A new report published by University College London (UCL) Institute of Education (IOE) has warned of a potential childcare workforce shortage once the economy begins to improve.
The study found that despite an increase in qualified workers, the sector remains persistently poorly paid compared with other occupations.
The research found that 75% of childcare staff now hold NVQ level 3 or higher qualifications, representing an increase of 12% between 2005 and 2014. Despite this increase in qualified staff, average pay is only 10 pence above minimum wage. Pay is particularly low for childcare workers employed in the private sector, £5.60 per hour compared with £7.80 in the public sector. The sector is predominantly female (98%), with little change in the last 10 years.
The report recommends a formal review on childcare and a recruitment drive to address the lack of male workers in the UK's childcare settings.
The findings echo many of those found in PACEY’s Building Blocks study, which revealed ‘a childcare workforce at tipping point - highly motivated by the work they do, keen to develop their professional skills, and highly respected and relied upon by parents, but on the verge of making decisions about whether their businesses are viable for the future.’
PACEY is calling on the Government to implement a workforce strategy that supports childcare professionals to improve their skills throughout their career, so they are encouraged, rewarded and in turn motivated to remain in their chosen profession.
The Government is currently reviewing the cost of providing childcare and has committed to increase the average funding rate paid to providers.
PACEY welcomes the review and is encouraging all childcare providers to respond to the Department of Education’s call for evidence about the cost of delivering childcare places, which closes at 5pm on 10 August.