Former primary school teachers least inclined to return to the profession

Published 30 May 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Many people cite the working environment as a reason for leaving the teaching profession.

Among teachers who have left the profession, only 15% are very positive about returning. The least keen to return were primary school teachers and especially women.

For some time now, there has been a major shortage of qualified teachers in Sweden. Statistics Sweden has asked teachers who left the profession in the last ten years why they left and whether they would consider returning. A survey was sent out to 4 750 teachers between October 2022 and January 2023, of which 62% responded. The respondents were aged 65 or less, had a teacher’s licence and had worked as a teacher for at least two years between 2012 and 2020. The school types included were Primary (Swedish: Grundskola), Secondary (Swedish: Gymnasieskola) and Adult Education (Swedish: Komvux).

The report “Teachers outside the profession” shows that 55% of teachers would consider working in the school system again, which is a smaller proportion than when the survey was last conducted in 2016, when 60% were in favor of this. In contrast, only 15% answered ‘Yes, absolutely’ to the question and around 40% answered ‘maybe’. Primary school teachers were the least positive about returning to school work, while those working in secondary education were more positive. Women were less interested in returning to the profession than men.

‘Primary school’ is ‘Grundskola’ in Swedish. Photo: facsimile/SCB

The most common reason for leaving the profession was often related to the work environment, such as stress and workload. The second most common reason was working conditions, such as pay and working hours. Furthermore, just over 30% responded that when they last worked as a teacher, they worked overtime every or almost every day of the week. Around 30% also responded that they worked overtime at least once a week. It was mainly women who worked overtime, with 70% of them responding that they did this at least once a week.