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Among qualified teachers, 6 out of 10 can consider returning to the profession

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2017-02-07 9.30

About 14 percent of all trained teachers work in professions outside the education industry. About 6 out of 10 of those could consider returning to work as a teacher in the education industry.

The most important factors among those who could consider returning included a more reasonable workload in relation to working hours, more opportunity to control their work situation, and a higher salary.

In recent years, the shortage of teachers has been apparent to many employers, pupils and parents. The demand for trained teachers is expected to increase in all teaching categories in the coming years. In 2014, there were about 240 000 people in Sweden under 65 years of age who had taken a Bachelor of Education degree up to and including 2013. About 14 percent of them work in professions other than teaching, outside the education industry.

In autumn 2016, Statistics Sweden carried out a questionnaire survey with the aim of identifying the reasons that had led people with teaching degrees to leave the teaching profession, and what could bring them to return.

Workload in relation to working hours

About 60 percent noted that the workload in relation to working hours contributed entirely or to a large extent to why they no longer worked as a teacher. About 55 percent answered that psychological strain, such as stress, played a large or entirely decisive role in their decision. An equally large proportion stated that they left because of too many administrative tasks and tasks that were not part of the teaching profession. People working in compulsory school felt to a larger extent that the workload in relation to working hours, as well as psychological strain, were contributing reasons.

Salary and unpaid overtime

About 45 percent noted that salary in relation to workload was a contributing reason, entirely or to a large extent, for why they left the profession. The proportion was higher among those who had unpaid overtime each week – about 55 percent. About 55 percent stated that they had unpaid overtime every week during their last employment as a teacher.

The proportion of potential returnees higher among young people

About 60 percent of those who left could consider returning to the teaching profession. Among people aged 25 to 39 years, about 70 percent could consider returning. The proportion of potential returnees was slightly higher among secondary school teachers – fully 65 percent.

Among those who could consider returning, the most important factors were a more reasonable workload in relation to working hours, more opportunity to control their work situation, and a higher salary. Between 70 percent and 75 percent considered that each one of these factors plays a large or entirely decisive role in their decision to return to the teaching profession.

Definitions and explanations

The results come from the questionnaire survey “Teachers’ career paths”, which was carried out in September to November 2016. The survey included people with a Swedish teaching education who worked as a teacher in the teaching industry some time between 2005 and 2013, but who subsequently left the profession and the industry. The aim of the survey is to identify the reasons that contribute to people with a teaching degree choosing another profession outside the teaching industry, and what might bring them back. There were 7 289 people included in the survey.

Qualified teacher: A person with a Bachelor of Education degree from 2013 or earlier. This includes preschool teacher education, recreation instructor education, teacher education for compulsory school, upper secondary school teacher education, vocational teacher education, and special needs teacher education.

Teaching profession: The teaching profession includes teachers in vocational subjects (232), upper secondary school teachers (233), compulsory school teachers (234) and other teaching professionals with theoretical specialist skills (235). The numbers in parentheses are the occupational classification according to the Swedish Standard Classification of Occupations (SSYK 2012). People who have worked as university and higher education teaching professionals (231) or preschool teachers and recreation instructors are not included in the questionnaire survey.

Unpaid overtime: work not contained within scheduled working hours or within the agreed working time.

Education industry: Industry code P, which includes group 85 according to the Swedish Standard for Industry Classification (SNI) 2007.


A more detailed report of this survey is published in the Theme Report Teachers outside the profession.

Further information presented in Excel tables.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Education and Jobs

701 89 Örebro


Viktor Morell

+46 10 479 49 22

Paula Kossack

+46 10 479 60 05