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Industry in Focus – Childcare & Early Learning in New Zealand

Our ‘Industry in Focus’ series reviews the current and future people-related challenges facing key industries and the role that technology will play in resolving those challenges. In this edition, we look at childcare & early learning, a sector facing a serious talent supply and consumer demand issue. It’s forcing desperate providers to get creative with staff attraction and retention initiatives.

A labour crisis in childcare & early learning

With the rising cost of living and increasing labour participation rates, the demand for childcare and early learning services has never been higher. However, a drop in early childhood education qualification enrolments over the past decade and growth in centre numbers has made staffing a significant challenge for many operators.

In addition, many childcare and early learning professionals are moving to higher paid roles in other education sectors like kindergartens and ECE providers can’t keep up. The welcome but long overdue push for pay parity can’t come soon enough. However, even this may not be enough to attract and retain workers. Commonly cited reasons for exiting the sector are not just about low pay, but the hours of work required, stress – even bullying – and lack of time off.

The employee experience for childcare & early learning workers

Providers are doing what they can to improve the holistic employee experience for workers. Some are focusing on flexible work practices such as part time work, job share options and varying start and finish times. Others are putting in place retention fundamentals such as career plans and performance management frameworks, including goals and objectives for workers. Still others are focusing on employee wellbeing and adopting a zero tolerance approach to bullying.

The role of technology

Clearly, the challenges facing child care providers are multi-faceted and complex. There are no easy solutions.

Workforce management software can at least ease some of the talent challenges being faced. From efficient rostering and scheduling to the insights gleaned from workforce analytics and streamlined qualification management, technology can automate work processes and help ensure compliance obligations are being met.

Keeping labour costs down while improving work processes and allowing staff more time for face-to-face interactions with the children in their care is a win-win outcome for all parties.

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