40% of childcare workers are actively looking for job in another sector due to low pay; new survey

A new survey of the childcare industry has found that 41% of early years professionals are actively seeking a job in another sector.

The Early Years Professionals survey report was conducted by social scientist Dr. Amy Greer Murphy.

Murphy said that today professionals are still struggling with low pay and insecure working conditions, feel undervalued by society, and experience work-related stress.

“The survey shows that 94% of managers found it “difficult or “very difficult” to recruit staff in the past 12 months,” said Murphy.

Over 50% of respondents stated that if they left the sector, it would be directly due to low pay, while 40% of respondents stated they were looking for a job in another sector at the time of the survey.

“We are passionate about our job, but passion doesn’t pay the bills. Unfortunately, more and more Early Years educators don’t see a future for themselves in their profession,” said SIPTU Big Start National Committee member Deborah Reynolds.

“84% of managers identified pay as “the biggest” or “a significant” obstacle to recruiting staff.”

Other key findings include that 90% of early years workers struggle to make ends meet, 66% regularly do unpaid work and just 10% have paid maternity leave from work.

The Government announced an investment of €716m in childcare in Budget 2022.

SIPTU said the focus now must be on agreeing rates of pay that will make it financially possible for early years professionals to stay in the sector.

Siptu head of strategic organizing Darragh O’Connor warned that unless pay and conditions are addressed soon the sector is “on the verge of a mass exodus”.

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