The Frontline Research and Learning Institute is dedicated to providing data-driven research, resources and observations to support and advance the educational community. As K-12 navigates the labor shortage, comprehensive and the most up-to-date data will equip school leaders with knowledge and actionable insights to make informed decisions in attracting quality staff and ensuring that open positions are being filled in a timely manner.

This research brief, focused on non-instructional staff, is the first in a two-part series highlighting the story data tells in reference to staff shortages. The subsequent research brief will focus on instructional roles.

Key Finding: The K-12 non-instructional staff shortage is more heavily weighted towards a supply issue (not enough candidates) rather than a demand issue (a large number of current employees leaving the position).

While the gap between supply and demand is increasing, the pace in which some positions are being filled is also increasing suggesting that districts are prioritizing hiring more than in previous years.

It is well understood that many industries have recently experienced changes in their job market patterns and practices. While there has been much written about the impact of a teacher shortage, the Frontline Research and Learning Institute explored the recruiting and hiring landscape related to the lesser-studied roles required to ensure successful K-12 organizations. This report analyzes hiring data for non-instructional education positions from January 2019 through May 2022. Although trends consistent with national narratives regarding recruiting struggles for teachers and other industries were identified, some metrics are trending in a positive direction.

Following a basic supply and demand economic model, the analysis investigates the quantity of candidates applying for jobs (supply) as well as the availability of open positions (demand). Trends indicate both sides of the equation are contributing to a labor shortage, however the decline in candidates is more pronounced than the increase in available jobs. The conclusion being that the resulting shortage is primarily a result of fewer individuals looking to fill positions. Unexpectedly, data also shows that, while the number of applications per non-instructional opening are currently at the lowest point of the study period, the three-year trend illustrates that filled positions are being hired increasingly faster.