Early Childhood Education Tops List of In-Demand Jobs
24 August 2022 – Analysis by news.com.au of the National Skills Commission’s Skills Priority List shows early childhood (pre-primary) teachers are among the top 10 in-demand jobs over the next five years in Australia.
It comes days after the release of the Australian Government’s 2021 National Workforce Census that confirmed the rapidly increasing demand for early learning workers, particularly in centre-based care.
Analysis of the Census data by Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative showed that between data collections in 2016 and 2021:
- Centre-based day care employment is up 34 per cent;
- Outside school hours care employment is up 13.1 per cent; and
- Vacation care employment is up 4.7 per cent.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said the key to fixing the near-economy-wide workforce shortage is investing in ECEC workers to help support parents, mainly women, by giving them the option of returning to work or working more hours.
“A critical test of the Federal Government’s upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit will be whether it delivers real solutions for the ECEC workforce shortage,” he said.
“The Jobs and Skills Summit is Australia’s opportunity to unlock women’s workforce participation by assisting up to 91,000 people to participate more fully in work.
“Unless this crisis is acted upon, the current shortfall of ECEC workers will prevent the Government from achieving the key goals of the Jobs and Skills Summit, including boosting productivity, ensuring women have equal opportunities and equal pay, addressing skills shortages and maximising job opportunities for the care economy,” Mr Weatherill said.
Additional data from the 2021 National Workforce Census
- Australia’s ECEC workforce is 92.1 per cent female, with males mostly represented in vacation care (19.4 per cent) and outside school hours care (18.6 per cent) services.
- Females dominate those working in in-home care (97.7 per cent), family day care (96.4 per cent) and centre-based day care services (95.9 per cent).
- Early learning services reported that more than half of all paid staff received the award wage, one in five staff were paid up to 10 per cent above the award, 5.4 per cent were paid between 10 per cent and 25 per cent above the award and 1.9 per cent were paid more than 25 per cent above the award.
- ECEC staff with a teaching qualification has risen from 12.2% in 2013 to only 14.1% in 2021.
- Nearly one-in-10 (9.8%) of all centre-based day care centres had a formal, temporary regulatory exemption from employing suitably qualified staff.
- About 3.8 per cent of children attending childcare services in 2021 were Indigenous. This is up from 2.1 per cent in 2013.