Lack of ECEC employees will put the brakes on the government’s productivity plans
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Lack of ECEC employees will put the brakes on the government’s productivity plans

Lack of ECEC employees will put the brakes on the government’s productivity plans

by Freya Lucas

August 16, 2022

The ongoing early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce crisis will “put the brakes on the government’s productivity plans,” Federal Finance Minister Katy Gallagher has acknowledged.


Economists and early childhood advocates have spoken out ahead of next month’s jobs summit, saying that solving the childcare workforce crisis is key to unlocking women’s participation and addressing broader skills shortfalls.


Ms Gallagher is also responsible for the Minister for Women portfolio, and says that addressing chronic problems in the care sectors is central to the government’s productivity agenda.


“These aren’t nice things that you do on the side, aged care and childcare and things like that, these are core and growing and massive parts of our service economy,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). 


She was candid in her remarks which said that part of the Government focus on investing in cheaper ECEC options for families is to allow women to work more, and to alleviate workforce constraints.


The Government’s ECEC plans are expected to increase demand for places, requiring about another 9,500 workers in the sector on top of the existing vacancies. Currently, there is an estimated shortfall of 6,500 early childhood educators and teachers across the sector. 


Ms Gallagher said that many women in the ECEC sector are being drawn to higher paid NDIS jobs, and with an anticipated significant wage rise in aged care being contemplated by the Fair Work Commission this may compound the problem for the ECEC sector.


The Business Council of Australia has called for the advancement of women to be one of the seven economic “resets” it wants to emerge from the summit.


“We need confirmation that one of the biggest injections to economic growth comes from increasing the participation of women in the workforce and enabling them to progress, advance and lead,” BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott told SMH.


“But we must do more. Women’s participation is a core economic issue, not a side issue.”


The BCA hopes the summit will come up with ways to drive productivity harder, with Ms Westacott saying it “isn’t a coincidence” that the past decade was the slowest in 60 years for both productivity and income growth.


To read the original coverage of this story, please see here

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