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Industry in Focus: Childcare and Early Learning in Australia

Our ‘Industry in Focus’ series reviews the current and future challenges facing key industries and the role that technology will play in resolving those challenges. In this edition, we take a look at child care, a sector that is facing acute talent shortages and a convoluted pathway to industry-wide reform.

A skills crisis in childcare and early learning

Changing labour participation rates and work patterns, including more part-time and shift-based work, are increasing the demand for flexible early childhood education and care services in Australia. However, childcare providers were struggling to meet demand even before COVID-19 impacted work patterns. It’s estimated that Australia will need to recruit 6,800 degree-qualified early childhood teachers through to 2024, as well as over 30,000 more educators with vocational diplomas and certificates. Attracting and recruiting talent is a top priority for many operators.

Employee retention is also a serious issue, with one study suggesting 37% of workers plan to leave the industry in the next 12 months. The reasons given for such high turnover included poor pay, administrative overload, overwork, burnout, and feeling undervalued.


Complex governance and sector-wide decision-making

For any industry-wide reform to be made, especially in relation to improving employee pay and conditions, government oversight, guidance and funding will be required. However, with multiple levels of government already responsible for funding, standards, frameworks and curricula, this reform will take time. The onus remains on childcare providers to work within the existing system as best they can.


The role of technology

Clearly, the challenges facing childcare providers are multi-faceted and complex. There are no easy solutions. Workforce management software can at least ease some of the people management challenges being faced. From rostering and scheduling to award interpretation and qualification management, technology can streamline and automate work processes, allowing staff more time for face-to-face interactions with the children in their care.

For further insights and tips on how to navigate through the people-related challenges facing the childcare sector in Australia, complete the form to download our fact sheet.