Acute workforce crisis
New figures from the Education Department, revealing 11 percent of early learning centres need special permission to open due to staffing shortages, highlight the acute workforce crisis in the sector.
A December 2021 search on the Seek website found the number of job vacancies in Australia for early childhood educators was 6999, and for early childhood teachers 7212.
For a workforce of about 150,000 this is an extremely high vacancy rate of 9.5 percent of the total national workforce.
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill said these workforce shortages were affecting the quality of services and the accessibility of essential early learning for children and families.
“Omicron has ramped up existing, long-term workforce shortages, with additional pressure from furloughed staff driving room closures and now shortages in key team leadership positions,” Mr Weatherill said.
“Addressing the workforce crisis and fixing the early learning system are vital for ensuring every Australian child can have the best possible start in life, and supporting women, families and the economy.”
For more on workforce shortages see Crisis as workforce shortages bite.