ECEC shortages hurt parents, ACA finds
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Majority of services capping enrolments as workforce shortage bites, new ACA survey notes

Majority of services capping enrolments as workforce shortage bites, new ACA survey notes

by Freya Lucas

June 13, 2023

The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) has released new survey data revealing early childhood centres throughout Australia are struggling with workforce shortages, which are now forcing them to limit enrolments. 


Conducted in two tranches, the survey showed the majority of ECEC services are being forced to cap enrolments as they “simply don’t have enough staff” to meet the legal ratio requirements of educators to children.


Specifically the findings have come from recent operational data provided by ACA’s members in a national survey.


Across a single week in February 2023, more than two thirds of the 627 centres surveyed confirmed enrolments that week had been capped, which equated to a total of 16,300 places.


A second survey of 442 centres across a one-week period in May 2023, revealed that again more than half of respondents had been forced to cap enrolments due to the ongoing workforce shortages.


“Right now, we urgently need at least 10,000 well-trained, competent early childhood educators and teachers to fill vacancies,” said ACA President Paul Mondo, calling this shortage “the single most pressing issue facing Australia’s early learning sector”.


“We simply do not have enough people to meet the demand for early learning and care, whilst also remaining compliant with the educator-ratios put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and staff alike.”


To combat these shortages, and to attract and retain the number of educators needed, the ACA is calling for “a significant investment from the Australian Government to increase wages and attract more workers into the sector”.


The survey findings have been released against the backdrop of the first application for a supported bargaining authorisation under new legislation, which will enable a group of ACA members, the United Workers Union, other employers and peak bodies, and the Federal Government to work together in negotiations for improving wages for the ECEC sector. 


For more information about the work of ACA, see here. A comprehensive unpacking of the 6 June submission made by the ACA and others as referenced above can be found here

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