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What are employers really looking for?

As the start of a new school year beckons and thoughts turn to a fresh start and possibly a new job, we thought it’s a good time to have a look at what employers are really looking for.

The KHDA’s Private Schools Landscape report 2012 – 2013 mentions that annual teacher turnover is significant, 16% of teachers that were teaching in a private school last academic year were not teaching at that school the following year. This suggests that certainly in Dubai teachers are changing jobs more often, there’s no hard and fast reason why this is, though the mix of different curriculums coupled with the diverse cultural nationalities present in schools means it’s an ever changing and challenging environment.

A recent article on the BBC website cites a study that suggests that employers prefer “soft” skills rather than technical knowledge in graduates when they are recruiting (http://bbc.in/XiyWPF), and certainly a survey referenced by Forbes.com (http://onforb.es/1gFUx93) seems to back this up. They say that, “Despite all the emphasis in the news about the need for computer software and programming skills, the most important qualities employers seek are basic teamwork, problem-solving and the ability to plan and prioritise”. According to Forbes, the top 10 skills that employers say they seek in order of importance are:

  1. Ability to work in a team
  2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems
  3. Ability to plan, organise and prioritise work
  4. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
  5. Ability to obtain and process information
  6. Ability to analyse quantitative data
  7. Technical knowledge related to the job
  8. Proficiency with computer software programs
  9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports
  10. Ability to sell and influence others

But how does this translate to educational institutions, each schools is different and certainly many international schools have specific needs and requirements. Research here is key, knowing the current trends and specific needs of the country, school and curriculum.

To find out more we asked Diane Jacoutot, Managing Director of Edvectus (an agency specialising in the recruitment of teachers to international schools worldwide, and has offices in Dubai, London, Toronto, Sydney, Hong Kong and Auckland. To find out more visit www.edvectus.com) what are employers really looking for?

“The number of international schools is growing in the UAE and Gulf States much faster than in other parts of the world. So there are more opportunities than ever for a qualified teacher,

  1. They must be able to hire you.  Sounds simple but it’s not. Schools must meet Ministry of Education and visa requirements that are set for their school. This will include specific teacher training, curriculum knowledge, nationalities and teaching experience, and it is different from school to school.  Read the school website to find out what they need, and don’t apply if the school can’t hire you. It wastes everyone’s time.
  2. They want you to know them. Quality is better than quantity. Do your research and write a specific cover letter for each school indicating what you know about them and what you can bring to their school. What do you know about the region, the school and the school’s curriculum? Make sure your CV outlines your education, teacher training and specific teaching experience (Why? See point number 1) your age, nationality, availability and your personal/family status.
  3. They want you to make a difference to their school. Education is a service industry and happy, well-educated children lead to happy parents which lead to happy owners.  Schools want teachers who will inspire children and get results.  So it’s not about what a school can do for you (“I want to work in Dubai”), but what you can do for your school.
  4. They want good teachers to stay.  Turnover in a typical international school is about 20% a year, but schools want teachers who will stay and grow with their school, rather than someone who will jump at the next shiny new opportunity that comes along. Are you committed?

Finding a job is a bit of an art and a bit of a science, and finding the right job should be the goal of every career minded teacher. Best of luck!”

So whilst this isn’t an exhaustive list, we hope that this is of some help, we’d be interested in hearing your comments, tips and advice for those teachers looking for jobs in Dubai – these can be submitted below or via @gesseducation on Twitter.