Workforce shortages continue to be a big issue for ECEC
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Workforce shortages are the biggest issue in ECEC, ACA data shows

Workforce shortages are the biggest issue in ECEC, ACA data shows

by Freya Lucas

November 14, 2023

The latest survey undertaken by the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) has shown that the ongoing workforce crisis in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is the biggest issue in the sector, and is impacting the experience of Australian families. 


The new data was gathered from 477 services showed that half of the respondents have been forced to cap enrolment numbers, withholding a total of 11,123 places from families within the week of 9-13 October, and that staff shortages had not improved since the first two surveys, held earlier in 2023.


“Our members have reported for years now that staff recruitment and retention is one of the biggest issues in the sector. There is a critical need for more government support to help attract and retain early learning educators,” ACA President Paul Mondo said.


The findings of the survey, he continued, will “not come as a shock” to anyone working within the sector, as the workforce crisis have anecdotally remained the biggest challenge faced by operators.


The ACA is currently engaged in tripartite negotiations with the Federal Government, employer groups and the United Workers Union (UWU), the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the Independent Education Union (IEU) over Government-funded pay rises and better working conditions for ECEC workers.


This process is the first ever supported bargaining negotiations for the early learning sector, made possible under new provisions in the Fair Work Act.


“Families are being unfairly impacted when there are not enough workers in the sector to meet the demand and regulatory requirements for the child-educator ratios,” Mr Mondo said.


“The workforce crisis will not be resolved without targeted initiatives for educator attraction and retention. Importantly, we need to do this without increasing the cost to working parents, who continue to struggle under the weight of the rising cost of living.”

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