Staff waivers outstanding track lower but big differences emerge
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Staff waivers outstanding track lower but big differences across states increasingly evident

by Jason Roberts

May 25, 2024

The percentage of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services with staff waivers outstanding tracked lower in the first three months of 2024, supported by seasonality, but divergences between states are becoming increasingly noticeable.


9.1 per cent of all ECEC services (long day care, outside school hours care, preschool and family day care) had at least one staff waiver at their service, with long day care (LDC) services reporting 16.1 per cent with waivers. 



The data, revealed in the latest NQF Snapshot from ACECQA , confirms that although waivers percentages are still relatively high compared to history the near term trend is lower as the seasonal impact of lower occupancy in the early part of the year impacts educator demand. 


That being said, and similar to the recently released Internet Vacancy Index data from Jobs and Skills Australia, material divergences are starting to appear across the states and territories signaling that workforce shortages are now not as universal as they were 12 to 24 months ago. 


Of particular note from an LDC perspective is Queensland which has now more or less reversed the remarkable surge in staff waivers experienced between Q3 2021 and Q4 2022 at which point 28.70 per cent of LDC’s had waivers outstanding. 


Fast forward 15 months and there are 16.70 per cent outstanding, marginally lower than the 19.0 per cent recorded in New South Wales (NSW). 



NSW and Victoria have remained in narrow ranges for a number of quarters now, as have the ACT and Northern Territory, however both South Australia and Western Australia reported new record high levels of waivers outstanding. 


The challenges faced by WA and SA to secure educators is clearly evident given the direction of waivers outstanding and paints a very different picture to that experienced in QLD right now given the large falls and ACT, NSW and VIC which have been trending sideways. 



Overall the staff waiver picture across Australia is becoming increasingly mixed with larger states somewhat improving and smaller states finding workforce shortages an increasingly difficult challenge. 


As we move out of the seasonally lower occupancy period of the year demand for educators will inevitably start to rise again. It remains to be seen by how fast and how much but it is safe to say that services in WA and SA look like they are in a tough spot relative to their peers. 


To review this quarter’s snapshot please click here

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