Demand for educators shows no sign of abating with job postings hitting new record high
The number of early childhood education and care (ECEC) educator job postings listed online reached a new record monthly high, its fifth consecutive one, according to data released by Jobs and Skills Australia.
A total of 5,225 listings for educator roles were recorded, around 14 per cent higher than the same period last year and a substantial 45 per cent higher than two years ago in November 2021.
The surge reflects not only seasonal factors, with the second half of the year always being more impacted by higher occupancy and therefore equator demand, but also the structural, and well documented challenges, of educator supply being unable to meet the demand.
Across the states and territories all jurisdictions with the exception of Victoria and the ACT saw increases in job listings reflecting the broad nature of current supply shortages for educators across the country.
The centre manager data series is less confronting with a substantial seasonal pull back taking place for the second year running but what is notable is that the current number of listings, even after the seasonal fall, remains well above that recorded in the same period of last year.
Indeed, November reported an increase relative to October, whereas last November’s performance was more or less flat, with strongest demand evident in the smaller states like South Australia and Western Australia which saw listings jump month on month by 15 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.
A further notable data point in the Jobs and Skills Australia job listing data is the recent history of the aged care sector which, unlike the ECEC space, was the beneficiary of a 15 per cent increase in wages implemented in July 2023 but agreed to back in September 2022.
As was pointed out by John Cherry, Advocacy Manager at Goodstart Early Learning in a recent social media post the number of aged care worker listings has moderated a great deal from the highs recorded at the time of the announcement whereas listings for ECEC workers, who have not benefited yet from a pay increase, has continued to climb.
Looking ahead to 2024 an announcement on the outcome of extensive wave negotiations between employee and employer representatives is due with an expectation generally that a funded wage increase will be forthcoming.
Should that be the case, one would then expect educator and centre manager listings to start to stabilise, as higher wages attract more educators back into the workforce and reduce pressure on providers to advertise for vacancies.
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