The early learning sector serves as the foundational stage where young minds are nurtured, primed for a lifetime of learning and growth. But what happens when the very foundation starts to show cracks? The recently released Big Steps National Report 2023 offers a sobering look into the challenges plaguing Australia's early learning centres, revealing a complex web of issues affecting both educators and the families they serve. From alarming staff turnover rates to soaring vacancies and capped enrolments, the sector is in dire need of introspection and reform. In this blog post, we delve into the key findings of the report, explore the underlying causes—particularly the role of financial stress—and discuss how GlowPay is poised to offer solutions.
The Symptoms of the Crisis
Alarming Staff Turnover
A staggering 95% of early learning centres have experienced staff departures in the past year. Even more concerning, 78% of those centres have lost more than three educators during this period.
Soaring Staff Vacancies
The report also highlights that 91% of centres currently have staff vacancies. Among them, 50% have three or more positions unfilled. Worryingly, 80% of these vacancies have remained open for longer than three months, and 35% for over a year.
Capped Child Enrolments
Due to staffing issues, 40% of centres have had to cap child enrolments, affecting not just the centres’ financial viability but also families’ access to early education.
Possible Causes: More Than Meets the Eye
Lack of Professional Development Opportunities
The report suggests that limited opportunities for professional growth can also contribute to high turnover rates. Employees who feel stuck in their roles are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere, further exacerbating staff shortages.
The demanding nature of early education work, compounded by staff shortages, places additional stress on educators, leading to a poor work-life balance. This, in turn, contributes to burnout and high turnover.
An unsupportive work environment can also be a contributing factor. Employees who don’t feel understood, valued or supported are less likely to stay in their roles, leading to higher turnover and vacancies.
Financial Stress and Cost of Living Pressures
One of the most significant causes highlighted in the report is the financial stress experienced by educators. This stress is often exacerbated by the rising costs of living, which have outpaced wage growth in recent years. The financial strain makes it increasingly challenging for employees to manage everyday expenses and unexpected costs, compelling some to seek additional employment or even exit the sector.
How GlowPay Can Help
At GlowPay, we understand the profound impact of financial stress on employees’ wellbeing and job satisfaction. Glowpay provides employees a solution tailored to alleviate financial stress, empowering employees in the early learning sector to better navigate these challenges. By providing a buffer for unexpected financial burdens like vet bills, dental costs, education courses or anything that improves employee wellbeing, we can offer a tangible solution to one of the core issues plaguing the sector.
By addressing the root issue of financial stress, GlowPay aims to contribute to a more stable, enriching, and effective learning environment for children and a more fulfilling workplace for educators.
For those interested in delving deeper into the UWU National Report 2023, you can access it here.
To learn more about how GlowPay can help alleviate financial stress in your early learning centre, Contact us today.
Disclaimer: The statistics and findings mentioned are based on the Big Steps National Report 2023 on the crisis in the early learning sector.