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News article29 January 2021European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

The future of work: Teaching professionals

The Skills Forecast from Cedefop allows us to imagine how the world of work might look in 10 years’ time by forecasting future employment trends. In this series of articles, we look at the potential challenges and changes facing certain professions.

The future of work: Teaching professionals

The next occupation under investigation is teaching. Teaching professionals are those responsible for holding classes, seminars or lectures at different educational levels and in various academic disciplines, spanning both general education and vocational education and training (VET).

Key facts                                  

  • Around 11 million people in the EU were employed as teaching professionals in 2018.
  • Employment in teaching increased by 2% in the 12-year period from 2006 but is expected to decrease by 2% by 2030.
  • So-called “21st century skills” have shifted the focus towards learner-centred education and set higher skills benchmarks.
  • Some 84% of teaching professionals held high-level qualifications in 2018.
  • The share of women employed in this profession was 71% in 2018.

Tasks and skills

The key tasks and skills are listed below in a basic order of overall importance:

  • Teach, train and coach
  • Creativity and resolution
  • Gather and evaluate information
  • Literacy
  • Autonomy
  • Teamwork
  • Service and attend (i.e. providing support)
  • Sell and influence (i.e. using persuasive skills)
  • Use of ICT

What are the trends for the future?

  • Around 5.3 million job openings will need to be filled between by 2030.
  • New teaching and training jobs are expected to be created in 13 of the 28 analysed countries.
  • Employment is expected to grow significantly in Croatia, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Ireland and Romania, and decrease considerably in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal.
  • The proportion of teachers with high-level qualifications is not expected to change in the period 2018-2030.

Which drivers of change will affect their skills?

Teaching professionals need subject-specific knowledge and soft skills. They also need to keep pace with evolving practices. The following drivers are likely to change their skills profile in the coming years.

  • Learner-centred education: This continuing trend will require teachers to develop skills that help them work collaboratively with students and provide tailored teaching. They will also need the skills to adapt to the increasing focus on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in education policy.
  • Technology: Advancements in digital learning will mean teachers need new technological skills, such as the capacity to manage online learning platforms, create open educational resources and use digital media. In VET, teachers may need specific technical expertise to use advanced technologies.
  • Demographic patterns: With only a third of teaching professionals aged under 40, some countries may have higher levels of ICT literacy among students than among teachers. Such skills gaps will need to be addressed.
  • Globalisation: Teachers need a global perspective to help their students develop an international outlook. In increasingly diverse classrooms, they also need to understand different cultures and provide inclusive education.

Almost half of the EU countries are also placing particular emphasis on improving skills of science, technology and mathematics (STEM) teachers.

How can these skills needs be met?

Education and training will be essential to addressing teachers’ skills needs, including supporting them to adapt to technological advances and learner-centred education.

Policymakers also need to come together to develop comprehensive approaches to diversity, including engaging with stakeholders, parents and community groups. The Commission is also prioritising the professionalisation of early childhood education staff.

Want to know more about the Skills Forecast and what the future holds for jobs in Europe? Take a look at our overview article for this series and our articles on legal, social and cultural professions, hospitality and retail managers and ICT professionals[DS1] .


Related links:

Skills Forecast

Teaching professionals: skills opportunities and challenges (2019 update)

The EU job market and workplace in the 2020s

The future of work: Legal, social and cultural professions

The future of work: Hospitality and retail managers

The future of work: ICT professionals[DS2] 


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Articles are intended to provide users of the EURES portal with information on current topics and trends and to stimulate discussion and debate. Their content does not necessarily reflect the view of the European Labour Authority (ELA) or the European Commission. Furthermore, EURES and ELA do not endorse third party websites mentioned above.