Insight February 17, 2022 Colin Gillespie

5 Insights in EdTech and Recruiting From 2021

2021 was a whirlwind for everyone because of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, but especially for the education and recruiting sectors who had to deal with significant shifts in how each industry operates – making adjustments in real-time as the world changed. However, in many cases, these adjustments actually played into the hands of those who could adapt to the new normal.

As we look forward to 2022 and beyond, it’s expected that the global EdTech industry is set to grow at just under 18% annually for the next five years, according to research from ReportLinker. On the recruiting side, the impacts of The Great Resignation have also transformed the industry, creating vast amounts of movement in and out of jobs across the globe.

To make sense of this and plot some trends for the year ahead, we thought we’d run through 5 separate insights that should help you navigate the intersection of EdTech and recruiting great talent.

1. Funding is up and talent supply is down.

We’ve seen a marked increase in funding for US education coming from both governments and private institutions in the last year. And we’re expecting even more in 2022 as a proposed Senate bill looks to increase the discretionary aid to the Education department from $73.5bn to $98.4bn. This surplus has created a massive demand for talent at all levels in EdTech companies, from your C-level executives to diverse roles throughout the organization. However, the supply of talent has, for the most part, not kept pace with this growth. As a result, we face a significant talent shortage that is hiking compensation for new hires across the board.

From what we estimate, the demand has almost doubled from what it was before the pandemic, and that’s a staggering increase. This imbalance will likely cause ripple effects throughout the EdTech industry for 2022 and beyond.

2. The teaching shortage requires alternative solutions.

To cope with the teacher shortage that we’re facing, school districts are being forced to be creative with their teaching methods and leverage alternative solutions to still deliver the quality of education they have promised. The public school system is trying to serve over 50 million students with only 3.5 million teachers – with the shortages being more pronounced in areas like math, science, and special education. As a result, tutoring, virtual teachers, and professional development continue to be in extremely high demand as every institution seeks to shift towards a more sustainable teaching operation that can cater to a constrained labor market.

Combine this with the fact that students are leaving traditional classrooms in droves because of the pandemic, the demand for purpose-built enabling technology has never been higher.

3. Selling educational products and services requires new skillsets.

The way that EdTech companies sell their products into educational institutions is also rapidly changing. Because everything has become virtual, and we’ve transitioned away from in-person sales for the most part – salespeople have to expertly communicate using a mixture of video conferencing, email, text, social media, and even video messaging. This has played out across all industries. In 2019, only 42.6% of organizations were using video conferencing. Fast forward to today, and it is estimated that 78% of companies are doing so. This shift requires an entirely different skillset that takes time and effort to develop – which can be a major differentiating factor between competing EdTech providers at present.

As a salesperson, you need to be able to negotiate, pivot, and build relationships with district-level executives and/or large organizations without being able to lean on the in-person sales techniques that have always been part and parcel of how things get done. It also requires extreme empathy when talking to school leaders to understand their challenges and then provide a practical solution that delivers results.

4. Candidates find applying to new jobs and interviewing for them much more accessible.

On the recruiting side, candidates applying to jobs have benefited from this paradigm shift to a remote-first world. Having video interviews as the norm puts the candidates in the driving seat, allowing them to shop around much more efficiently than ever was previously possible. There is also increased access to jobs through the incredible growth of online job boards and increased efficiency of internet search engines. Many are in the process of applying to numerous jobs at the same time, pitting each opportunity against each other.

Combine this with the skills shortage and candidates know that they have a level of bargaining power that we haven’t seen in a long time.

5. Successful recruiting requires smart communication.

As we’ve shifted to a fully-remote industry, the medium of communication has also shifted radically. Candidates are now in control of how recruiters and companies contact them – which has led to a significant move away from phone calls – a traditional mainstay of recruiters worldwide.

Instead, many expect to be contacted via text messages, email, and social media, all of which represent more efficient and native communication mediums. It is hard to ignore the results when “95% of text messages are read and responded to within 3 minutes of being received.” These communication trends can be in the best interests of recruiters if, and only if, they pivot their business to adapt to this more relevant way of work.

Those are our 5 key insights from last year, and we hope that you can see how they inform the future of EdTech and recruiting for 2022 and beyond. It’s clear that we’re in a unique period of transition, and those who can leverage the new paradigms that are upon us will reap the rewards.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think 2022 will bring for EdTech and recruiting, respectively? And as always, if you’re looking for some assistance with finding and empowering that top talent, the Renaissance Network is here to help. Contact us today, and let’s see how we can take your organization to the next level.

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Colin Homer Gillespie is a strategic and purpose-driven GM with significant global experience and a record of product innovation and business transformation.

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