Applying for a new role in ECEC? This guide will help secure the right pay and conditions package for you
The Sector > Jobs News > Applying for a new role in ECEC? This guide will help secure the right pay and conditions package for you

Applying for a new role in ECEC? This guide will help secure the right pay and conditions package for you

by Freya Lucas

November 29, 2022

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) is a dynamic space, with there currently being lots of opportunities to start a new career in the sector, or transition to a new role. 


For early childhood educators, teachers, managers and support office staff, knowing how to communicate your needs when it comes to pay and conditions is now an essential part of working in the ECEC sector. 


It is also essential to employers that new team members feel secure and committed when they start a new role so getting packages right from the get go is an important objective for all. 


This article seeks to provide a road map to support any ECEC professional entering the space, or moving from one opportunity to another, to ensure that you are able to enter discussions in this key area with professionalism and confidence and in turn secure the best outcome for you. 


1. Be confident and informed 


Typically, the best outcomes from employment discussions come when the job applicant is informed and confident.


To help boost confidence, consider the following points: 


  • Be clear about your strengths: assume you are the best person for the job


  • Find out what is – and is not – negotiable for this job


  • Find out how negotiations will be conducted – some organisations engage via email, others by phone, and others face-to-face. Find out if you need to speak with HR, an area manager, the service leader, or someone new. 


2. Know the role you have applied for and your rights


Before commencing discussions, familiarise yourself with the job description, required skills, responsibilities, demands and work arrangements for the job. 


This will help you to demonstrate that you’re the best person for the role, and will also help you to hone in on any key points that need refinement – for example, if you want or need flexible working arrangements. 


Also ensure you have accessed the relevant Award for your position, you know which level you’re on, any allowances you’re entitled to, and any applicable collective agreements. 


Knowing your rights is essential to securing a strong outcome in discussions as it is always going to be the starting point. 


3. Research your prospective, and other, employers approach to pay


Find out what you can about remuneration levels for comparable jobs now, and in the recent past, including the remuneration of the previous employee in this job, and how this job is paid relative to other jobs in the organisation


Check pay and conditions in other comparable organisations in the sector, and in the area, using job ads, phone calls, and networks.


4. Remain open minded – Consider more than just $’s


Accepting a new role is not just about dollar signs – think about other elements of job satisfaction, like any additional perks such as birthday leave, RDOs, discounted care for your own children, opportunities for promotion, professional development opportunities, job security and superannuation. 


Calculating the cash value and the work/life/wellbeing support balance can help you weigh up opportunities more equally. 


The way the work is structured – hours of work, leave allowances, rosters and breaks – is also an important consideration. 


Some things to think about here include: 


  • Check whether there are flexible start/finish times, options for changing hours and work patterns (e.g. on return from parental leave), completing your work hours in fewer than the usual days, or working from home


  • Check personal leave, sick leave, parental leave and carer’s leave (paid or unpaid) and annual leave


  • Check any provisions for accumulating or purchasing additional leave, or leave to make up for working extra hours.


5. Find out how performance is reviewed and rewarded


Another important consideration is to understand how outstanding contributions to the organisation are rewarded. 


If you really believe in your ability you may want to table a performance or incentive component to your pay and conditions that you feel is deserved if you go above and beyond expectations. 


  • How is performance defined and measured (including key performance indicators)?
  • Is performance pay based on performance of the individual, group or organisation?
  • When and how often are reviews of remuneration and performance scheduled?


6. Design the ideal package for you


Think about what you want or need from the outcomes of any pay and conditions discussions.


Do you have savings or investment goals, like a house deposit or retirement plan? Are you running on a tight budget at home? Or do you simply value work life balance above all else?


When you think about what the right package is, put it down in writing. Be concise with your key points, identify those that you won’t budge on and those where you might have some flexibility. 


Once you are clear on what you want from the pay and condition discussions, and are clear on how you can convey a good impression to your employer then you will be in a great position to enter into a negotiation on your terms with real confidence. 


7. Know your line, and hold it


Before going into discussions, work out your fall-back and bottom line positions, including possible trade-offs among pay levels and other conditions. This is a useful basis for your negotiations, and it is best not to disclose your bottom line and fall-back positions. 


Run your proposal by someone else. You could try seeking counsel from friends or family, your mentor or coach, your union or a peak body representative as a start. 


8. Don’t give up – Practice makes perfect 


Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get what you want from the start. 


Practicing for negotiations of this nature can help you to confidently and consistently articulate your information, your proposal and your arguments. Developing your skills in this area can create a favourable impression, and be important for your future role. 


Once you secure your dream offer, be sure to have it in writing in a letter of engagement


Check that the letter of engagement covers everything you negotiated, and keep a signed copy for your records. 


Once you start your role, make sure you track that what is in the agreement is being implemented, and stay on track with the savings and investment goals you identified during the planning process. 


This piece was adapted from a resource produced by Economic Security 4 Women, a national women’s organisation united in the belief that economic wellbeing and financial security are essential for women and will enable women of all ages to have an equal place in society. 

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