New Directions in AI, Remote Work, and Workplace Diversity: State of the K-12 Industry 2023

Managing Editor
New Directions in AI, Remote Work, and Workforce Diversity, EdWeek Market Brief State of the Industry 2023

It’s been a tumultuous few years for the nation’s education companies—not just in the school marketplace, but in their own workplaces.

Many organizations have experienced rapid growth over the past three years, as the economy continues to power forward from the massive trough created by the pandemic.

Yet a new set of challenges await. Federal stimulus aid is set to expire at the end of 2024, leaving school districts with big decisions about which programs to keep and putting companies in the position of having to show their value.

And, as organizations attempt to make their case to districts, a wildcard has emerged: Rapid advances in artificial intelligence, which shows the potential to transform different aspects of teaching and learning and internal company functions.

EdWeek Market Brief’s fourth annual State of the Industry report — New Directions in AI, Remote Work, and Workplace Diversity — sheds new light on those external and internal dynamics and how they’re affecting education companies. This report is based on an August 2023 survey of 429 officials working for K-12 organizations, more than 70 percent of whom are at the executive or managerial level. The report offers a far-reaching portrait of companies that remain confident in their future revenues but also face major questions about how they will adjust to coming challenges.

As with last year’s State of the Industry report, our analysis offers a detailed picture of the financial status of education companies and their anticipated performance and the challenges they face in the year ahead. But this year, we also go in-depth on a number of other issues weighing on our audience: the rise of AI technology, the challenges in managing remote or hybrid workforces, and the returns companies are seeing from efforts to diversify their organizations.

This year’s analysis report offers the following insights:

  • Data on education companies’ actual revenues over the past year, and their anticipated growth or decline in revenues over the coming year.
  • Projected spending across different departments and priority areas, including sales, marketing, customer success, product development, market research, and new hires.
  • What remote, hybrid, or in-person work policies have companies set for their employees? Are they planning any changes in the next year? And what benefits and drawbacks have they seen, in terms of expenses, morale, employee retention?
  • How is artificial intelligence being incorporated into education companies’ product lines, and in their internal operations? And where do company officials see the biggest potential in the technology, and the biggest pitfalls?
  • Which specific strategies education companies are taking to increase the odds that districts will keep using their products/services when federal stimulus funds expire. The survey asked about the rollout of marketing campaigns; coaching districts on alternative sources of funding; providing districts with product usage data; and reaching out to end-users, such as teachers, among other strategies.
  • What kinds of support vendors are offering to school districts that are navigating “culture war”-type controversies over curriculum, and the extent to which companies in curriculum and other areas have stopped doing business entirely in certain markets because of state-level restrictions.
  • What specific returns on investment education company officials see from investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workforce. Organizations were asked about things like increases in innovation, morale, profitability, operational efficiency and improvements in workforce quality.
  • Whether in-person or virtual sales are producing greater ROI.
  • What kinds of conference activity is yielding the greatest ROI — from sponsoring booths or events/panels or sending large numbers of employees to staging mini-events on site.

You can read the full report here, and view previous reports in the series below:

2022: The Impact of Culture Wars, and Job Satisfaction in the Workforce
2021: How Education Organizations Rebounded From COVID-19
2020: Weathering the Storm: Education Company Strategy During the Pandemic

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