De Haagse Scholen is combating the teacher shortage with OTYS

De Haagse Scholen operates 52 schools, including 44 regular primary schools, 5 schools for (secondary) special education, and 3 schools for special primary education. The schools are spread throughout The Hague, each with its unique characteristics. The mission of De Haagse Scholen is "We prepare our students for the world of tomorrow." A noble mission, but it requires an adequate number of teachers and educational support staff, which is currently in short supply. Liesbeth de Groot is a recruiter at De Haagse Scholen and utilizes OTYS, among other tools, to address the teacher shortage.

Serious shortage

"Lack of teachers is a significant problem across the Netherlands. It is estimated that by 2027, there will be 11,000 vacancies for teachers in the Netherlands," begins Liesbeth de Groot. Unfortunately, De Haagse Scholen is also affected by this shortage and finds it increasingly challenging to attract the right talent. According to Liesbeth, factors such as the high workload and the absence of a collective labor agreement (CAO) contribute to the teacher shortage. School boards can play a positive role in improving the profession's image. The use of social media and recruitment software can aid in this endeavor

With OTYS Go!, we can ensure that every candidate receives a response, even if it's a rejection.

Liesbeth de Groot

Tackling the Shortage

How does De Haagse Scholen address this shortage? Naturally, the organization is making every effort to recruit teachers. According to Liesbeth, schools themselves play a significant role in this process. De Haagse Scholen is actively working on its employer branding to emphasize what makes it enjoyable to work there. Liesbeth also pays attention to the vacancy texts, where employer branding often shines through. "It all starts with the vacancy texts—short, applicant-centered instead of what we expect from you. Communication between the employee and employer is also crucial," she continues. "I am very personal, and I make phone calls all day. I think it's essential for someone to feel welcome. I also try to post our vacancies on LinkedIn and Facebook as much as possible, as people look for new opportunities there. It can also inspire someone to make a career change." De Haagse Scholen has created a recruitment video to promote the organization, effectively conveying their enthusiasm to potential candidates. Liesbeth notes that this video has made an impact. Within 2 weeks, there were 500 clicks, and three-quarters of potential candidates continued to explore further. For Liesbeth, this is just the beginning.

"We find that paid campaigns, such as Google Search and LinkedIn advertising, work well," says Liesbeth. "However, we are very active on social media. We have our own channels on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, where we not only announce vacancies but also share a lot about our activities in schools. We also advertise our director vacancies in newspapers like Volkskrant, Intermediair, and AD. We make sure we are well-represented at various events organized by Klassewerk (an initiative of the municipality to attract more people to primary education in The Hague) and teacher training colleges (Pabo). We ask our network to post as much positive news about our organization as possible. With a limited budget, Liesbeth has to be creative in her solutions.

De Haagse Scholen has close-knit teams, organizes annual tournaments, offers discounts on sports activities, and encourages personal contact among colleagues. Additionally, the organization provides many opportunities for career changers. Within 2 years, you can become a qualified teacher and obtain a teaching degree (PABO). You spend 2 to 3 days a week in the classroom from the start, with appropriate guidance. This approach lowers the barrier to becoming a teacher.

Liesbeth mentions that in the fight against the teacher shortage, they are well-supported by Klassewerk, an initiative of the Municipality of The Hague. They assist De Haagse Scholen and other schools/foundations in addressing the teacher shortage. Klassewerk organizes information evenings and events to motivate individuals to pursue teacher training, and the municipality provides subsidies to schools in The Hague for lateral entry programs.

What more can institutions and schools do?

 Many schools do not use social media and do not utilize software that other organizations employ. "That's a missed opportunity," according to Liesbeth. De Haagse Scholen chose the OTYS software package for their recruitment needs after an extensive search based on a list of requirements and preferences. "I became so pleased with the personal approach. Marnix [OTYS account manager] did a fantastic job and, together with me, managed to convince all the directors and IT personnel of the value of OTYS."

"With OTYS Go!, we can ensure that every candidate receives a response, even if it's a rejection," Liesbeth explains. Getting a clear overview was one of the issues the software had to address for Liesbeth. "Of course, I already have a sense of which schools are struggling and which are not, but now that we are using OTYS, I can substantiate my intuition with data. With OTYS, De Haagse Scholen can identify gaps and," Liesbeth continues, "hopefully, we can work more collaboratively as one organization." With OTYS's line manager portal, it becomes easier for directors to post vacancies, maintain oversight, and refer candidates to other schools within De Haagse Scholen. They don't need to master the entire system, and they can track progress and results in their own portal. This creates a large platform for De Haagse Scholen where everyone can benefit and support each other. If there is no match with one school, the candidate may find a suitable position at another school within De Haagse Scholen. This way, De Haagse Scholen no longer loses candidates, and the right candidate can always find a place!

Liesbeth has invested a lot of time and energy in the software procurement process. "I, in collaboration with one of the OTYS consultants, Marjan, went through the entire system, received homework, and had to think about the appearance of our website. Each step was enjoyable, but it is time-consuming." Liesbeth's tip for acquiring an ATS system: "Seek support from the organization from the beginning of the process! In our process, I did a lot on my own, which required a lot of my time. Additionally, I had to delve into areas like IT-related matters, where I don't have much knowledge. This makes the process challenging. Therefore, ensure that you engage all the people you need early on. Also, ensure that you and a colleague complete the OTYS user training so that you are not the sole point of contact within the organization."

Why De Haagse Scholen?

"We are the only public school board for primary education in The Hague. We are diverse, and this is reflected in our schools and our staff. Everyone is welcome here," says Liesbeth. "Because we are so large, you always have plenty of choices. We are present in every neighborhood in The Hague and offer many different types of education. There is always a suitable school and educational approach for every teacher. From regular to special education, and from 'classic' to Dalton or Montessori. 52 schools, each with its unique character but all under one board. You can see this in our annual volleyball tournament on the Kijkduin beach. This year, more than 60 teams from all schools and the central office participated. It's a fantastic event that concludes with a big celebration where everyone visibly enjoys themselves."

"If you start with us as a teacher, we guarantee good support and guidance. We offer a special program, the traineeship, for all starting teachers.