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Educators Are Leaving the Workforce for Other Careers

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Teachers are leaving their jobs for other careers at a rate that has grown steadily every year in the past three years.

The Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) database explores job-to-job workflows on a quarterly basis. The chart below shows that the departure rate is increasing steadily and shows no signs of slowing down. Several research groups, such as the Learning Policy Institute, have shown a similar trend.

The majority of educators leaving Educational Services (NAICS Sector 61) are starting careers in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector. Over the past three years, the grand total of job-to-job transfers — not including the ones that stay in educational services — is greater than the number that stay in educational services.

Job-to-Job Flows from Educational Services to 19 Industries

Average of 2012 Q1 - 2014 Q3

So why are educators leaving for these specific types of careers? For starters, some jobs in Healthcare and Social Assistance, which includes nurses, child care and family assistance services, often require some of the same skills. “Administrative Services,” which includes office workers, is another category that attracts many educators leaving the workforce. Moves to these industries are not surprising since they are two of the largest sectors of the economy.

The least likely careers educators flock to are: Real Estate and Licensing and Management of Companies and Enterprises.

Job-to-Job Flows by Age and Sex

Average of 2013 Q4 - 2014 Q3

The chart above shows the age ranges of educators who pursue a different career. Educators aged 25-34 are the largest cohort of job-to-job movers. These data are consistent with other reports. The trend has intensified discussion on teacher retention. Census Bureau data products, such as the LEHD Job-to-Job Flows, are instrumental in informing the debate by showing where educators are going.

Adam Grundy is a Supervisory Statistician in the Census Bureau’s International Trade Management Division.

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Page Last Revised - October 29, 2021
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