for emergencies, but for teachers there has been little change.
  • Teachers’ job quality is worse in schools where teachers have a high expectation that the school will be inspected within the year. As a result, a higher proportion of teachers who thought that an inspection was very likely to take place within the year reported that they always felt exhausted at the end of the working day, compared to teachers who thought that an inspection was less likely.
  • Similarly, greater proportions of teachers working in schools with a high percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals reported coming home from work exhausted.

A briefing for the event is available online. The full findings of the research will be presented in a report to be published in the summer.


Image credit: Katy Huxley