Working in the private sector can be a big change from the public system — with different conditions, responsibilities, expectations and benefits. If a business is not under government operation, and it is designed for profit, then it is considered to be in the private sector.
Despite a recent downturn, well over 80 per cent of Australia's GDP still comes from the private sector.
If you are thinking about applying for job vacancies in the private sector, you should first give some consideration to things like salary, superannuation and insurance, job security and work/holiday hours. Of course, the most important consideration is the reputation of the company or employer.
Encompassing a broad range of fields, the private sector includes:
- sole traders
- locally owned, small to medium businesses and partnerships
- large multinational companies
- private healthcare and schools
- smaller banks, financial institutions and retail banking
- community media organisations
- professional associations
Although the list is not complete, and it should be remembered that there are also government-owned fields, like banking and media, this list gives a good idea of the variety of opportunities available. Private companies and businesses offer a wide range of suitable jobs for ex-teachers.
If you have been working in the public school system, you will have a good understanding of the benefits and challenges of the public service. Before you make a definite decision to resign, however, whether for improved salary, job satisfaction or because you need a change, there are several points you need to consider.
Looking for the Best Jobs for Teachers in the Private Sector? Consider These Things First
Making any career change is a big thing but if you're considering leaving the public system for the private sector, or vice versa, you should weigh up the pros and cons of each sector first. You should also consider where your expertise will be put to the best use.
Experience gained throughout your teaching career may mean you already have the necessary qualifications for your chosen position. However, it is likely you will still need to undertake some level of retraining to bring your skills up to speed.
Depending on the field, it is likely you will be able to earn more in the private sector than in your current teaching job. On the other hand, the public system is known to provide more employee benefits than are available in the private sector. If salary isn't a major consideration for you, it may be that the benefits outweigh the earning potential.
While entry-level salaries may be average, the private sector is competitive, which is reflected in salaries and bonuses as you climb the corporate ladder. It could be beneficial to do a little bit of investigation into historical trends and patterns in rates of pay within the field you are considering.
In addition to attractive salaries, some businesses in the private sector also offer lucrative packages for areas like healthcare and retirement.
Job security is one of the major benefits of the public system but this does not necessarily apply to jobs in the private sector. Permanency in government positions is common following a trial period of employment, whereas private companies may work more on a fixed contract basis.
The instability of the private sector, owing to economic fluctuations and the highly competitive nature of the market, means that private companies can not guarantee the same level of job security, making their employees more vulnerable to redundancy and job loss.
The other thing to remember when you're weighing up the public and private sectors is that the private sector is all about profit generation. What this means for someone moving from the public sector is that their mindset may need a drastic change.
During a job interview for a position in the private sector, you not only need to prove you have the necessary transferable skills and qualifications, but you also need to show them you have the ability to help them achieve their objectives in the business, that is, making money.
To increase your chances of finding a job in the private sector, you need to take an in-depth look at yourself. What is going to make a potential employer believe you are the perfect candidate for the job? Which of your skills, experiences, traits and strengths do you need to emphasise? What are the best career options for you?
A successful school teacher has many qualities: initiative, creativity, calm under pressure, the ability to problem-solve and, above all else, exemplary organisation.
Potential employers want to see examples of these qualities on your resumes and in your interviews. Show your future employer that you can transfer your skills and personal traits into any position, from teaching to sales to management.
Can You Find Alternative Jobs for Teachers in Business?
Education and business may seem to be at the opposite ends of the career spectrum but there are actually more similarities than differences. Your knowledge of how people think and behave, your understanding of development processes and management — combine these with your academic background and teaching skills and you get the perfect business person.
When it comes to other jobs for teachers in the business world, the list is longer than you may realise. If you're serious about changing careers, leave your options open. Consider applying for jobs in human resources, marketing and sales — ex-teachers have the skills for all of these roles. What about starting your own business?
Teachers are perfect for managerial and leadership roles because this is what they do in the classroom. Managers carry a lot of responsibility, they solve problems, organise people and activities and they multi-task — so do teachers! With a little confidence, you will probably find you can enter a management career without the need for retraining, although this is always available if you want it.
A Career in Sales and Marketing
Teachers are natural communicators, so any career in sales would put those skills into good use. However, if you still want to stay in an education-related job, you may want to consider school resource sales. You could work for a company, or set up your own business. Either way, your practical knowledge of curriculum and resource needs, along with your connections, would be ideal for this role.
When it comes to marketing products, you need to know how to appeal to customers by playing on their needs, interests, innate behaviours and connections — again, this is something teachers do on a daily basis.
To market a product well, you not only need an understanding of the target consumer market and the product, you have to communicate information in an imaginative, original way. A good marketer is intelligent and persuasive.
Jobs in marketing are diverse and plentiful. In professional terms, marketing roles are the ideal jobs for ex teachers.
While traditional marketing is still important, in this age of technology, online marketing is massive. For a former IT teacher, or any teacher who has great IT skills, there are numerous roles requiring expertise in SEO and other position that allow you to make great use of your skills in creative ways.
The career paths in marketing offer some of the best jobs for teachers who are looking for creative and mental stimulation. In fact, research from 2015 showed that a staggering 41 per cent of ex teachers had moved into a marketing career. These days, it is likely the figure has grown because of the IT explosion and the similarities between marketing and teaching.
As with teaching, using creative techniques to present ideas and enhance communication is an essential component of many marketing roles. Marketers, like teachers, need to take a structured approach to planning in order to make ideas and concepts accessible for the target audience.
The term 'marketing' is a lot broader than just selling products. It involves everything from PR roles through to event management for promotional purposes.
How do you know where to start looking — or what field is right for you?
There are two questions to ask yourself before you start searching for jobs in marketing. Firstly, why do you want to leave teaching? When you answer this question, you can use your responses to answer the second question, namely: what do you want from your new job? For example, if you are leaving teaching because you feel like you're at a dead-end, then obviously career advancement is important to you.
It is worthwhile to note that you do not necessarily need extra qualifications to find a job in marketing, however, if you are interested in getting qualifications or other training, the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) website has all the information you need. AMI provides feedback to tertiary institutions on their marketing degrees and have a complete list of courses (as well as short training courses) on their site. Seeing targeted qualifications on your CV will show potential employers you are serious about your career development.
The AMI Tertiary Accredited programs include:
- Graduate Certificate courses in digital marketing communications; marketing; business
- Graduate Diploma courses in digital marketing communications; marketing
- Bachelor courses in commerce marketing; business marketing; marketing psychology; business management
- Master courses in management; marketing; business
Most courses can be taken part-time or full-time and can take anywhere from 12 months to 4 years to complete. As well as accredited qualifications, AMI also offers a full range of short courses in every marketing subject imaginable, as well as programs to place new employees with a mentor.
All career changes can be daunting, particularly if you are changing sectors and even more so if you are planning to transition into a field as developmentally fast-paced as marketing. However, if you take the time to think about your transferable skills, do your research, and forge connections, you'll be well on your way.
Becoming a Sole Trader — Starting a Business
There are many other jobs for teachers within businesses, but what if you don't want to work for someone else? A lot of teachers leave their jobs to set up their own business. It takes a little self-motivation, courage and research — but it's doable.
Don't know where to start? Have a look around you. What are your hobbies? Is there anything you feel strongly about? Are there 'things missing' in your community or other businesses? The best way to achieve success in business is to do something you love and are passionate about.
Once you've worked out what you want to sell, or what service you want to provide, your next step is to do a bit of market research. Where are the gaps in the market? Who's out there and what are they doing that works?
Don't forget to utilise all of your teaching experience. Remember that you have great initiative, you're creative, you understand how to interpret people's needs, you know how to get your ideas across and you've got organisational skills that are second to none!
Daniel Hunt felt bogged down in his job, so he identified what he loved the most about teaching and went on to create his own business providing targeted incursions for schools.
Not only does Daniel now get to do what he loves the most (planning and designing innovative, engaging and fun lessons, and presenting them as school incursions), schools and teachers also benefit from his knowledge and expertise. And — through building his business, he's realised exactly how many of his 'teaching' skills are transferable to other fields.
If you're like Daniel, and you don't actually want to give up actual 'teaching', another option for you is to set up a private tutoring business. If it's the education system you have an issue with, you can still indulge your love of sharing knowledge by finding tutoring jobs in Sydney or elsewhere in Australia. There's nothing like being your own boss.
Getting tutoring jobs is relatively easy, but there are also agencies who can get you started, or platforms like Superprof where you can create a profile and advertise your tutoring service. The biggest bonus is that you have total flexibility regarding the hours you work and who you choose as your clients.
Parents want tutors who are up-to-date with teaching practices and subject content. Ex-teachers are perfect in this respect because they know how to access and use the Australian Curriculum and have a toolkit of strategies to draw upon, whether their student needs extension, intervention or confidence building.
As a qualified and experienced teacher, people will be more willing to pay you a higher hourly rate than many other, less experienced tutors.
Knowing your business will have a good earning potential will give you peace of mind as you navigate the market and find your niche.
Tutoring positions are also the best jobs for teachers who are looking for temporary work and income while they undertake retraining for an alternative career or are investigating job vacancies.
There are many administrative things to think about when you start out as a sole trader. Get an ABN, register your business name, let the ATO know, organise insurance (like public liability and professional indemnity) ... seek advice if you need to. The Australian Government business site is a great place to look.
Make sure you know what to do, too, in terms of insurance and wage tax, if you need to employ staff.
Other Jobs for Teachers Who Want to Transfer to the Private Sector
Jobs in the private sector do not only have to be in businesses and companies. There are multiple professions that operate in both the public and private sectors (like schools!)
One of these is the health profession. Healthcare professionals, like nurses or nutritionists, are often popular alternative jobs for teachers as they are still within the caring, nurturing field. When you are training, your course and practical sessions may be in the government system, but you are free to transfer to the private healthcare providers once you are qualified.
In the private healthcare sector, work conditions are often better with less patients and shorter shifts. There may also be other benefits, including healthcare packages.
You may also want to look at a career as an accountant, in finance and banking, or in the legal system. Full-time and part-time courses are readily available, as are internships in certain companies and organisations.
Maths teachers may enjoy a new career in accounting — it offers a great opportunity to make practical use of their maths knowledge and accounting skills are in high demand.
If accounting sounds like a career path you'd like to pursue, where do you start?
You do not need a Bachelor's degree in accountancy to work in an accounting role, however, if you want to perform certain tasks, you do need to be accredited (which does require a degree).
There are many Certificate IV and Diploma level courses you can take in different aspects of accounting, such as bookkeeping. If you do want to seek accreditation with one of the three accounting industry bodies in Australia, you will need to undertake a full Bachelor of Accounting (for CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia) or a Diploma of Accounting (for the Institute of Public Accountants).
Some of the available qualifications are summarised in this table:
|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|
Another career path offering rewarding jobs for ex teachers is the editing, writing and publishing industry. There are great jobs available for teachers who are passionate about literature and the written word, including resource production, editing and proofreading. Publishers are also always looking for people for sales and marketing roles.
Many teachers are accomplished writers with a sound knowledge of grammar and other writing skills which they can apply to editing roles. In addition, analytical skills and attention to detail — skills possessed by most teachers — are highly valued in the publishing industry.
If you enjoy writing, you may want to consider putting in a pitch to create content for curriculum resources. Check the websites of Australian publishers to see what materials they publish and whether they're open for submissions, or keep an eye on the publishers global website for information and submission opportunities.
Writing and editing can be difficult careers to break into (and are not the money spinners they are thought to be), however, creating resources and sharing your professional knowledge can be very rewarding. A lot of teachers share their methods, ideas and resources online via blogs or various education platforms.
Perhaps you no longer enjoy teaching but are still passionate about your subject. There's no reason why you wouldn't choose a career in the private sector that uses your subject expertise and knowledge.
Sometimes, the best jobs for teachers are ones where they finally have the opportunity to put their skills into practice in the real world.
If you're a languages teacher, there may be a vast number of opportunities for you to use your language skills in your line of work. Many businesses require bi- or multi-lingual staff and may offer other jobs for teachers who have in-country experience as well. If you are fluent in your second language, you may even wish to look at translating or interpreting as a career.
If you do decide to pursue work, or even jobs overseas, as a translator or interpreter, although it's not essential, it would probably be a good idea to investigate training courses, or even accreditation. Doing this would certainly improve your credentials with potential employers.
Before enrolling in a course, you might want to try out translating or interpreting in a freelance capacity. You can sign up to freelancing websites to get some experience before deciding if you want to pursue further qualifications.
If you want to find out more about courses that are available, and the accreditation process, have a look at the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) website. In addition, if you want some basic training or mentoring program opportunities, the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) also has useful information.
It is important to realise the difference between interpreting and translating. While both require exceptional language skills, interpreting is significantly harder as it requires instantaneous verbal translation where there is little room for error and no chance to revise. Opportunities to gain experience is essential.
There are alternative jobs for teachers who do speak another language, but whose skills aren't quite at the interpreting level. Language teachers, or teachers who have TESOL or TEFL qualifications, or even English teachers, can apply for teaching opportunities and jobs overseas.
Alternatively, if the time isn't right for you to be able to move to another country, you could also seek work teaching English to Australia-based international companies, or working with corporate groups to provide language training to their staff.
Whether you head overseas, or use your English or language skills here in Australia, your teaching experience will be an asset as well.
There are a great number of jobs available overseas, particularly in Far Eastern countries, teaching English as a Second Language. Another alternative is to apply for jobs in International Schools where you can continue to teach your specialist subject.
Whether you want to keep teaching, utilise your specialist skills or try something completely new, there are a huge range of alternative jobs for teachers in the private sector.
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