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How to reduce your spend on agency teaching staff


Funding cuts are an all too familiar problem across the education sector in recent years and this has meant that institutions, both small and large, from schools to universities, are having to reduce spend in other areas so not to negatively affect their ability to provide the best education to their students.

An area that cuts should be made but are sometimes difficult to make them to is recruitment – it’s almost a catch 22 situation for many institutions; recruitment is a necessary spend, but it can be done internally by an in-house recruitment or HR team. However, there is a teacher shortage, in particular for STEM teachers, which has meant that when a teacher in this area leaves the school, or is ill, or off on maternity leave, a replacement is needed.

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The costs sky-rocket for many institutions here, when they are forced to approach recruitment agencies for assistance with filling the roles due to it being short notice or, a difficult role to fill. Fees can be anywhere from 5% to 30% of the basic salary, and in times of budget cuts, this can be a crippling cost for any institution.

Mark O’Brien, HR Systems and Data Manager at Cardiff & Vale College took on the Vacancy Filler Recruitment Solution to try and combat this problem through reducing other recruitment associated costs and managing the process internally, he said, “The whole education sector is experiencing funding cuts and we have to work as efficiently as possible – automating the process and working with Vacancy Filler has allowed us to free up resources.”

Bringing the recruitment process In-house means that the HR and recruitment teams are able to benefit from not only a more streamlined and manageable process, but also Talent Pooling. Talent Pooling allows the institution to store the details of candidates who were very well suited to the role they applied for previously, but fell slightly short when it came to offering the job. Storing these candidates means that when a new role comes up, the relevant candidates from previous campaigns can be invited to apply.

Sarah Trouse, Resourcing and Welfare Officer at Burton and South Derbyshire College said, “We now use agencies occasionally for emergency cover only – sickness for example – not permanent roles. Before the system, we used agencies for long term interim roles, but not anymore.”

The Vacancy Filler Recruitment System has removed the need for Burton and South Derbyshire College to use to agencies for permanent roles – only turning to agencies for short term supply staff which is delivering a huge cost saving. There are additional benefits to using a recruitment solution that many won’t consider when looking at the potential savings.

Jon Downing, HR Performance & Improvement Advisor at Newcastle Under-Lyme College found a huge saving in paper after taking on the Vacancy Filler Recruitment Solution, “The biggest area of ROI for us is with the shortlisting packs, they’re pretty much obsolete now, everything is done digitally through the system – this is a massive time saver for us. The added benefit to this is the saving in resources that we are making, we run an almost paperless recruitment process which means we are much greener than before.”

Institutions can really benefit from a more streamlined recruitment process in terms of cost, time and resource savings, and with the current budget cuts in place, this is an ideal solution to prevent the need for cuts in spend in other areas where funding can be used for the purpose of learning.

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