Early years recruitment in crisis
Many early years settings feel they are experiencing a recruitment crisis and are finding it increasingly difficult to hire new practitioners. Not only is hiring practitioners becoming difficult for some settings, but also keeping practitioners on the payroll as many are leaving childcare or moving to different types of settings.
This is a blow for the childcare industry and suggests that there are many issues which need facing to encourage people to continue studying childcare and to remain in the childcare industry once they have qualified. Some suggest that childcare is based on passion and that is what attracts and keeps people in early year’s settings; however it would appear that this passion is being over ridden with negative feelings towards the job.
Why is there a crisis?
Many do have a passion for childcare and working with the under 5’s; however they are arguing that the demands of the job are causing too much stress and impacting on their health and wellbeing. Here are some of the reasons practitioners are leaving childcare and new talent are choosing different options at college.
- Work load – Many argue the work load across the week is too great and unmanageable. These are feelings shared by many across the industry including practitioners and managers. Childcare workers often feel like they have many jobs including cleaners, dinner ladies, key persons, office workers and teachers.
- Long hours – Depending on the setting some practitioners are required to work long days and often working 4-5 days a week. These include early starts and late finishes, often to keep practice at its best there are meetings and training in the evenings also only further adding the long hours. Due to settings needing to meet the demand of working parents it can narrow the options for employees who need to work hours to suit their own families.
- Paperwork – Sometimes it can feel like there is an impossible amount of paperwork for practitioners to keep on top of, as well as complete all the other jobs and activities that need doing throughout the day. Some practitioners discuss how they end up taking work home without pay for the extra hours they complete.
- G.C.S.E requirements – Many are not able to study the courses they would like because of the new G.C.S.E minimum requirements. This is preventing some completing childcare courses and adding to the recruitment crisis
- Low pay – This may come from the funding gaps and the shortage of money being invested into the early years sector.
Improving a recruitment crisis
There are 2 types of recruitment crisis that have been explored here, one which is deterring people from training to work in the early years and the other which affects a specific setting and means staff shortages. The government and Ofsted need to consider the impact of the extra pressures and requirements that are placed on childcare workers such as increased paperwork and low pay and address these quickly before the early years sector suffers and children’s outcomes are lowered.
A recruitment crisis in a setting needs to be addressed quickly as it can lower the remaining practitioners’ morale and cause further problems. It may be useful for employers to consider what benefits they are able to offer existing and new practitioners such as additional paid holiday, good sick pay, pensions and reward schemes. It may also be useful to offer varying working hours. This may be achieved through offering options such as a job share or having a member of staff who works term time; only if you have a large amount of funded children and your setting is quieter during the holidays. There are ways to boost your recruitment options such as using social media. Remember to follow safer recruitment procedures, you may find this pack useful in improving your recruitment procedure.