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A fifth of education workers consider their main role to be in non-permanent employment – the highest across all sectors – and are using temporary work to achieve greater work-life balance, variety of work and experience to improve their CV, according to research released today (Tuesday 17 December 2019).

The research, carried out by recruitment experts Reed, asked 5,000 workers about their experience of, and attitude to, temporary and contract working.

Of the sample of 5,000, 363 respondents were from the education sector. The survey found that a fifth (21%) of those working in education considered non-permanent work to be their main job – the highest of all sectors - and that there is a real desire for the flexibility, variety of and autonomy that temporary working offers.

There are 40% of people working in teaching and education who identify work-life balance as a positive of temporary working – higher than the national average of 37% - with more than a third (31%) saying that greater variety of work was a positive effect of temporary working. There was almost a quarter (24%) that were using temporary work to improve their CV and a fifth (21%) identified seeing more of their families as a plus side to temporary work.

Despite the positives experienced within the teaching and education sector, more than half (58%) of those asked said they preferred the security of a permanent role. And half (50%) said they liked the benefits of a permanent role such as sick pay and pension.

Richard Taylor, director of Reed Public Services, said: “Schools and Colleges are used to proactively working with temporary workers, because of their flexibility which means they can fill in at short notice, for both short and long term cover – this is so important when children’s learning is at stake.

“For many years, teachers, lecturers and support staff have been using temporary work to gain a greater work-life balance for a role that can be highly stressful, some teachers simply want to teach but don’t want the added paperwork. At Reed, as a PAYE supply teacher we offer the same benefits as permanent staff including statutory sick pay, access to health benefits and discounts – giving peace of mind to those who choose the supply career path.

“As the survey reveals, in the education sector, temporary working tends to be a lifestyle choice – people choose it for a better work-life balance. While permanent teaching can suit those candidates who are looking for stability, temporary work will always be in demand offering fantastic benefits to teachers and flexibility for the schools they are working in."