A majority of early years educators find recruitment ‘extremely difficult’, a report by SIPTU has found.
The minimum hourly pay of an early years educator is €13 and low pay was described as the ‘biggest obstacle’ to recruiting staff by 38% of employers; a further 39% said it was a ‘significant obstacle’.
“It is a constant battle hiring inexperienced staff who are unaware of the requirement of the role, unaware of Aistear, Síolta and regulations, finding the rates of pay too low that they cannot find suitable accommodation and end up leaving the job and we go back to square one,” one manager told SIPTU.
Another manager said the high cost of living means many staff members in the industry are “seeking alternative employment and it is a shame as [they] are passionate about making a difference”.
One early years educator said she enjoyed her job but did not expect to stay in the industry long-term.
“I love working in this sector but it is unrealistic with [the current] rate of pay and no recognition,” she said.
“Not that many people will stay if changes don’t happen.”
85% of the survey’s respondents said they had recruited staff in the past 12 months and 58% described it as ‘extremely difficult’.
High turnover means 38% cited staff recruitment and retention as their organisation’s biggest problem and a further 33% described it as a ‘significant’ problem.
SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising and Campaigns Darragh O’Connor said, “Simply put, there is a staffing crisis in Early Years.”
The survey was carried out last month and 2,112 people working in the early years sector took part.
Main image: Children learning.