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Job Prospects Hold Steady for Future OCTs

By Frank McIntyre
Infographics: Hannah Browne/Studio 141

The College’s 2016 survey of new teachers holds much promise for the early graduating classes from Ontario’s Enhanced Teacher Education Program. Despite a transitional one-time spike in newly licensed teachers in 2015, the 2016 Transition to Teaching survey shows the trend of improved first-year full employment may have paused, but it did not change track. Job prospects for education candidates now in the new program appear more promising than entrants to teaching faced in years past.

For the fourth year in a row, our annual poll of recently licensed teachers shows more newly licensed education graduates in Ontario found as much work as they wanted in their first-year — up from 42 per cent in 2015 to 47 per cent in 2016, and almost double the meagre 24 per cent reporting full employment back in 2013. Unemployment edged up in 2016 among new teachers while reports of first-year underemployment fell. The resultant small gain in teachers saying they are fully employed continues the multiyear job market recovery. This occurred despite a year-over-year increase of more than 2,400 newly licensed teachers.

Ontario education graduates of earlier years also report stronger employment status in 2016. Back in 2013, at the height of Ontario’s teacher surplus, more than half of new Ontario teachers took four years to achieve what they considered full employment. Now that happens by the end of the first year of licensing. Less than one in 10 Ontario teachers in 2016 say they are unemployed in their third, fourth and fifth years in the profession.

First-year teachers graduating from French-language programs at Laurentian and Ottawa universities continue to report single-digit unemployment. While many more French-language qualification licenses were issued in 2015 than in the previous year, unemployment for these new Ontario teachers still came in at just nine per cent. Although up from four per cent in 2015, unemployment now stands at just half the peak rate of 18 per cent in 2014 among French-language graduates.

French as a Second Language (FSL) teachers enjoy the most positive employment outcomes. At just five per cent unemployment, their Ontario hiring rate continues to strongly outpace new FSL teacher job success two and three years ago.

New English-language teachers in 2016 continue to be challenged in an Ontario job market still crowded from years of oversupply. About one in three new English-program graduates lacking FSL qualifications are unemployed, and another one in four say they could not get as many teaching days as they wanted during their first year of teaching. Just two in five are fully employed in the first year as licensed teachers.

Intermediate-Senior graduates from English-language programs report less first-year unemployment (24 per cent) than those from Primary-Junior (37 per cent) and Junior-Intermediate (34 per cent) programs. Subject qualifications also make a significant difference. Those with math, sciences and/or computer studies in their qualifications report just 16 per cent unemployment compared with 28 per cent among English-language Intermediate-Senior grads without these qualifications, French or FSL.

There were over 2,400 more Ontario teachers licensed in 2015 than the annual average for the preceding three years. The small increase in first-year teacher unemployment in 2016 may be an effect of increased competition among this larger new entrant cohort. About half of the 2,400 newly licensed teachers in 2015, however, did not renew their College memberships in 2016 and probably did not seek teaching jobs in the 2015–16 school year. This likely moderated the potential job market impact of the jump in new entrants. The improving trends for most job success indicators of the past few years slowed in 2016 but did not reverse.

The balance of new teacher supply and teaching job vacancies in Ontario will be radically different through the end of this decade, compared with the annual teacher surpluses over the past 10 years. Rather than 10,000 to 12,000 newly licensed teachers each year, annual new licenses will settle in at about 5,000 after the 2016 transitional new program year.

A moderate rise is anticipated in annual Ontario teacher retirements from about 4,500 to about 5,000 in the medium term. Job vacancies will also increase because of forecast growth in student enrolment beginning next year and accelerating in the years to come.

The cumulative surplus of unemployed and underemployed English-language teachers from the earlier oversupply years likely includes a significant number of teachers still available to fill job vacancies. One can anticipate that it will take some years of this rebalancing of new teacher supply and annual teacher demand before future first-year English-language teachers begin to report single-digit unemployment. Nonetheless, year after year of fewer new teachers than job vacancies will gradually lower first-year unemployment rates and lead to earlier full employment for new teachers in the future.

The picture is much different for French-language program graduates.

"Job vacancies are expected to increase because of forecast growth in student enrolment beginning next year and accelerating in the years to come."

With about 725 to 850 graduates obtaining Ontario teaching licenses annually over the past several years, first-year unemployment is already minimal. With the annual intake falling to about 340 in the years ahead, continued low rates of unemployment for this market segment are assured. With FSL employment rates also in single digits, French-language teacher recruitment should be challenging for many school boards throughout the province.

Among the legacies of the teacher surplus years is a sharp rise in the rate of non-renewal of College memberships. Back in 2005, fewer than one in 20 new members failed to renew in the first year after licensing and under one in 10 after five years. The years of increasing early career unemployment saw these loss rates accelerate and are now almost double the rates of a decade ago.

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Study

In November 2016, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, a government advisory agency, published a study on labour market trends and outlooks for six of Ontario’s regulated professions. Highlights from its research on elementary and secondary education include:

2015 New Teacher Numbers

In 2015, many grads of Ontario faculties from previous years who had not become College members decided to obtain their teaching licences prior to the implementation of the two-year Enhanced Teacher Education Program. This one-year bump in new members did not affect the job market trends significantly; many of the individuals who already deferred teaching careers did not renew their Ontario teaching licences in 2016.

About Our Survey

The Transition to Teaching 2016 survey of new teachers examines job entry and professional experiences of teacher education graduates from 2006 through 2015, and new-to-Ontario teachers educated elsewhere and Ontario-certified in 2014 and 2015. Web-based surveys were used with large samples from each of these groups of early-career teachers. Responses were received from 5,528 teachers.

Response rates varied from 16 to 27 per cent of the sample groups, with an average 21 per cent return overall.

The accuracy rate is 1.9 per cent overall and 1.8 to 4.7 per cent for the individual survey components, 19 times out of 20.

The Transition to Teaching study is made possible by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education. This report does not necessarily reflect the policies, views and requirements of the Ministry.

The full report of this year’s study is available on the College website at