Teacher careers


New York City Department of Education Sergio De Mesa, a Model Teacher, in his class at P.S. K225, The Eileen E. Zaglin School in New York City, New York.

Research shows that successful education systems value teachers. They consistently attract high quality candidates, use training to develop teachers’ skills, focus on building teacher capacity, and establish career structures that reward good teaching.

Zooming in on the organization and management of teacher careers provides useful insights on how to make a teaching career more appealing. Many governments are looking for ways to diversify teacher career structures and to widen career advancement opportunities in order to attract and retain well-performing teachers in the profession. Appropriate policies and management of teachers’ careers are indeed critical in achieving quality teaching and learning and in addressing teacher scarcity.

This research project provides policy makers and governments with a variety of policy options with regards to the organization and management of teacher careers. It examines different types of teacher career models, management implications and perceived effects on teacher motivation, attraction and retention.

Teacher career reforms were investigated in varied contexts including ColombiaEthiopiaEcuadorLithuaniaMexicoNew York CityPeruScotlandthe Western Cape in South Africa and Thailand.

Countries entering in this process can learn from IIEP-UNESCO’s research findings through the forthcoming publications: country reports, a synthesis ‘Reforming teacher careers: learning from experience’, and a set of four policy briefs:

Why reform teacher careers and what models are emerging?How do teachers perceive career structure reforms
and how does this affect the profession?


Designing teacher career structures and
evaluating staff performance
Implementing teacher career
structure reform


The synthesis ‘Reforming teacher careers: learning from experience’  brings together IIEP's research findings on teacher career models in various countries.

How can governments transform teaching into an attractive career choice for today’s youth? Countries all over the world are grappling with this question, as well as with the related challenges of poor working conditions and dwindling retention rates in the profession. In this context, teacher career reforms have the potential to be very powerful. To better understand the models that are being implemented, the related challenges, and their effects, IIEP-UNESCO investigated the organization and management of teacher careers in Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Lithuania, Mexico, Peru, Scotland, South Africa, Thailand, and New York City. This publication brings together IIEP’s research findings.

>> Download the publication

>> Read the executive summary ?

>> Read an interview with the authors 


Exploring the impact of career models on teacher motivation

If a qualified and motivated teaching force is key to achieving the Education 2030 goals, teacher career structures may represent a powerful leverage to improve teachers’ motivation. Drawing on the experience of a wide range of countries, this book explores the links between career structures and teacher motivation, identifying different models of teacher career organization and related implementation challenges. It offers valuable guidance to educational planners and human resource managers seeking ways to make the teaching career more attractive to potential candidates and to motivate those already on the job.

>> Download the publication

>> Read an interview with the author  

Blogs, articles & videos

Barbara Tournier - How to make teaching jobs more attractive?
GPE/Alexandra Humme
GPE/Alexandra Humme
3 ways to attract future teachers
Une enseignante et ses élèves dans une école de Guyaquil, en Équateur
A teacher and her students in a school in Guyaquil, Ecuador
Teacher salaries: A prerequisite for reform
Reimagining teacher careers for the 21st century 
Could new career opportunities lead to greater teacher motivation?
Teacher career reforms: learning from country
IIEPCareer structures can improve teacher motivation
Motivate teachers to improve learning