Recruitment in international schools has witnessed significant shifts and trends since 2020. The global pandemic, coupled with evolving educational practices, has brought about notable changes in the hiring landscape of these institutions. In this article, we will explore the key trends that have emerged and provide three possible reasons behind these shifts.

One prominent trend in recruitment is the surge in demand for online teaching positions within international schools. The pandemic forced educational institutions worldwide to adopt remote learning, and international schools were no exception. As a result, schools have been actively seeking qualified educators with experience in delivering online instruction. This shift reflects the growing importance of digital literacy and the need for teachers who can effectively engage students in virtual learning environments.

Embracing technological advancements and enhancing online learning capabilities has become imperative for international schools to ensure continuity in education during unprecedented times. Hence, the demand for online teaching positions is driven by the necessity to adapt to the changing educational landscape.

International schools have long emphasised the value of diversity and inclusion within their communities. Since 2020, there has been a noticeable increase in the recruitment efforts to foster diverse and inclusive environments. Schools are actively seeking teachers from various cultural backgrounds, with diverse skill sets and experiences. This trend aligns with the growing recognition of the benefits that diversity brings to enriching the educational experience and preparing students for a globalised world. The events of the past few years, including social justice movements and increased awareness of systemic biases, have spurred many international schools to prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion. By recruiting a diverse pool of educators, these schools can provide students with multicultural perspectives, promote empathy, and create inclusive learning spaces.

The global health crisis has highlighted the importance of mental health and well-being in education. The better International schools have responded to this by placing a greater emphasis on recruiting professionals who can provide holistic support to students. They are actively seeking educators with experience in areas such as counselling, psychology, and social-emotional learning. This trend reflects the recognition that addressing students’ emotional needs is crucial for their overall development and academic success.

The pandemic and its associated challenges have taken a toll on students’ mental health and well-being. International schools are proactively responding to this by prioritising the recruitment of staff members who can offer the necessary support. By investing in mental health resources, these institutions aim to create a nurturing environment that fosters resilience, emotional growth, and academic achievement. This said it is debatable as to how many new staff have these ‘new’ skills due to a natural lag between training development and the needs at the ‘chalkface’!

Recruitment in international schools has witnessed significant trends since 2020, reflecting the changing educational landscape and the impact of the global pandemic. The increased demand for online teaching positions, the focus on diversity and inclusion, and the heightened emphasis on well-being and mental health support are three key trends that have emerged. These trends demonstrate the adaptability and responsiveness of international schools as they strive to meet the evolving needs of students in a rapidly changing world. In my thirty years’ experience in the education sector, I believe that the rate of change and the renewed challenges affecting all levels of the international education sector are growing exponentially and within a few more years the sector will have evolved dramatically. The challenge for teachers is to keep abreast of these changes through training and skill development. For managers the challenges are even greater as they try to identify the ‘skills’ that potential candidates have and the overall mix of staff and resources needed for their students. The education sector continues to be one that Central Asian countries invest heavily in and it is important that the balancing act to provide the skills that their young citizens will require are provided for.

Gareth Stamp has been involved in education for over thirty years and has worked as an education manager and consultant in a number of countries around the world, developing curriculum, pedagogies and school structures.

“A lot has changed since I was first recruited to work at a new set of schools in Kazakhstan. To be honest I am not sure that the organisation really knew what they were looking for, just that they wanted ‘experts’ and ‘experienced’ teaching professionals. Fourteen years ago the recruitment process was very ‘traditional’ – I responded to an advert in an actual newspaper and had a face to face interview in London. In today’s hi-tech, Zoom fuelled globalised system many managers don’t meet the applicants and only the successful ones when they reach the airport. But at the same time computers can provide much more detailed information about candidates, schools and countries than it ever did before. If you did a google search for Central Asia fourteen years ago you got pictures of Yurts and rolling Steppe.

The blanket approach of recruiting from across the world (which in my opinion was both expensive and hit and miss) has thankfully changed. Schools are becoming more targeted to make a good ‘fit’ and candidates are also becoming more discerning. During the pandemic a large number of experienced teachers and educational managers returned home having been isolated from families and friends during lockdowns – many have not decided to continue the adventure or at least are looking closer to their home country. Others, especially with families have also re-evaluated their priorities. Age is also an issue, some countries in Asia specifically have introduced an upper limit of 55 – this is partly because in the past ‘experience’ was often measured by ‘age’ and in a few cases this caused added strain on insurance costs, specific medical requirements in one case accessibility issues.

The skills of the educational professionals in Central Asia have risen exponentially and there has been a move to local training and development of local staff. This is testament to the positive overall development in the education sector.

I visit lots of schools and universities across the region and I am happy to see that the majority of them have excellent provision for their students. There is also more of a willingness to share experiences. Each school is different but by working together and learning from each other the development of the next generation looks positive.”

by Gareth Stamp, Head of Creative Arts – Brookhouse Schools – Nairobi Kenya