It was inevitable that a seismic event such as covid would have long last impacts on all of us, how we live, how we work, and what we expect from work life balance. The shift to working from home in 2020 was a turning point for employers and employees, with some struggling to make it work and others seeing huge benefits. That period of time also shone a light on how employees felt, were they valued enough, fulfilled, sufficiently challenged, but not overly so. The pressure on employers went up several notches.
One sector that continues to suffer a staffing crisis is the childcare industry, and with no real light at the end of the tunnel it begs the question; how do employers navigate the changed workforce and cater for new staff expectations while continuing to run a profitable business?
Having a skilled workforce seems like an obvious place to start, but with it very much being the jobseekers market many employers are forced into making unsuitable hires. When it comes to something like childcare where the skillset is unique and certainly not for everyone, it is imperative that the required training and qualifications meet the demands of the various roles. Training is an ongoing process so it is essential that qualifications are regularly reviewed and updated to meet the ever evolving demands of modern life.
Support for employees is undoubtedly important but it is also necessary for employers. Where there are grants and government help available for employers, it should be the right kind of help. Expecting employers to bear excessive financial burdens is asking for disaster. Currently the government are squeezing the childcare and education sectors to breaking point. Unless this changes quickly sadly we can only expect to see more and more businesses closing down.
How can we expect to have smart, enthusiastic, adaptable and loyal staff when the pay is under par? Childcare is one of many industries (hospitality, healthcare, education) that is notorious for low levels of pay – it is simply not good enough. There is an unfair expectation that those with some of the most pivotal jobs in society should work for little more than minimum wage. So many of these jobs are entered into by those with a genuine passion for the area, be it working with children or helping the ill. This only reinforces the need to make these industries more attractive for graduates. Setting an industry standard for starting salaries is surely the quickest and most effective way to entice brilliant staff, and keep them.