Fighting for your shell

'The futile attempts to get into a higher salary scale are frustrating and demotivating'

The Education magazine has been doing so since September 2022 research to a higher rating. More than 1500 people who work in education responded to a call to share experiences. The countless unsuccessful attempts to move up the salary scale prove frustrating and demotivating. With a burnout, departure to other schools or even farewell to education as a result.

Conclusions from the experiences of teaching staff:

  • The conditions for getting into a higher scale are unclear
  • The process is often long and grueling
  • The opportunity to climb rarely arises
  • Reasons for rejection are vague
  • The procedure causes bad blood among colleagues
  • Assertiveness is more important than quality
  • Staff lose the motivation to go the extra mile
  • A failed climb attempt sometimes leads to burnout or departure

More than 70 percent of the participants*Of the teachers who shared their experiences, 44 percent work in secondary education, 29 percent in intermediate vocational education and 23 percent in primary education. In addition, nearly four hundred education support staff and fifty managers participated. the research is a teacher, the rest work as teaching support staff. 




  1. Carry on
    Do you think you are in a salary scale that is too low? Don't leave it. If it continues to nag, it will disrupt the working relationship. So: start the conversation, send an email.
  2. Know what you are entitled to
    Take a closer look at your employer's job classification system: which responsibilities are associated with a job and what salary scale is used to rate it. And check whether you are in the right scale. If your employer does not have a job house (or 'structure'), ask where and how your job is described and valued. Compare this text with your work in practice.
  3. Substantiate your arguments
    Working many hours, a master's degree or many different tasks? This does not guarantee a higher scale. It is about the responsibilities you have and whether they are a structural and substantial part of your work. Come up with sharp examples of work.
  4. Practice the conversation
    You can do that in front of the mirror at home, but even better with someone who can give you some resistance. The more prepared you go into the interview, the more confident you will feel.
  5. Always have agreements confirmed in writing
    A verbal agreement can also be legally valid. Then ask for confirmation by email. Something like, "If I understood correctly, we discussed this and this, is that right?" This prevents noise and, if necessary, you also have proof of the agreements made.
  6. Avoid pitfalls
    'There is no budget', say executives, for example, or 'You have to prove yourself first'. All cool. If you do the work that belongs to that higher scale, your employer must pay for it. (Also see 'Recognize the excuses')
  7. Keep it business
    Think of any rejection as a business disagreement between you and your employer. As difficult as it may be, keep emotions out of it and try to look at it from a distance. Then you can start an objection procedure* or accept it, without it burdening the working relationship.
  8. Call for help
    Ask advice from the AOb. The legal department can check whether you have been correctly scaled and assist you in the unlikely event that it becomes a legal conflict. You must be a member of the trade union to be able to call in help. Read all the benefits of a membership.
  9. Work together
    Seek help from colleagues: you are often not alone and together you are stronger. The AOb for example, has managed to achieve a higher scale for a group of teaching assistants.
  10. Hold on
    Persistence wins, although sometimes an objection procedure* is required. If you don't try anything, you certainly won't get anything.

*At the National Objections Committee for job evaluation You can go to PO, VO and MBO if you cannot come to an agreement with your employer. However, you must object within six weeks after “the decision”. This raises questions among teaching staff.

Your tasks often become more extensive and heavier over the years, until you reach a point where the relationship between your position and salary becomes skewed

For example, a student counselor from pre-vocational secondary education wonders: “I don't think I ever received a formal decision from my employer. Your tasks often become more extensive and heavier over the years, until you reach a point where the relationship between your position and salary becomes skewed.”

Formal decision

When the job increase takes place insidiously, Roelf van der Ploeg, fuwa expert and director at the AOb, to enforce a formal decision, as it were. There are then two routes:

1. Your position has already been described and valued
Start the conversation and then send an email along the lines of: 'Herewith the request to place me in the position of … (to be filled in) as this is the most suitable position given my work.'

2. Your position has not yet been described and evaluated
Start the conversation and then send an email along the lines of: As announced in the conversation, hereby the formal request to re-describe and rate my position.

If all goes well, both routes will provide a written answer from your employer. With this formal decision you can go to the hospital within six weeks complaints committee to step.

The same applies here: can't you figure it out? Join the AOb! The union can assist you.



January 9 2023 Fighting for your shell – cover article Education magazine. Read the responses from employers' organisations on the research.

December 9 2022 Teaching staff are often told the same reasons why a higher scale is not possible. Check out the six most common excuses and why this often concerns non-arguments.

December 6 2022 The fastest and most successful way to get into a higher scale is change schools.

19 September 2022 Higher professional education lecturer Diana Wittendorp was determined, fought for a higher scale and helped colleagues in doing so. "Do not be afraid."

November 1 2022 Nearly a thousand testimonials of attempts at climbing, in all educational sectors, paint a picture of arbitrariness, coercion and nepotism. The first results of the Education magazine survey at a glance.

November 8 2022 Teacher and AObdirector Simone Fomenko blogs about her journey to a higher scale and how she managed to avoid a battle with her superior.

November 16 2022 In primary education, fuwasys appears to be correct in terms of content, but that the implementation does not always go well.

November 21 2022 Many speech therapists in education are dissatisfied with their grading. In the years-long process in which their function was revised, they don't feel taken seriously.

In the fall of 2022, the AOb eight webinars on job evaluation. AObmembers received explanations and tips on what to do if you think you have been classified too low. Activities related to grading are also planned for 2023.

Join and follow for free AObwebinars!