The private sector is a very different work environment to the public sector, with an entirely different focus on interaction with staff and clients alike. The private sector encompasses all businesses that are not operated or owned by the government, and that work for profit.
The UK private sector is a huge part of the economy, making up just over 80% of the country’s GDP.
If you are considering jobs after teaching in private sector, there are many important factors to consider, such as benefits, salary, job security and – crucially – the potential employer’s reputation.
The private sector has many fields, each with their own breadth. These mainly include:
- Small and medium sized businesses
- Large multinationals
- Management roles
- Retail banking
- Trade unions
- Partnerships such as legal, accounting, tax and dentistry
- Private healthcare
- Media organisations
This list is not exhaustive – and remember that within businesses there is an entire world of different career options and responsibilities for ex-teachers. You’ll find, as well, that many professions that appear in the public sector will often have a counterpart in the private sector too.
As a state school teacher, you will have had direct experience of working in the public sector. Whatever your reasons for leaving it, whether you're looking to increase your earning potential, follow a passion or you'd simply like a change of scenery, there are lots of things to think about before taking the leap.
What to Consider for Life after Teaching
Resigning from the public sector is a big move, and you should think about the consequences of this decision. But if you feel that your interests and skills are best suited to a role within the private sector, then it is by no means impossible to leave one for the other.
For most careers in the private sector you will need to get qualified for the role, which as a teacher, you might find that you already possess. It could also mean that you will need to retrain for a particular profession.
In general, careers in the private sector have higher salaries than in the public sector. That said, the public sector offers many benefits that often aren’t matched in the private sector. Some people find that the benefits available in public sector jobs are worth taking a lower salary for.
The private sector, due to its competitive nature, means that salaries can get very high. To get an idea of what you can potentially expect to earn, good indicator is to do some market research into your area of interest, and look out for stabilities or patterns.
Many private sector jobs offer their own benefits, which can include substantial healthcare benefits and retirement packages.
If you are thinking of working in the private sector, it’s also important to consider the security of your job. Government jobs are often permanent positions, usually after a probation period, with solid security. This is not always the case for private sector jobs.
There is a higher level of vulnerability for employees in the private sector, which is influenced by various market forces and fluctuations. Private sector organisations work in competitive markets, so there isn’t the same sense of security as with the public sector.
A final thing to think about is your mind set as you approach a career in the private sector. The fundamental difference between the two sectors is that of commerce. After all, the private sector business objective is generating profit back to the owner.
This concept can sometimes be quite challenging for people who are used to working in the public sector where money is simply a means of delivering services, rather than something to be made from those services. It can also sometimes be a hurdle to get private sector employees to see your potential in achieving their business objectives.
To overcome these challenges, really consider your strengths, transferable skills, experiences and human qualities. What would make you stand out for a private sector role? What kind of career would you suit as a former teacher?
In order to achieve success as a teacher, you need to be resourceful, enthusiastic, creative, driven, and most of all, you need to be organised.
Think about how you will present these qualities to prospective employers both on your CV and by citing examples in an interview. The more you apply your personal skills gained from teaching to your job applications and resume, the more potential the future employers are likely to see in you as an applicant.
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Jobs for Teachers in The Business World
Although the world of teaching can seem quite distant from the world of business, there are actually many fundamental similarities. Your education degree and skills as a teacher, and your knowledge of people and development could make you an ideal business employee.
There are many areas of business you can get involved in as an ex-teacher. Some of the main fields are sales, marketing, management, human resources and entrepreneurship. There is also much scope for positions of leadership and big responsibility.
As a teacher, you are a natural manager. You can navigate tough situations, organise activity and a workforce, and juggle many tasks at once. Many teachers find careers in management with no further training or qualification – although there are many retraining options available.
It’s possible, if you feel you wish to stay in the field of education, to move into sales of school supplies. With your insight and experience of the world of education and school life, you will no doubt know exactly what teachers and schools need. You may also have important connections that can help you conduct and grow a successful business.
As a teacher you will no doubt have a strong understanding of human relationships, needs and behaviour. This kind of intuition is what companies want to help them market their products.
Marketing requires a lot of intelligence and creativity. You need to understand the product, the market and the audience, and be able to transmit a message in an inventive, persuasive way.
There are numerous kinds of marketing jobs, in both traditional and online forms, that teachers are professionally and creatively equipped for.
In the modern world, online marketing has become a huge field, with many roles in search engine marketing and optimisation. If you are an IT teacher, or have a good knowledge of IT, you might find that this work will stimulate your love of your subject, whilst also allowing you to get more creative and versatile with your work.
Did you know that 41 per cent of ex-teachers are now in a marketing role of some description?
This figure might be surprising, however, the popularity of marketing jobs among former teachers is surely down to the similarities shared by both sectors, regardless of the subject being taught or the product being marketed.
Marketing, like teaching, is an area that requires a high level of creativity. As someone who has had to use their creativity for lesson planning as well as for enhancing communication with each learner, this means that you will be used to developing ideas in a structured way as well as making them accessible to young learners.
'Marketing' is a broad term which encompasses all kinds of roles from public relations to organising promotional events - so how do you get started in looking for marketing jobs as a former teacher?
First, as with any job search, think about the reasons you're leaving teaching and use them to set out your requirements for your new career. Are you looking for more structure in your professional life? Is the prospect of career development important to you?
If you don't currently have any marketing experience, it might be worthwhile to consider taking a course from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Not only will an accredited CIM qualification let you get to grips with marketing, it will also show employers that you're genuinely interested in the area as well as being dedicated to your personal and professional development.
Here are just a few of the qualifications offered by the CIM:
- Foundation Certificate in Marketing: This level 3 qualification covers the basics of marketing including the fundamental principles of marketing and the option to expand your digital know-how or communication skills.
- Certificate in Professional Marketing: This is an intermediate qualification at level 4 which looks closely at the impact of marketing decisions on the customer.
- Diploma in Professional Marketing: At level 6, this is a more advanced yet still intermediate award. You will learn about implementing your ideas in an effective way as well as measuring the impact of your marketing decisions.
Gaining additional qualifications is not a requirement of landing a marketing job, and you can always think about doing them once you've settled into a marketing role.
Moving into any job in a private sector will be daunting, especially in such a fast-paced area as marketing, however, with plenty of research, thinking about how you can apply your skills and crucially, thinking abuot your connections in the marketing industry, the transition with be made far smoother.
Starting Your Own Business
If you’re interested in getting involved with the business world and are self-motivated, why not start up your own company? Think about a product you could sell, and analyse the appropriate markets looking for gaps or patterns.
Quite often, great business ideas spring from hobbies. Is there anything you are particularly passionate about? Perhaps an area you feel is neglected by companies? You could be the person to put things right by sharing your passions.
As a teacher, there is so much experience that you could draw upon when starting up your own business. Innovation, understanding of human needs and behaviour, communication and organisation are all crucial skills in the world of business.
One ex-teacher from Brighton went on to create his own café business after leaving teaching due to the negative atmosphere created by the 2008 financial crash.
Dan Cook started by purchasing an outdated builders' café as the skeleton for his dream. After renovating the building and fulfilling the demand in the area for such an eatery, Dan says he has not only learnt a great deal from his career change, but he has also made great use of the transferable skills gained from his experience as an educator.
Leaving teaching to pursue something completely new is one thing, but what if the reason you're leaving teaching isn't teaching itself? It's not uncommon for teachers to love sharing their knowledge yet feel as if the school environment is stifling or demotivating them.
If this sounds familiar to you, and you're thinking about starting a business, you might consider starting up your own private tutoring company! If it’s teaching that you are passionate about, but the state system is the problem, then why not start up your own home tutoring jobs London or in the UK and be your own boss?
There are many ways to get started in private tutoring, and you can have completely free reign over when you work and who you work with. There are many agencies available to help you get the ball rolling, and online platforms such as Superprof, which allow you to advertise your business to a wide audience.
As a teacher, you will have a good idea of the national curriculum when it comes to your subject or age group. This makes you a perfect candidate for parents who want to give their kids a boost whether they're talented and striving for greatness, or simply need to build their confidence at school.
Because of your wealth of professional experience in the classroom, your expertise will be in very high demand, especially if you're working in the same school district you used to teach in. This means that your earning potential will be significantly higher than those of other tutors, who may only have experience of their subject at undergraduate level.
A high earning potential will give you more security as you establish yourself in them tutoring market and work out where you want to take your business.
Alternatively, if you have your sights set on another career, tutoring is great for bridging the gap during the transition. So, whether you're applying for jobs or taking a course, tutoring is an easy way to maintain your financial stability while you do so.
If you are starting up your own business, you will be a sole trader. You will therefore need to register as self-employed with the tax office, and think about appropriate insurance to protect yourself, your equipment and your business.
If your business grows and you start employing members of staff, there are additional security measures and insurance policies to take into consideration to keep your company and your employees safe.
Alternative Jobs for Teachers within the Private Sector
Although the private sector is fundamentally made up of competitive businesses and organisations working for profit, there are many professions that work within these.
Perhaps you want to retrain for a career in healthcare – such as nursing, dietetics or midwifery, for example. Although these are often government funded training programs, there is ample opportunity to start a career in the private sector once you have obtained a sufficient amount of experience working in public healthcare.
Private healthcare organisations tend to have far fewer patients to look after, and much better standards of work environment. Both patients and staff are looked after differently to the public sector, and many private organisations will offer employees private benefits and packages in return.
For instance, employees of Macmillan Cancer Support receive private health care packages paid for by their employer with the option of free cover for their families, too.
There are also careers such as accounting, banking and law to consider. There are many training courses available, both full and part-time, to prepare you for a career in a specialised company if that’s where you feel you wish to be.
One former maths teacher turned to accountancy for two reasons: his numeracy skills and the flexibility of accounting jobs.
But where do you start if you suddenly decide that accounting is the ideal path for you?
Obviously, you'll need to gain the relevant qualifications before you apply for jobs as an accountant or set up your own accountancy services.
As a teacher, you'll already have a degree - but don't worry if it's not related to accounting or finance! Anyone can take courses in accounting at college level, and the minimum requirement for those wishing to enter a career in accounting is an AAT qualification. Once you have gained you AAT qualification, there are other courses you can take such as the ACCA or CIMA if you wish to become a chartered accountant.
Here is a brief summary of the qualifications available:
|AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians)||Level 2 - Level 4||Comprised of three qualifications at three different levels, students are introduced to bookkeeping and basic accounting skills as well as gaining hands-on experience.||6-18 months per qualification||£700-£3000 per qualification|
|ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Qualification||Level 4||Made up of two levels of Diploma in Accounting and Business. Students learn how to apply their knowledge and cover the ethics of accounting.||18 months - 2.5 years||Dependent on study mode|
|CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) Certificate in Business Accounting||Level 5||A foundation qualification for students with little to no knowledge of accounting.||1 year||£1500|
Many teachers transition into a career in writing or publishing. These are such vast and varied career paths, which a strongly interlinked with one another. Careers in this field can range from writing, editing, copywriting, proofreading – and also encompass sales and marketing.
As a teacher, you will no doubt be a great writer, with skills in editing and proofreading too. You will have an analytical mind and a keen eye for detail. In the world of publishing, these skills are invaluable.
You may even like the idea of writing and publishing content for school textbooks. Organisations such as Macmillan Education and Palgrave Higher Education welcome proposals from aspiring educational authors to be used in their books.
Whether you wish to remain in the area of education, or want to broaden your horizons and stretch to something new and more creative, writing and editing could be the perfect change from the classroom.
This is a great way to have a taste of something different with regards to your professional skills: instead of sharing your knowledge through teaching, writing your own tasks for student textbooks may allow you to put your teaching methods on paper and create content which is inspired by your own experience of life in the classroom.
If you're someone who loves your subject, yet feels that it's time to get out of teaching, the private-sector career you choose to pursue will likely be influenced by your degree subject or the discipline you teach.
Maybe you are a languages teacher, or a natural linguist? You could get out of the school system and use your languages in a practical, business environment! In the ever-growing world of global communications, your language skills could land you a job as a translator or interpreter.
There are training programmes available for both translation and interpreting, but these aren’t always a requirement. Some training is usually preferred – but as an instructor in a foreign language, you will already have valuable qualifications and experience that would make you an attractive potential employee.
Taking on translation work as a freelancer is a great way to get a feel for translation before you consider taking it on as a career. To get started, all you have to do is sign up to freelancing websites and bid on the jobs that are advertised. Once you have gained some experience and worked with a few different clients, you may wish to gain a formal qualification in the field.
Masters degrees in translation are available, but it is usually more worthwhile to take the CIoL DipTrans exam. This is because while an MA in translation will teach you about using translation software and specialist vocabulary, the CIoL Level 7 Diploma in Translation is a notoriously challenging exam and therefore more highly respected by some institutions.
When it comes to the field of interpreting, formal training in the area is always advised. Interpreting is about far more than being fluent in more than one language: it is a skill in itself which needs to be learnt.
Interpreting is about on-the-spot, verbal translation, so practitioners need to gain as much experience as possible alongside getting to know each of their languages inside-out.
With languages, there are also many international teaching job opportunities to teach English abroad. If you have a TEFL certification, you might consider teaching English overseas as a foreign language or providing corporate language training. This is a brilliant option for teachers of any subject as you do not have to be bilingual and your experience from your teaching career will only be advantageous.
Looking for teaching opportunities abroad is a great way to enjoy a change of scenery whilst enhancing your resume. Numbers of native English-speaking ESL teacher jobs overseas are highest in Far Eastern countries, however, if you'd like to carry on teaching your usual subject, whether it's chemistry, biology, mathematics or geography, you could look for vacancies at an international school in your country of interest.
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