With schools back in session and many states facing teacher shortages, the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) and ICMA-RC have released a new research infographic outlining employment trends and demographics for the primary and secondary public school workforce. The infographic indicates that:

  • Those working in kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) represent 45% of the total state and local government workforce.
  • Employment projections forecast a growing need for education professionals, especially for elementary and middle school teachers, by 2026.
  • The vast majority of the K-12 public school workforce is female. Some 73% of local government education employees are female.
  • Eighty percent of public school teachers are White. Nine percent are Hispanic, 7% are Black, and 2% are Asian. By comparison, 66% of the total state and local workforce is White.
  • The median age of K-12 public school teachers is 41.4 years.
  • The average number of years of service for public school teachers is 13.7.

The infographic is available here.

“The research makes clear there is a growing need for education professionals, yet state and local governments already are having a tough time attracting and retaining teachers. This baseline data will help to better understand the efficacy of targeted recruiting methods and enable a deeper look at the role retirement benefits play as a workforce management tool for K-12 education,” said Gerald Young, SLGE senior research associate and author of the infographic.

“This research initiative will give government leaders and policymakers critical insight as they make decisions on how best to attract and retain their education workforce and how to stay competitive within the job market,” said Bruce Corcoran, ICMA-RC managing vice president, head of 403(b) business. “Our next step will be to conduct a nationwide poll of K-12 employees regarding their retirement benefit preferences and the impact these benefits have on their employment decisions.”

Recent research from the Center includes a study on how pension cuts affect public sector competitiveness. In addition, a state-by-state review of legislation regulating post-retirement reemployment featured examples where rural school districts, teachers in STEM fields or other areas of critical need, and other education employees were among the policies’ specific considerations.


The Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) helps local and state governments become knowledgeable and competitive employers so they can attract and retain a talented and committed workforce. SLGE identifies leading practices and conducts research on public retirement plans, health and wellness benefits, workforce demographics and skill set needs, and labor force development. SLGE brings state and local leaders together with respected researchers. Access all SLGE publications and sign up for its newsletter at slge.org and follow @4GovtExcellence on Twitter.


Founded in 1972, ICMA-RC is a non-profit, independent financial services corporation that, with its wholly owned subsidiaries, has approximately $57 billion in assets under management and administration (as of June 30, 2019). ICMA-RC is focused on providing retirement plans and related services for over a million public sector retirement accounts. ICMA-RC’s mission is to help public sector employees build retirement security. The organization’s mission is delivered through its RealizeRetirement® approach in which ICMA-RC representatives actively engage participants in their retirement programs, help them build their asset base, and help them realize their retirement goals through a comprehensive retirement planning strategy. For more information, visit www.icmarc.org, download ICMA-RC’s mobile app from the App Store® and Google PlayTM or follow ICMA-RC on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Media Contacts:

Center for State and Local Government Excellence | 202.256.1445 | [email protected]

ICMA-RC | Aprile Pritchet | 202.962.8067 | [email protected]