How Does Teaching Compare To Nursing And Policing?

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Nursing Policing teaching


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How do the working hours and earnings in the teaching profession compare to nursing and policing?

In this research by the National Foundation for Educational Research, NFER examines how full-time teachers compare to full-time nurses and police officers. The NFER compares the characteristics of each profession’s workforce, their hours worked, earnings, and job satisfaction.

Why Compare Teaching To Other Professions?

One of the difficulties facing any discussion about teacher supply is knowing whether the difficulties faced are unique to teaching or common to other professions. For example, is a ten per cent rate of teachers leaving the state funded sector each year relatively high or low compared to similar professions?

There has been relatively little research conducted which compares retention across different public sector professions. This research project aims to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics within the teacher workforce in England and is a summary by Teacher Toolkit

Key Findings

  1. There are significant differences in the make-up of the three professions. Nurses have the highest average age at 44 years old, followed by teachers (42) and police officers (40).
  2. Of the three professions, nursing has the largest proportion of part-time workers at 29 per cent, compared to 16 per cent for teachers. This may partly be due to the shift work nature of nursing …
  3. Teachers work as many hours as police officers each year, but in fewer weeks. Teachers work the longest hours at 50 hours per week during term time, followed by police officers (44) and nurses (39). Even after taking account of school holidays, full-time teachers still work the equivalent of 45 hours per week.
  4. Teachers’ average hourly pay has decreased most since 2009-10. Each profession has seen a reduction in real-terms earnings between 2009-10 and 2015-16. However, teachers’ average hourly pay (in real terms, after adjusting for inflation) has decreased by 15 per cent since 2009/10. Over the same period, average hourly pay has fallen by 4 and 11 per cent for nurses and police officers.
  5. Teachers are satisfied with their jobs and income, but not with their leisure time. Nearly four in five teachers say they are satisfied with their jobs and income levels, which is mostly higher than the other professions. However, only 47 per cent of teachers say they are satisfied with their leisure time, the lowest of the three professions.


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The analysis finds that despite the background of falling real-terms pay and longer working hours, nearly four in five teachers say they are satisfied with their jobs and income levels, although fewer than half report they are content with the amount of leisure time they have.

This is fascinating research and highlights that teachers are not necessarily motivated by pay, but need to continually have to work a large amount of additional hours to keep up with the demands of the job. The workload conversation has never been more important …

You can download the full NFER report here.

3 thoughts on “How Does Teaching Compare To Nursing And Policing?

  1. Have you taken into account that teachers DO NIT have paid holidays?

    As far as I can find both police and nurses get paid holidays. Teacher pay is for 185 days of work then spread out over twelve months.

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