The Importance of Employee Wellbeing in the Early Childhood Sector

The Early Childhood and Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) sector is currently experiencing a high turnover of childcare staff. The highly regulated industry is one of many battling to meet the needs of communities due to a shortage of staff. Early Childhood and OSHC services in Australia are regulated by the Education’s Early Childhood Education Directorate (ECEC) which regulates services to operate within a specified child-to-educator ratio based on the age of children in care. In New South Wales, 9.3% of Approved Services are unable to meet legislative requirements in relation to staffing, resulting in a temporary waiver.

Organisations are capping their sites from operating to their license capacity because of staff shortages. With the unemployment rate at an all-time low of just 4.2% nationally, parents are juggling the return to the workforce with limited childcare support in an economy that is also experiencing spiked inflation.

It is becoming increasingly common for childcare providers to pay their employees between 2% – 4% above the Children Services Award to compete with such a candidate short market. However, despite being paid more, burnout is on the rise in the childcare sector. As the sector experiences its highest turnover in staff – children and families are feeling it most. Organisations are relying on casual agencies to meet regulatory ratio requirements, meaning that children are likely to be meeting new and different educators every single day (and that’s when agencies are able to fill these vacancies).

So how do we manage an issue that is already so out of control? The answer to this is unknown but what we are sure of is that children need consistency of qualified and experienced Educators. Providers need to review operating measures that support employee mental well-being and overall employee support – this goes further than above award wages. There must be a focus on the well-being of staff before we can look to achieve high-quality service delivery. High turnover of employees means a failure to meet or even exceed Quality Area 4 – Staffing Arrangements and Quality Area 5 – Relationships with children of the National Quality Standards. We believe that the prioritising of employee satisfaction and mental well-being will in turn create a consistent staffing environment.

Anila Recruitment is a specialist recruitment agency in children’s services. Looking for permanent employees. Contact us today


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