Teachers are so over it … COVID has left the education sector stressed and fearful, and between debates over critical race theory, mask mandates, and the daily challenges of massive staff shortages, burned-out teachers have left schools at an unprecedented rate, joining some 4.5 million other workers in what's been called “The Great Resignation.”
While about eight percent of educators typically leave the profession every year, in a recent poll, the National Education Association reported 55% of educators said the pandemic has made them more likely to leave the teaching profession earlier than they had planned. That number is nearly double what it was in July 2020, and a big enough threat for NEA President Becky Pringle to say “This is a five-alarm crisis,” in a recent tweet.
That may leave an unprecedented amount of vacancies at schools across the country, and with a large number of graduates soon entering the workforce, it means your school will be selecting a large pool of candidates from Generation Z.
To be able to attract and retain teaching faculty, let’s take a look at some creative ideas for using your website to recruit the next wave of Generation Z teachers. But to do that, we need to better understand what this generation values.
Who is included in Generation Z?
By most definitions, Generation Z includes people born between 1997 and 2012, so while that age range does include younger teens and even children, it also includes job-seeking adults about to graduate college and grad school. They’ve grown up in a digital world and have little to no memory of a world without social media (#jealous). They are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation, and they are well on their way to being the most educated generation yet. These “Zoomers” spend more than eight hours a day online, and since 95% of them have smartphones, it’s no surprise that they primarily use their devices for texting and chatting.
What does Generation Z value and what do they want in a career?
Gen Z wants diversity in the workplace: 77% of Gen Z-ers say a company’s diversity would be a deciding factor when they look for jobs, according to one report. A whopping 80% aspire to work with cutting-edge technology, which isn’t too surprising given that they’ve grown up digitally literate, and for 70% of Generator Z, salary is the top motivator.
Among that group, you’ll find motivated, independent, accepting, and proactive employees — ideal candidates for the future teachers of tomorrow.
So with that in mind, let’s begin to think about how your school website can speak to members of this generation and tap into some of the benefits and work environments Gen Z teachers may be looking for when considering a teaching position at your school or district.
Using your website to engage job-seeking Generation Z
Make the most of your employment page
Gen Z won’t want to hop from page to page looking for more information — they’ll want all the content on a single page, easily accessible with a scroll, click, or tap. A single career or employment page should say more about your school and its culture, and not be just a page with a list of openings. You have to make the case for joining your school — it’s an opportunity to share what your school values, introduce the people who work there, talk about benefits, and why your school should be at the top of their list (more on this later…)
We learned early that Gen Z uses smart devices all day long, and since 62% of Gen Z-ers won’t use an app or website that’s too slow to load, make sure your employment page (and your entire site for that matter) has a mobile-friendly design.
The employment page of the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland is an excellent example of presenting the experience and value of coming to work at their school. The page aptly leads with the school’s mission: appropriate, since the faculty and staff will be one of the driving forces behind it. Even before listing employment opportunities, the page first shares a little about the school itself, leading to video testimonials from key faculty members. That approach helps set the scene by introducing the people and culture of Landon to potential employees. And, it looks amazing on a mobile device.
Include social media
Including the latest tweets and posts from your social accounts is a great way to keep the content on your employment page fresh. Since 85% of Gen Z use social media to learn about new products, they’ll be expecting your school to have an active social presence. And with 41% reporting that Instagram is their preferred social media platform for following brands, think about skipping Facebook.
Using a branded hashtag is a great strategy for featuring content and posts directly related to faculty or school culture. Highline School in Burien, Washington pulls tweets from the district’s own HR Twitter account (@highlineJobs) straight onto their district’s jobs hub page, enticing candidates with a host of resources and asking them if they’re ready to make a difference. A few branded hashtags like #TeamHighline and #WeAreHighline spotlight open positions and stir up some excitement about their team. Want your social posts to magically appear on your school's website without lifting a finger? Finalsite Feeds is a low-effort, big-impact way to automatically pull in the content from your favorite accounts.
Offer virtual tours
Virtual tours aren’t just for prospective families — they’re also for prospective employees. Since the pandemic, schools across the country have reexamined how to present their digital campus with interactive tours, campus maps, and creative ways to show their spaces to a larger audience. The same goes for potential employees who have never set foot on campus, are still at college, or are living out of state and considering a move. Try to give a sense of the teaching environment, the classroom layouts, key areas around the school, and what it’s like to be on campus. Create an experience that helps them visualize a place they want to work.
Avon Old Farms School invites you on an interactive virtual tour of its campus in Connecticut. With just a few clicks, prospective employees can navigate the halls, tour classrooms, and explore its different facilities, making it all that much easier to envision themselves on campus. The school also offers a variety of other resources for visitors, like viewbooks, teacher testimonials, and a video highlighting the rewards of teaching at Avon Old Farms School.
Feature the voices of your school
Testimonials help build trust and sharing the voices of current students and employees about why they love being at your school helps paint a clearer picture of the culture. On your employment page, include brief quotes about why your teachers chose to work at your school, what motivates them to come in every morning, or what they see happening in the classroom every day. Try to pull back the curtain and share the real experiences of working there with video interviews and photos of teachers in their work. Including the voices of younger teachers can also help resonate with Gen Z who may be looking for colleagues they could relate and share similar interests.
The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square Pennsylvania shares brief, but impactful testimonials from a variety of diverse voices on its employment page. Each person expands on a different reason why being a teacher there is great—a base of engaged parents and alumni, supportive administrators, and the ability to grow as a professional.
Be upfront about salary, benefits, and policies
Providing more details about salary ranges can help answer some logistical questions about employment — it can also help eliminate any candidates who are prioritizing specific salary tiers or benefits that would accompany certain positions — which can save both employer and employee valuable time. Information about equal employment opportunities, medical and/or dental coverage, and retirement or pension plans, can help sweeten any offer and show that your school cares as much about your best well-being, as it does about finding the best teachers.
Take a look at Randolph’s Employee Relation webpage and you’ll get tons of information about compensation, benefits, professional development, and more. To add to that, powerful imagery of engaged teachers living and loving their work really pulls the viewer in. Its presentation is made even more dynamic by a unique horizontal scroll experience that puts a fresh take on the content.
Answer frequently asked questions
An FAQ section on your site is an opportunity to clarify any additional questions about employment. It’s a great place to talk about certification, the application and interview process, or even onboarding, like
- How long is your application kept on file?
- How will the candidate be contacted?
- Can you interview over Zoom?
- What are the next steps after an interview?
Answering these questions ahead of time can help find the best talent quickly and streamline the application process.
Park Hill School District in Kansas City, Missouri dedicated an entire section in its main navigation to working in its district. Not only does it include sections for job opportunities, employee compensation, and frequently asked questions, it leads with a section about joining the Park Hill team and why it’s the best place to work.
Furthermore, the district is forward about how it supports new employees and what it can offer teachers. The entire website features bright, colorful imagery and raving testimonials from experienced, and friendly teachers that make it seem like a great place to work with students.
List the perks
Entering the field of education has always been a noble profession with numerous rewards, personal fulfillment, and esteemed honor. Reminding Gen Z job seekers about the perks that accompany a salary and benefits can entice web visitors to keep researching.
Regular professional development opportunities, generous stipends, travel grants, and their chance to become a part of your school’s history are all additional reasons to consider calling your school their “home away from home.” Think about other aspects of school that help describe your culture — the student/faculty basketball games, the summer schedule and holiday breaks, and the creature comforts in the teacher’s lounge are all perks, too. Did someone say “unlimited free coffee?”
Offer more opportunities to connect
If your school isn’t actively hiring, it’s never a bad idea to still accept resumes of qualified teachers or those looking for per-diem substitute opportunities. You never know when you may need a stack of resumes to pull from — family leave, unplanned absences, or instances of long-term disability, to name a few ... Having a simple form to receive resumes or employment inquiries helps keep the lines of communication open and meet those eager to join your team.
In addition to its employment opportunities, the Gilman School highlights its fellowship opportunities for recent college graduates who have a strong interest in teaching. While not a full-time teaching faculty position, Fellows benefit from a mentor teacher and experience a range of professional development opportunities, which may be exactly what a recent grad is seeking.
Generation Z will make the teachers of tomorrow and the field of education will need them. As a wave of talented, motivated, and digitally savvy professionals head into the workforce, showcasing the best of your school’s culture through your website will help attract and engage the ideal candidates to join your team. Happy hiring!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.