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Teaching in Focus

Teaching in Focus policy briefs use data from the OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) to discuss issues relevant to teachers and teacher policies in a concise, user-friendly way.

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Who wants to become a teacher and why?

On average across OECD countries, 4.2% of 15-year-old students expect to work as teachers – a greater proportion than the share of teachers in the adult population.  In many countries, 15-year-old students who expect to work as teachers have lower mathematics and reading scores than students who expect to work in other professions that, like teaching, require at least a university degree. However, data from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills show that the numeracy skills of teachers tend to be similar to the numeracy skills of other degree holders. The skills gap between students who expect a career in teaching and those who expect a career as another type of professional is often larger in low-performing versus top-performing countries. Countries with higher teacher salaries (relative to GDP) and higher perceptions of the social value of the teaching profession have, on average, larger shares of students who expect to work as teachers.

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