A 10-15% increase in teacher salaries needed to ‘restore relativities’

As reported in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, research conducted by Professor John Buchanan from the University of Sydney Business School has found an alarming decline in teachers’ salaries when compared to other professional groups.

“In 1986, female teachers earned 102% of the female professional average…male [teachers] earned 99% of the men’s average. That fell to 93 per cent and 84 per cent in 2018. A 10-15% increase would ‘restore the historical relativity’.” SMH

Angelo Gavrielatos, President NSW Teachers Federation said: “This is supported by research released this week by the OECD which finds that teachers’ average salaries in Australia are between 88-90% of the earnings of tertiary-educated workers (OECD Education at a Glance 2020 Country note Australia p7)

“A competitive professional salary takes on even greater significance in the context of a looming teacher shortage,” said Mr Gavrielatos.

This was recently acknowledged by the NSW Minister Sarah Mitchell who noted that

there are issues with teacher shortages across the state. It’s pronounced in regional and regional areas, but I hear it from teachers based in the city as well. I am proactively considering ways in which we can better incentivise teachers to take up positions in rural and regional areas. … It is an ongoing challenge. I do think money is part of it. But it’s not the only part.” (SMH 21/2/20)

“And this is the situation before an anticipated, huge growth in student numbers.According to Infrastructure NSW enrolments in NSW schools are projected to increase by approximately 300,000 (or around 20%) by 2036,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

The same OECD report found that Australian teachers spend more time teaching than their counterparts in almost every major country.

In Australian primary and secondary schools in 2019, the statutory number of teaching weeks was 41, which was the equal highest in the OECD and well above the average of 38 for primary and lower secondary and 37 for upper secondary. The number of days teaching in Australia was amongst the highest at 199 – well above the OECD average of 183 for primary and lower secondary and 181 for upper secondary. (OECD Education at a Glance Table D4.1)

Mr Gavrielatos said: “Our teachers are underpaid, undervalued and overworked.”


Professor John Buchanan will be giving evidence before the Valuing the teaching profession – an independent inquiry today at 10am.

The inquiry, chaired by former Premier of Western Australia, the Hon Dr Geoff Gallop AC, is investigating the changed nature and value of teachers’ work.

The proceedings are being live-streamed via the Inquiry website teachinginquiry.com.au

Where: Heritage Room When: from 10am Thursday 10 September 2020.

Federation House

22-33 Mary St Surry Hills

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John Hill, Mountain Media 0412 197 079