ACTU says ECEC is the key to filling record number of job vacancies
Job vacancies have doubled since before the pandemic, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has remarked, and access to affordable quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) is one of the key ways in which the country can boost workforce participation.
“More than 100 thousand people, most of them women and many of them highly skilled, are locked out of the job market because they shoulder the majority of child caring responsibilities and cannot access or afford ECEC,” ACTU President Michele O’Neil said.
“We welcome the Albanese Government’s commitment to accessible and affordable early childhood education and care and this needs to be put in place urgently to address shortages.”
The Union’s comments were triggered by recently released ABS data which shows 480,100 current job vacancies across the country, amplifying the need to increase labour force participation through training and access to ECEC.
Nearly half of businesses reporting job vacancies have done so due to an increased workload, and more than a quarter need more staff due to an expansion of their business.
The data, the Union continued, illustrates the importance of accessible, and affordable quality ECEC to boost workforce participation, and the importance of addressing the enormous skills gap left by the previous Government’s cuts to higher education and TAFE funding.
The latest ABS data on potential workers (for February) also shows more than 113,000 Australians, most of them women, want to work but cannot because they cannot access affordable ECEC.
“Australia has half a million people unemployed and 1.2 million constrained from looking for work – our government needs to re-invest in skills and training including in TAFE and accessible, and universal childcare to ensure anyone who wants to is free to work,” Ms O’Neil said.
“Many businesses are recovering well from the pandemic and are looking to hire more workers. We need to make sure that all Australians are in a position to take these jobs, and that we are generating the wage growth needed to ensure that they are paid a fair wage.”
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