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How to Retain Staff In Early Childhood Services

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How to Retain Staff In Early Childhood Services

Motivating well-qualified staff to remain at your service is not only important to cut down training costs but also to provide the best outcomes for children.  The following article provides strategies on how to retain staff within your early childhood service. 

Offer What Is Due

Salaries and Wages are perceived by employees as the most obvious way a service acknowledges their professional value. Thus it is important for services to remain updated with industry trends and offer salaries that their staff deserves.

Extend Affordable Perks

In case the service cannot raise salaries, it may be possible to offer workplace perks, like a paid-off on a birthday, that could translate into a better quality of life. However be careful not to advertise factors such as affordable healthcare, free uniform, or paid staff meetings as additional benefits – for example, if your service publicizes paid overtime, it not only sends the message that work-life balance may be an issue but that overtime pay is considered a favour when in fact it is a legal requirement.

Foster Job Satisfaction

Very often job satisfaction is not about getting high salaries or major perks. There are many ways a service can promote job satisfaction without any financial cost to the service. See if an experienced educator can be given a designation they aspire to. Again a staff member who has school-age children and is struggling to organize care for them during school holidays can be easily accommodated by the service for a temporary period. Rewards and incentives like “Employee of the Month” is a great way to show appreciation for your staff. However, it may be a better idea to reward effort rather than achievements to show that their hard work is valued.

Make Space For Professional Development

Strengthen communication channels with your current educators to find out what they want from their careers and see if it is possible to meet them. Some teachers may wish to advance to roles like educational leaders and supervisors – even if your service does not have space to meet all professional aspirations, consider supporting them with training opportunities or connecting them to mentors who can guide them on other options. Make the time and space for team-building activities which will not only raise motivation levels but offer your staff a fun way to unwind.

Consider Funding

Research has found increased retention in the early childcare context to be associated with working in a publicly operated or nonprofit centre that meets accreditation or policy standards1. Even if this is not possible to fully implement at your service, see if you can sign up for government-funded professional development incentive programs to help your staff develop into a high-quality and stable workforce.

Further Reading

Childcare Wages In Australia - This article will provide you with information on minimum wages, details of classification structure higher duties and allowances. The minimum wage table has been updated to reflect the 4.6% increase that will be effective from 01 July 2022. 

Early Childhood Teachers (ECT) Award Wages in Australia - The following article will provide you with information on minimum wages, details of the level structure, progression to the next level, director allowance etc. The minimum wage table provided is referenced from the Early Childhood Teacher Award, 2010 and is updated (02/07/2022) as effective on 02 July 2022. 

Levels For Childcare Wages - According to the Children’s Services Award 2010, all employees fall under a classification structure, which determines their minimum wage. Each “level” gives a definition of what is expected of the employee, the qualifications required and the duties the employee should perform in order to be paid at that particular level. Below is the list of classifications for each level.

How To Negotiate Your Wages - The following article lists strategies on how to talk to your employer about pay, including knowing your worth, being prepared, using open-ended questions and more.

Cert 3 Qualified Educator Job Description - The following article lists the Key Responsibilities and Duties Of A Cert 3 Qualified Educator.

Diploma Qualified Educator Job Description - The following article lists the Key Responsibilities and Duties Of A Diploma Qualified Educator.


Copenhagen, Casey J.; Hawkins, Stacy Ann; Casper, Deborah M.; Bosch, Leslie A.; Hawkey, Kyle R.; Borden, Lynne M.Journal of Research in Childhood Education, v30 n4 p585-599 2016

Created On September 25, 2022 Last modified on Sunday, September 25, 2022
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