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36 Professionally Speaking March 2020 New Era Uncertainties BY FRANK MCINTYRE, DAVID TALLO AND ELIZABETH MALCZAK N ew Ontario teachers report more success joining Ontario district school boards in the 2018–19 school year than at any time over the last 12 years. The College's latest Transition to Teaching survey finds unemployment among first-year Ontario graduates now down to just five per cent. Teachers in years two through five average three per cent unemployment. These rates are far below the 34 and 21 per cent rates recorded as recently as 2014. First-year unemployment is even below the seven per cent rate recorded back in 2008. The Ontario district school board share of first-year teacher hires is up, with 86 per cent of all education graduates who entered the profession in 2018–19 hired by Ontario English- or French-language board employers. Out-of-province teaching fell from 13 per cent in our 2017 survey to just six per cent in 2019. Ontario independent school teaching is also down over two years, from 15 to six per cent. Despite the strengthening Ontario labour market, early-career employ- ment is still precarious for many early-career teachers — especially among English-language teachers. Secondary school class size and e-learning initiatives may well prolong the time it takes for new teachers to find permanent jobs in Ontario schools. The labour market for Ontario teachers surveyed in 2019 is radically different from that of five years ago. In the 2013–14 school year, far more early-career teachers competed for occasional roster, long-term occa- sional (LTO) and permanent teaching jobs than in 2018–19. In 2014, almost 33,000 Ontario graduates licensed during the preceding five years were teaching or actively looking for teaching jobs in the province. An estimated 7,700 of them were unem- ployed. Five years later, the compar- able labour market-active group had dropped in size more than 30 per cent to about 22,500. With average un- employment plummeting from 24 to four per cent, the estimated number unemployed is now just 800. Similar sharp declines in unemploy- ment occurred among newly licensed teachers in Ontario who completed their teacher education outside of the province. By 2019, this group had also dropped significantly in size, their unemployment rates were down and our estimate of unemployed teachers among them plummeted from the 2014 level of about 3,900 to under 600. Unemployment among new teachers should remain low over the next several years for a few reasons. Provincial elementary-secondary enrolment numbers are gradually increasing. Far fewer new teachers are joining the profession compared with the levels that drove the teacher surplus in past years. And the number of teachers retiring over the next several years will be higher than they have been in more than a decade. School boards can expect continued shortages of French-language and French as a Second Language (FSL) teachers. Recruitment challenges will also increase for boards trying to fill English-language daily occasional The decade-long teacher surplus in Ontario is over, with new teachers once again in high demand. However, uncertainty prevails on the impact of class size on early-career teacher employment. ILLUSTRATION: ISTOCK PHOTO

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